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This month we have expert advice from Simon Whaley on providing extra information for publishers; be inspired by our students' successes; find inspiration and something of use in useful websites, plus Ten Top Tips highlights how to make your website work for you.

10 Top Tips for Making Your Website Work for You

If you are a budding author or have self-published a book that you want to sell, here are some tips on making your website work for you.

1. Make sure the site is clear and easy to navigate.

2. Your home page should be eye-catching but not so garish or ‘busy’ that it puts people off.

3. Try to change at least some of the content regularly so that visitors keep coming back. You can serialise a story so that people have to return for the next gripping instalment!

4. If you’re selling an e-book make it easy to order and pay. Also, supply the book in as many formats as possible to suit all tastes. If you’re not selling the book direct, provide a clear link to Amazon or wherever else they can buy it.

5. Make sure you proofread your site – nothing looks worse than a site that has lots of typos. It undermines your credibility as a serious author.

6. Why not incorporate a blog to make your site more interactive and encourage communication? But if you go down this route, ensure that you post regularly and don’t be long-winded. Again, you need to keep those visitors returning!

7. Tell people a bit about yourself – the professional you – but don’t bore them with your grandchildren’s exploits and what you had for supper last night.

8. Make samples of your work available online as a ‘taster’ so that people can see what your style and content is like.

9. Have plenty of good links to interesting – but non-competitive – writing sites. This will help to make your website more visible to the search engines.

10. Finally, spend enough time to get it right but don’t spend so much time tweaking content, blogging and interacting that you don’t get any writing done.

It really is essential to have a web presence these days. If you don’t feel confident to do it yourself (or you don’t have the time) then make sure that you get two or three quotes from the professionals before you choose one. Also, talk to them before going ahead to ensure that you speak the same language and always ask to see examples of websites they’ve designed for other people.