In today’s post we look at how you should be designing your author platform in order to maximise the results you receive from it. In an earlier and related post, “Essential Elements for Your Author Website,” I looked at some of the essential elements you should always have on your author platform. In this post, we delve a little deeper into why they are needed and how you can design your site in the best way to maximise conversions.
What Results Should I Be Getting from My Author Platform?
First of all, it’s important for you to consider what results you actually want to get from your platform. This will be unique to you, your business and your goals for your website. Here are some suggestions of the type of results you may want to be seeing:
- high visitor rate
- low bounce rate
- increase of subscriber numbers to your newsletter, blog etc.
- increase to social media followers
- increased sales (whether these are for products and/or services)
High visitor rate and low bounce rate is pretty much key for any website but it may be that your goal for this year is to concentrate on those figures. It may be that you don’t actually sell anything on your site and that, for the moment at least, you just want people to visit, read your content and to keep you in their minds.
However, it is more likely that you want people to do something when they visit your site. As we talked about in the Goal Setting post a few weeks ago, you need to make sure you can measure the outcome of your goals so you can evaluate your results.
Five Considerations When Designing Your Author Platform
As well as thinking about the results you want to achieve from your platform, do also bear in mind the following when working on your author platform design:
- Speed – ensure that the site loads quickly – nothing is more off-putting than a site that takes an age to load. In our modern world where people want instant results, it is likely visitors to a slow loading site will give up quickly and go and find what they want elsewhere.
- Clarity – make it obvious from the get-go who your site is aimed at. People want to know they’ve found the solution to their problems quickly and don’t want to ave to deep-dive into your site to know if they’re in the right place.
- Analytics – the ability to measure results is both root and the route to improving. Ensure you have Google Analytics (or equivalent) set up on your site so you can track and measure everything.
- Content – ensure that all content on your site educates and informs. Show to visitors that you’re the expert in your field/niche.
- Conversion – make it clear what visitors should do next and always include a way for visitors to start a relationship with you.
What to Include
Here’s a quick rundown of the elements you need to include or bear in mind when designing your author platform:
- A clear description of who you are and what you do/have to offer.
- Ensure you have a simple and sensitive website address.
- Be sure to have easy navigation around your site so visitors can easily find everything they need.
- Make sure your contact information and social media links are easy to find. Many visitors will want to either get in touch or follow you on social media – make it easy for them to both both of those things.
- Include testimonials especially if you are selling services. You don’t need to include hundreds as people won’t want to scroll through loads. Make sure they are relevant and honest. Change them up often too so return visitors will see that new people have also praised your work.
- It’s an obvious thing to say but make sure you have obvious calls to action. Always make it clear to visitors what you expect them to do next whether that’s contact you, buy something, sign up to your newsletter, follow you etc. Make it clear.
- At the very least ensure you have basic SEO on your site. Make sure all of your main content includes a relevant keyword, links, optimised page titles, optimised images etc.
- Frequently add new, fresh, quality content. No one likes a stagnant site (least of all Google) so ensure you regularly update the content on your site to keep it fresh both for Mr Google and for your site visitors.
- Ensure you use safe and secure hosting to keep the bad guys out and to ensure your site stays up and running.
- Use a friendly design and style that is aesthetically pleasing but is easy to read and navigate.
- Ensure you have an opt-in either to your newsletter or for a lead magnet and nurture sequence. This means you are collecting email address that are potential leads.
- Ensure your platform works well on all devices – be that desktop, tablet or mobile. More and more people surf the net on their mobile so you need to ensure your site looks good on mobile as well as desktop. It is so frustrating to try to navigate your way around a website that was clearly designed without mobile users in mind.
In summary, when you are designing your author platform, always consider how the site looks and works for your users rather than designing it for yourself. If the site works well for visitors then it is more likely to convert those users into customers, readers, book buyers etc. and that is ultimately your goal.
Does your author platform bring you the results you desire? What works for you? Are you struggling with your design and need some pointers? Have you done all that is suggested and still can’t get results? Let me know your experiences in the comments below.