Social networking is all the rage, especially when you’re an author who wants to connect with their readers. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like can be a great way to reach out to reviewers, to share updates with your readers or to simply sit back and chat about what you’re reading.
But – and this is a controversial statement here – your website is more important. Way more important. Here’s why.
Maintaining full control
For a start, your website is yours. If Twitter shuts down tomorrow then you’ll lose all of your followers. If Facebook decides to suspend you then there’s not much you can do. But you maintain full control of your site and won’t find yourself at the whim of a third-party.
This is particularly relevant for erotica authors, horror authors, and other, edgier types who might unwittingly flout the rules with the content that they post. But for authors of any genre, another key advantage of owning a website is that the value of your domain name will increase over time. As more and more people link to your website, its authority will increase in the eyes of search engines and it’ll start to rank higher in their results pages.
And that, in a nutshell, is one of the reasons why you should focus on your website. If people link to your Facebook page, that passes the value on to Facebook. If they link to your website, it’s your own property which gets the benefit. Likewise, if you’re running ads on a social network, you’re handing over cash to build your following on a third-party when you could be bringing them to your own site instead.
Because social networking sites are owned by third-parties, you can only customise a certain amount of the content. On your website, you have full reign to do what you want, which means you can throw the rulebook out of the window. You can put adverts where you want, use videos and customise the look and feel, add pages to the navigation and even embed third-party scripts from other site owners.
If you have the budget then it’s a good idea to work with a professional developer, because they’ll be able to build something from scratch to your exact specifications. If money is tight, you can use a free solution like WordPress, which has thousands of plugins and themes that are also free to use.
Alternatively, a good solution can be to aim somewhere in the middle. Services like PublishingAddict – who are sponsoring this post – are able to keep costs low by specialising in a certain niche, removing the need for extensive custom builds every time they take on a new customer.
Being able to customise your site means that you’re able to add additional scripts and software. Analytical tools, like Google Analytics, are typically easy to install and, with a little bit of refinement, can offer up a huge amount of useful data.
Social networking sites offer analytics too, but they typically focus on demographic (e.g. age, gender) and geographic information. Website analytics can tell you so much more, including where visitors are coming from, how long they’re staying for, which pages they’re viewing, what actions they’re taking and more.
Google Analytics can also be customised to track specific goals. So if you want people to sign up to your mailing list, click a link to buy a book or even just to head over to your blog to check out the latest article, you can track whether they’re doing it.
A holistic approach
As important as your website is, no marketing channel works well in isolation. Social networking is encouraged, but make sure you’re not neglecting your website so you have somewhere to send people to once they start following.
Mix that up with some offline events and guerrilla marketing, a little email marketing and maybe some online advertising, and you’ll be on your way to success in no time!
About the author
This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that helps authors to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books. Click here to find out more about Publishing Addict.
Republished with permission.
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