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10 free ways to increase author website traffic

Your website is your author career’s online home.

It tells readers, the media, and others who you are, what you write, and why you’re good at it. It might even give people a preview of your latest book.

Maybe it’s a showpiece – attractive and well-written, easy to navigate, and on-brand. But if it’s not attracting “traffic” – marketing-speak for site visitors – you’ve got a problem.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 free ways to increase author website traffic.

1. Blog comments

Most blog comment templates allow you to include your website URL. When your comment contributes to the conversation, readers might click on the link to learn more about you.

Note, though, that while the blogger always appreciates a simple “Nice post” or “Thanks,” that’s not the kind of intriguing, insightful, or thought-provoking commentary that generates author website traffic.

Say something that makes the article’s readers want to learn more about you.

2. Email signature

Increase author website traffic by adding a link to your website to your email signature.

It’s as easy as that.

3. Guest blogging

Include a link in your guest post author bio. In addition, when appropriate, include links to specific relevant content on your site within your article.

When I guest blog, I often link to more information on my own blog about topics mentioned in my guest post. For example, in my recent IndieReader.com guest post, “3 Ways to Sell More Novels in 2021,” I added links to four directly relevant articles on my site.

I’m a regular guest blogger for IndieReader.com; it ranked 13 on my list of traffic sources during February.

4. Newsletters

Always include at least one link to your website in your author newsletter so that subscribers can click through to learn more about you and your books.

Or, do what my friend Kathleen Gage and I do. We both offer the first few paragraphs of our current blog post in our newsletters with a link readers can use to click through to read the rest of the articles on our sites.

Consider a newsletter swap with an author targeting the same audience as yours, too. Include your site link in the text you write for your colleague’s subscribers.

5. Podcast guest

Podcast hosts typically tell listeners where to learn more about each show’s guest – that’s your website address.

In addition, many publish “show notes” on their websites. Show notes typically include a link to the guest’s site and links to more information about topics discussed on the show (and those links could be on your website).

6. Press releases

Your book announcement and other press releases should always include a link to your web site.

When you post them on free press release sites, you’re generating a link from that site to yours.

7. Publish viral content

Creating content on your site that is so helpful, funny, or amazing that people are clamoring to share it brings visitors to your site to see what everyone is talking about.

You can also leverage someone else’s viral content, as we’ve seen with the recent epic “cat lawyer” video. Just Google “cat lawyer,” then scroll down the list of media outlets reporting the story that made nearly everyone who saw it giggle.

increase author website traffic 2
Viral content attracts traffic.

Those news reports are attracting site visitors. You can use that trick, too.

8. Social media

increase author website traffic 3Authors blog for several reasons, but one of the most important is to create content that attracts traffic. Help your target audience find your quality content by sharing the link to each new blog post on social media. Share the links repeatedly, too – not just when the content is new.

Make it possible for others to share your content while they’re on your site, too, by installing social sharing toolbars.

Be sure to include your website URL in all of your social media profiles, as well.

9. SEO – search engine optimization

Search engine optimization – SEO – is what you do to your website so it gets found by search engines.

The better your site’s SEO – meaning, the more content you create that fits what your target audience is looking for – the higher your site pages show up in search engine results.

People are more likely to click on your link and visit your site when your content is near the top of the search results.

To move up the page and attract more traffic, improve your SEO. If you use WordPress, you can start by installing the free Yoast SEO plug-in. It will suggest ways to improve each blog post’s SEO.

10. YouTube

Almost three quarters of U.S. adults – 74% – use YouTube. Does your author brand have a presence there?

Including a link to your website in the description of all videos you upload to YouTube will send traffic to your site.

Increase that traffic volume by promising video viewers something that will make sure they visit your site with that link.

Bonus! Do this for your book on retail sites

Would you rather send traffic to your Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookShop, or other  sales pages? Several of the these strategies apply to that, too. For example:

  • Instead of including your website URL in your social media profiles, use your preferred sales page link.
  • Direct YouTube traffic to a book sales page or your author page that lists all of your books on the retail site.
  • Add your sales page URL to your email signature.

Max out the free options to increase author website traffic

You can also pay for traffic through online advertising, but I recommend taking advantage of the free opportunities first.

When you’re ready, explore buying ads on the social network used the most by your audience. As with all other book marketing tactics, you’ll need to learn how to do that effectively, though. You don’t want to waste your marketing dollars.

How many of these 10 strategies are you using already? Tell us which ones you’re using and how well they’re working for you in a comment!

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Very insightful post. I practice all but sharing “viral content” and should work to improve my website’s SEO.

    As a divorce writer, I’d like to do a better job at piggy-backing on celebrity divorces that are the talk of the town.

    1. Thanks, Sonia. Are you blogging? Writing a post as soon as one of these high-profile divorces appears in the news could help.


        1. Blogging takes time, for sure, but it’s great for generating traffic when the right pieces are in place.


    1. Thanks, Terry. I think we sometimes forget that we have to help people discover us, our sites, and our books.


  2. Thanks Sandra, this is a great checklist. I do pretty much all of these things but am still not getting the traffic I want. But I know suspect very strongly that it’s because I still have not found my target audience and where they hang out. This quest is now a priority!

    1. That makes sense. And I’m glad that learning more about your target audience is a priority because it’s SO important!


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