4 ways to streamline your author website

posted in: Website advice | 0
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Is your author website looking a bit bulky? Shedding a few pounds will help search ranking, and your visitors will find what they need.

If you’re an unpublished or new author, you may have only the following webpages (exact titles can be tweaked to suit your style):

You may also decide to have a blog on your author site (if you’re sure you can dedicate the time to keep it updated regularly), and information about any events you may be attending (conferences, book signings etc). If you’re a more established author, you may have far more content, plus subpages below the key pages above, for example, a page for each of your publications below ‘Books’.

No matter the size of your site, you can still make the existing content more concise and improve your site for visitors and search engines.

Search engines will love your leaner site

Ensuring your site has a clean, logical structure is about more than just making your human visitors happy. It will also make search engines ecstatic. Your site will rank higher in search results if it is easy for the search bots to crawl your site, easily finding all your juicy content.

This is an easy way to improve the SEO (search engine optimisation) of your author website.

Ensuring your author website has a clean, logical structure will excite search engines – Streamline your author website Click To Tweet

How to streamline your author website

1. Remove clutter

If your site has been around a while, it may have grown larger than it needs to be. Take a moment to consider if you need all of your webpages.

If your author site has been around a while, it may have grown larger than it needs to be – Streamline your author website Click To Tweet

An ideal way to decide what to cull is to look at your site analytics. Hold a (figurative) magnifying glass to those pages that receive little or no traffic. Also, if pages are getting a decent amount of traffic but visitors are leaving as soon as they arrive, try to work out why.

If they are one of the core pages mentioned above, you need to improve them to keep those visit numbers up. If they are not core pages, you must decide if it’s time to kill the little darlings.

If your seldom-visited webpages are not core content, you must decide if it's time to kill the little darlings – Streamline your author website Click To Tweet

2. Edit your content

So, you’ve decided which pages to kill, but what about the content on the pages that you’re keeping? Is it as concise as it could be? Website copy should be around 50% shorter than its print counterpart for a few reasons, including visitors’ attention span, the tiring nature of reading on a screen and more.

Read your content through the eyes of your audience. If any of it is boring, repetitive or longwinded, cut it. Do your visitors really want to know what your favourite wine is or where you last went on holiday?

I offer a web text editing service, and a website proofreading service. Do get in touch if you’d like me to do the hard work for you.

Buy my book – Improve Your Author Website. Increase book sales, move up search results.

3. Minimise links in your main nav bar

The navigation bar at the top of your website shouldn’t be cluttered, or your visitors won’t find the important stuff. You can point them to non-top-level content in other, more ‘in-context’ places, for example, via links on relevant pages or posts, or in your footer.

That way, you help your audience find what they need and decrease your bounce rate (when users visit one page on your site and bounce right out again).

4. Reduce image size

Streamlining your website isn’t only about the text content. Images that are larger (in terms of file size, not necessarily how they appear on the screen) than they need to be can slow down the load time of your pages. This can make people leave your website before they’ve even looked at it!

This is a larger topic than I can cover in this blog post, but it’s explained really well in this HubSpot article. A fairly new development in this area is the image file format WebP. This is an open-source format developed by Google that is great for displaying images that are small in terms of file size, but that still look good.

I use the free plugin ShortPixel to convert all my images to WebP format, and it has definitely made a difference to my page-loading times. If you have any other recommendations, give them a shout out in the comments.

Show me your author website!

Drop a link to your author website in the comments, either before or after its weight loss. Let’s see those pounds drop off!

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