In an earlier post I wrote about how nonfiction authors can begin to use keywords related to their book to attract readers. This article takes this information farther, into your author blog.
I’m convinced that one of the very best things a nonfiction author can do is to start blogging as soon as she can. This will accomplish several things. You will:
- Begin to attract readers interested in your subject specialty
- Build your authority in your specialty
- Establish yourself in the niche your book occupies
Domain Name: Your First Decision
Opinion is divided on whether authors will get the best results by using their own name as the domain name for their blog, or whether they should use the title of their book. Nonfiction authors have added possibilities, because any of the long tail keywords connected with your book can also make excellent domain names.
In my earlier post I used the example of an author with a book on how to bake pizza at home. One of the long-tail keyword phrases we came up with was “making pizza dough” which showed over 5,000 searches a month on Google. Think of how effective a blog or website would be if it were located at http://www.makingpizzadough.com. Assuming you filled this blog with appropriate content, every instance of your blog name would reinforce the connection between your blog and this search phrase.
It’s also a good idea to try to secure the domain name of the title of your book, or variations close to it. For instance, for our pizza-making book, we’ll think carefully before we create the title. If our publisher plans to market largely online, the keyword research tools we discussed before will be extremely valuable.
A blog located at Authorname.com may be gratifying, and it will help your name rise in search results. But this approach lacks the essentials for an effective domain name: It contains no words that describe what your books are actually about, and it contains no keywords connected to your niche.
Go ahead and get the domain of your name if possible, but keep it as a central location pointing to your blog or other websites, and make sure to let people know how to connect with you on social media.
Links and Anchor Text
Having an important keyword phrase in your domain name will help you in another way as well. Every time you create a link to your blog—for instance in your signature on a forum, or in your social media profiles—you will be using the blog address as the anchor text for the link. This text is emphasized for search engines as well as humans, so each occurrence will also reinforce your connection to your subject area.
The Marketing Mix
When you start to think about keywords and your book, it will help you understand the way your potential readers think when they are looking for information in your specialty area. What do people look for? What phrases do they type into the search bar to find what they’re looking for?
You can see that coordinating the title and subtitle of your book with your domain name and the name of your blog can have profound effects on the long-term success of marketing your book online.
And remember that self-publishing really becomes effective when you start to publish your second book on your subject. You will have already established some presence and authority in your field, and this makes marketing your second book much easier, since it “stands on the shoulders” of the books that have gone before. It’s a great way to multiply your efforts.
Just the Beginning
Naming your domain is crucial, but it’s just the first step. In the next post in this series I’ll talk about how to use your keywords in your blog, and tips on creating a blog that helps you create the kind of online presence your book needs to succeed. Stay tuned.
The Savvy Book Marketer
Here’s a link to a great collection of articles and links from Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, that cover author blogs and websites:
Author Blogs and Websites
The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn has just written a post on author blogs, check it out here:
How to Blog for Authors and Writers
The Internet Writing Journal
Interesting article (from 2005) by Claire E. White on the pros and cons of author blogs, and what makes a good one.
I’d love to hear about other resources on this subject, so use the comments to let me know of your favorites and I’ll add them to this resource list. Thanks!