Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that it’s effective. Fortunately, there are easy ways to track if your website is helping to build your author platform.
First, you can monitor tangible outcomes, such as tracking new subscribers to your newsletter, speaking engagement inquiries, media interview requests, or book sales from your website. If you send visitors to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com (which I don’t recommend) you can check your book’s ranking and see if it improves. Use www.TitleZ.com to gauge your book’s Amazon ranking over time.
Another good tracking tool is to analyze your website statistics. If your web designer or hosting company doesn’t provide this information, you can set it up for free with Google Analytic (www.Google.com/Analytics). After you create a free account, Google will provide you with special computer code that you embed into your website’s individual pages. Once you do this, then Google will track all of your website data for you.
When you examine your website statistics, however, make sure you concentrate on the right information. For example, basing your site’s effectiveness on how many “hits” or “pageviews” you get is a flawed notion. These are inflated figures that don’t give you accurate information about your web traffic. A better guide is to track how many “Unique Visitors” your site receives. This number reflects how many different people actually visited your site, which is a better reflection of your real platform.
If you notice a decline in visitors, sales, signups, or other factors, it could mean that people are bored with your website. So, take time each month to assess where you can add new content that provides value to your readers. If you run out of ideas, bring in guests with a similar message. People will appreciate your desire to help them, and they’ll show it by returning to your website on a regular basis. And, the more often people return, the more likely they will buy your books.