Entering into the world of self publishing is filled with unknowns. Every step needs to be measured and researched to maximize the time and budget constraints of a new author who is just beginning to publicly express their voice. Creating a revenue stream that will be meaningful and that will reflect your work is what every author, new or seasoned, wants to achieve. Establishing national credibility, creating and growing traffic to your website, securing email sign ups as well as strong SEO rankings are all crucial goals that need to be addressed at this stage.
This process begins with the first critical step of designing your website. In truth, it begins long before you actually create your website. It begins when you stop and take an in-depth look at the components that need to be integrated into your website. These pieces are what will make the difference in attracting visitors to your site, selling your products and services, securing traditional media or just creating another website that never truly becomes the tool that will catapult your business forward.
There are specific considerations that are crucial when you begin to form your message and then present that message to an online audience. Take a moment and check that you haven’t missed any of these critical steps:
1. Define your message. Here is where many experts make their first mistake. To truly define your message you must be able to answer the question, “what do I want my audience to take away from my work…how do I impact and change their daily life?” Successful experts are keenly aware of the benefit their work has in the lives of their audience compared to any other expert who covers the same topic. They don’t describe their work, but rather they inspire their audience to use their work to solve their day to day issues that they find difficult. They address the concerns of their audience in depth to create a connection and a sense that they under stand their audience, and then they provide tools to make the desired changes.
2. Integrate the key components. In order to attract national media and to see the conversion of new traffic into actual sales, the site should include specific ingredients that create the impact necessary impact, both for the public and for media and professionals. To start, every expert website should have an expert header. This means a header that includes the URL, a highly effective tag line, and an expert quality photo. Second, be sure to include a strong navigation bar that shows what you offer in terms of topic, rather than services. Include keyworded topics highly relevant to your audience and place your speaking and coaching services on the site instead of in the navigation.
3. Create a powerful content section with impact. Start with a welcome message of about 75 words. Use the first person and be clear about what you are passionate about. Express the benefits of your mission and what you offer to the visitor. The stronger and more emotional this is, the more effective your site will be overall. People need to see themselves in your website, not just read about what you offer. After the welcome message, add 5-8 featured articles. These are related to topics in the news and are more non-promotional and informative. This content will showcase your expertise at a glance for visitors and will strengthen both your credibility and SEO rankings quickly.
4. Provide a promotional showcase. On the right of the page you can add companies, partner websites, or other revenue models that will help you to monetize your website. There are many forms this can take, including webinars, digital downloads, e-books, live individual or small group video coaching sessions.
Ultimately your website should graphically represent who you are, be easy and simple to navigate, not be too text heavy and offer clear and practical tools to help people in ways that are consistent with your work. Finding a balance between providing free content and resources and a selection of fee based programs is vital. You need to entice people to come to your site and encourage them to stay, but then you do need to add the essential elements that can create passive revenue and strengthen your overall business model.
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Anne Leedom is the founder of Net Connect Publicity, a premier expert online placement agency based in Northern California. She is also the Publisher of www.parentingbookmark.com and www.lifepalz.com. For more information visit www.netconnectpublicity.com.