1. Why should an author have a website?
    • Information
    • Interaction
    • Promotion
    • Credibility
  2. Why should an author NOT have a website?
  3. Why should he or she have it professionally done?
  4. How long does it take to build a website?
  5. What should be on the website?
  6. How much does it cost?
    • Domain name
    • Hosting
    • Design
    • Maintenance
  7. How many visitors should I be getting to my site?
  8. What about a hit counter?
  9. How can I get people to come to my site?
  10. Should I pay for search engine placement?
  11. How do I pick a webmaster?
How many visitors should I be getting to my site?

Short answer: More each month.

It will take a couple of months for traffic to build to your site. You will have to tell people about it, engage in some marketing, participate in online chats, publish an excerpt, or otherwise offer an incentive for readers to visit your site. Your website statistics will help you track how many people have been to your site. Traffic should be building each month, with peaks around publication time and appearances, and perhaps some slower times the further from publication date you get. Again, your webmaster will have ideas on how to increase traffic through targeted marketing and interactive site components.

What about a hit counter?

Short answer: not needed.

Many webmasters don't use "hit counters" because they can provide false data. More common is the site statistics analysis. Understand that "hit counters" are generally not very accurate. They will count repeat visits to a site on the same overall visit to a website (where you go to an inside page and come back to the front page counts twice). They can record how many "hits" the website host gets, which is very different than how many "visits" a site gets (ask your webmaster for an explanation). If you want to know how many people are visiting your site, and what pages are the most popular once they're there -- ask your webmaster for some site statistics. This is a service generally provided with your website hosting contract.

How can I get people to come to my site?

Short answer: Tell them about it.

Tell them about it. Often. Make sure it's on your books, make sure it's in your signature on e-mails, make sure your publicist, agent, editor, etc. all know about it. Put the address on your business card. Send it to reviewers. Mention it at signings. Do a contest to give away some books. Announce it on related newsgroups. Have your website manager do some of these if your budget allows. You do have to promote your site once you've built it. This is where an intuitive, easy-to-remember domain name is very useful.

Should I pay for search engine placement?

Short answer: Sure, if you can afford it.

You don't need to pay for search engine placement to get results when people are searching for your books. Payment can speed up how long it takes to appear on the site, and might bring you visitors if placement is properly strategized. Your webmaster should have other ideas on helping your search engine placement, as well as other ways to increase visits to your site.

About Cincinnati MediaCincinnatiMedia is a website firm specializing in author, nonprofit and small business websites. We present this FAQ as a service to our clients, as well as to others who might be considering building a website.

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