If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you do want an internet presence. That’s because a website, like a blog, newsletter, or podcast is owned media where you have the most control. You can switch up the images or copy, and create special offers or promotions.
If your book supports your existing brand and you have a website for that, consider creating a unique landing page for your book on that site instead of a separate site. As soon have you have decided on the title of your book, reserve the appropriate domain name. For instance, if you are a beekeeper with an existing site, for example, beesknees.ca, and your book is specifically about beekeeping in cities, titled Urban Bees, consider reserving a domain such as urbanbees.ca.
If you don’t want a separate site, that domain name can simply redirect to your landing page. Plus, it prevents anyone else from registering your book title as their domain name. Maliciously or accidentally, it’s not good for you. If you have a website, then you’ll know that the domain name is renewed annually. You only own it for as long as you pay for it. But registering a name only costs a couple of bucks, so it’s not a big expense.
Either way, the domain name that you use to promote your book—in emails, on social media, or in advertisements, for instance—should take me to a landing page where the book is visible. Don’t leave me stranded on a business website with no mention of the book I’ve been directed to find there!
If you simply add a page to your existing site just for your book, do consider the unique domain name. For instance, a life coach with a site, changeitup.ca who writes a book, How to Network can identify that page as changeitup.ca/HowtoNetwork. It’s not as streamlined as a unique URL and I don’t recommend it going to three or more forward slashes or simply gets too long! Instead, add a noticeable link to your home and leave it at changeitup.ca
The forward slashes or using your existing business name are better choices for short business or book names. For instance, if your book title is BeeKeeping for Urban Novices, consider a shorter name, such as urbanbees.ca or even urbanbeenovice.ca These can be how people “search” also. So, you want to show up there. (we’ll talk about optimizing your website for searches another day). The worst type of name choice is BKFUN.ca! Unless we are already familiar with the acronym, this will be hard for your book buyers to remember. And, while we’re talking about domain names, many business advisors tell everyone they should own their own name as a domain, even if they don’t create the website. JillSmith.ca or JillSmith.com or both. It prevents someone else from using it, especially with malicious intent.
The benefit of adding your book to your existing brand also means that if you have widgets to sell, in addition to your book, people will be on your site. One step closer in the sales funnel! Make the browser feel welcomed.
So, what should be on that landing page or website? First, as with any marketing tool, think about it from the reader’s point of view. What does your target market want? What do they expect? The site doesn’t need to be a deep dive, a book site can be as simple as a single page.
Ten Things You Want on Your Book’s Website/ Page
- The book cover is a perfect visual. If you’ve been using that image on social and in your newsletter, then it instantly affirms to me that I am on the right site.
- Your book purchaser might want to see the back cover too, maybe not a PDF of the page, but the same info, a blurb about you and your business, and likely a photo. (A nice professional photo, this is no place for vacation snaps—unless vacations are your business!)
- Post praise or a review—or at least a quote and where it’s from.
- You can post a calendar if you have a lot of appearance dates or a promo about upcoming speaking engagements or participation at a conference or trade show.
- A way to buy the book, usually a link to your Amazon page (Managing selling and shipping on your site is a whole other matter).
- You can give a free chapter, or offer some other promotion. In exchange for their email.
- A process to collect emails for future marketing. For instance, you may ask for an email in exchange for a free chapter or webinar access. Or, it might be a newsletter sign-up (Use a service such as MailChimp, so those signing up on the web are instantly added to your mailing list).
- Contact information for people to be able to book you, buy from you, or contract with you.
- Images, photos, video—if they’re relevant. Otherwise, they just make your site slower to load.
- News about your upcoming book!