Why You Should Have An Author Landing Page, and Two Great Options to Develop It By Sean Tosello It’s simple. It’s straightforward. It’s essential. It’s your author landing page. Perhaps you know this already and just haven’t gotten around to it, maybe you think it’s helpful but a non-essential, maybe you don’t see the value in it at all. No matter where you personally find yourself, the truth is an author landing page is vital if you hope for your book to find success in today’s marketplace. Take a moment with me, and put yourself in the shoes of your potential readers. For many of you this isn’t hard, because you are readers yourself. You’re perusing your algorithm-based Facebook newsfeed, and a friend’s post pops up recommending an incredible read. It piques your interest. There’s only one problem; there’s no link to the book page. Thankfully they provided the name for this life-changing title, so you turn to your irreplaceable ally, the internet search bar. Brimming with anticipation, you desperately rifle through the results. Three pages of results later, and you can’t find it anywhere. Frustrated, disappointed, you return back to your Facebook newsfeed to be greeted by recently uploaded pictures of your adorable nephew. A smile spreads across your face. With each new photo you take in, the memory of the book slowly fades. The essential point in this brief narrative is that it doesn’t matter how good the book is if there’s not a simple and straightforward way for a potential reader to find and purchase it. Convenience and simplicity accompany follow-up and purchase. Even if you do not care if there is a web page for your favorite author, and a way to purchase the book online, the vast majority of your potential readers do. So then, what do I do for an author landing page? There are three main options you can choose: A Facebook Business Page, a Personal Website, or Both. While some combination of both is likely to be the ideal approach, it can also come at a higher cost and time commitment. If this is a concern for you, you may want to just choose one and do it right. To help you as you make your decision, let’s consider some of the unique benefits and drawbacks to each of the two options. Facebook Business Page (not your personal facebook profile!) Pros: It’s easy to set up By using a social media platform like Facebook, all it takes to set up is filling in information in different spots, and adding personal touches like a profile picture and header photo. You don’t have to take much time thinking about what needs to be on the page, or it’s layout, as Facebook has done that for you. 2. It’s Free There is no cost to set up a business page on Facebook. It’s one of the major benefits to their model. To maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook page you may need to eventually invest in some targeted advertising, but you don’t need to shell out a dime for the page itself. 3. There is minimal upkeep other than generating content With it being a pre-designed platform maintained by Facebook, there is little to no maintenance required on your part. This means no back-end coding issues, and rare site maintenance. The main thing you can focus on is ensuring there is a steady flow of solid content, and a professional, effective portrayal of you and your book. 4. Can boost posts with paid advertising As I mentioned before, to do this well you will likely need to shell out a little for paid advertising. You don’t have to do this, however Facebook has done an impressive job with their analytics and targeted advertising, a feature you may do well to take advantage of. Compared to more traditional forms of advertising, the comparative cost is minimal for its benefits. Cons: Audience is limited to those with a Facebook account For some authors and their specific targeted demographic, this may not present an issue. However, research shows that while the social media giant is still a forerunner on the global front, the audience demographic drops off with millenials, and is comparatively non-existent with Generation Z users. The other issue doesn’t pertain to one’s generation, but the fact that engagement and effective advertising/content experience necessitates that your readers have their own Facebook accounts. This can be a barrier when trying to maximize potential impact for your work. 2. Restricted control over the page’s content and aesthetics This is a classic case of convenience having corresponding sacrifices. While it is beneficial that Facebook makes building your webpage efficient and streamlined, it also means that you have little to no control over the presentation and formatting of your content. There are subtle ways to make your page stand out amidst the multitude of others like it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the potential for a visual impression on your audience is mitigated. 3. Reliant on the (In)Famous Algorithm While the Facebook algorithm can be extremely effective for targeted advertising and presenting to its users content to fit their interests, you are simultaneously at its mercy. For as impressive as their algorithm is, no algorithm is without its flaws, and depending on what it determines you may or may not be dragged through the mud. Author Website Pros: Complete control over content While developing the content for a website can be daunting (believe me we know!), with most web designers or website building platforms you also gain the benefit of creative license. Do you want to have certain colors and themes that capture the emotive experience of your book? You can do it. Do you want to have a blog incorporated, or a gallery of your wood-carving hobby? You can do that too. While there can be limitations to what different website builders, or web designers, can do, the possibilities are far-reaching. 2. You can have it be a universal landing page for all other social media accounts While social media accounts can connect to each other, and re-post what you posted on another, having one web page act as a funnel for all of your accounts can streamline your readers’ experience. Furthermore, the more traffic that goes through the one site, the more circulation it will receive. You can have one consistent professional presence. 3. It can be adaptable to different purposes: blog, shop, gallery, etc. This is pretty straightforward, but along with having control over the content, you also have control over its format of presentation. You can have a part of the site dedicated to selling your book with full online store capability. You can have a portion that provides readers with supplemental content to the book to bolster their experience, and their investment in you as an author. If you have a ministry, business, or speaking platform that corresponds with your book, you can have a smooth, presentable fusing of the two where they build off of each other. 4. The only requirement is an internet connection Unlike a social media account like Facebook or the like, no prior subscription or account is required. This means that your potential pool of viewers expands to anyone who has the means to access the internet, which in this day and age is the vast majority. Cons: It costs money One of the most immediate drawbacks compared to a Facebook page, is the upfront cost it takes to make a webpage. The costs of a domain, a design platform, and/or a web designer can add up. It is possible to minimize this cost by researching low-cost web platforms and by designing the website yourself, however these both take time and energy, and come with no guarantee of a quality page. Generally speaking, unless you are particularly savvy and have the time to spare away from writing and other responsibilities, it is typically best to at least consider a website designer. 2. More maintenance and care is involved With all of the creative license, and without the page maintenance by the Facebook puppet-masters, there is more attention and care that needs to go into a webpage to preserve its quality. While a web designer oftentimes offers website maintenance as part of their package, this goes back to the first point about more potential cost. While typically there isn’t a lot of maintenance to be done, if there are any major structural or formatting changes you want implemented, someone has to do it. 3. Dependent on other social media presences to develop good traffic While a good website is, and can be, very effective, its optimization generally comes from social media accounts or some other form of outside influence that drives traffic to it. This means that it is dependent on your efforts outside of the page itself to drive traffic towards it, whether that be speaking engagements, social media, or other forms of advertisement. 4. Dependent on SEO While with Facebook you are dependent on their internal algorithm, with a web page you have the alternative challenge of SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the task of increasing the chances that your web page shows up from search results before others. Primarily dependent on key words, and the content and presentation within your website, this can be a tricky task to tackle and at worst a major roadblock to potential viewership. Many website builders do provide applications and resources to optimize your search engine results, but this is time, effort, and if done by a professional, money. While not as overtly privatized as Facebook with its algorithm, it is still a challenge and companies who provide these search engines (think Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) may have their own influences to the search engine algorithm as well. While it is clear that having a landing page is beneficial to your book’s potential impact, where the image blurs is on which option one should go with. As mentioned before, it is always more beneficial to use both a Facebook Business Page and a personal website, this is not always feasible. Hopefully this article can help you make your decision based off of your needs as an author, and as a healthy human being with boundaries and limitations. Want to Get Your Author Website Started Right Away? If you want to get an author website built, but don’t know who to turn to, we highly recommend Crystal Tosello at Crystal Web Designs. She has already brought several authors’ dreams for a website to life, and would love to do so for you as well. To find out more about Crystal and her services, hop over to her website at https://www.crystaltosello.com/.