As a romance writer you need to have a website where readers, editor, agents, publishers and fans can go to find out more about you. This is the website address you will put on your business cards and other promotional material, it will go in the front and back cover of your books and at the end of any articles or guest blog posts you write. It will also be the site to which your social media efforts link to.
In addition to being the hub of your marketing efforts, you also want as many people to find your website naturally via the search engines, which means its in your best interests to do some basic SEO (search engine optimisation) on your site.
When you use SEO on your site your aim is to move your pages higher in the list of search results.
Elements that Affect Ranking
1. Keywords – Determine the best keywords for your homepage and sub-pages. These will include the title of your book, your pen name and your genre for example, ‘erotic romance’ or ‘contemporary romance’.
2. Design – Your web page should be search engine friendly. This means make sure the search engines can read your pages which they need to do in order to index them. Some software is not SEO friendly, but most these days are. If in doubt ask your developer.
3. Original content – Always make sure the content on your website is original. Google penalises duplicate content and text copied from other sites or blogs. Make sure other bloggers don’t copy your web posts verbatim if they repost.
4. Freshness of content – Make sure your website content is always up to date. With all new content be sure to revise and add your relevant keywords.
5. Usability – Make sure the layout of your page is user-friendly with clear navigation, easy links to important sections of your site like your About Me section and Book Sales Page. Keep fonts simple and easy to read, don’t use too many flashing images or colour schemes.
6. Metatags – Each page on your site needs a unique ‘meta title’ and ‘meta description’ to tell the search engines more about your page. If you don’t understand how these work, ask your web designer to make sure you have them on every page.
7. Analytics – Google Analytics is free and easy to use. Install the tracking code in the header of your site and monitor your site stats. Look for pages that are doing well and capitalise on these, improve under-performing areas of the site and track sales from your sales pages.
8. Links – Inbound links (to your site from other sites) are valuable in that they can increase search engine rankings. Be sure to link from high quality related sites. Internal links must drive users to the sections of the site you want them to visit, such as your biography, sales page and fan pages.
There are many other elements that have influence over how your site is ranked by the search engines, but these are the basics. Master these and you’ll be leaps ahead of the pack.