On episode 183 of The Author Factor Podcast I am having a conversation with Pauline Wiles.
Pauline is an author turned website designer who helps other authors and thought leaders create beautiful, results-oriented websites.
I invited Pauline to be a guest today so that she can share some of her best tips and ideas for authors and their websites, which is exactly what she did in this information-packed episode.
The single most important takeaway from this episode of The Author Factor Podcast is the importance of having a clear purpose for your website and your book, and using them as strategic tools to support your long-term business goals. This requires a focus on the quality of your content, such as concise and helpful videos, and a long-term commitment to promoting your book and your business.
Learn more about Pauline by visiting PaulineWiles.com.
For more details about our short, helpful book publishing program, visit BiteSizedBooks.com.
Mike Capuzzi [00:00:00]:
Welcome to another profitable episode of The Author Factor Podcast. I'm Mike Capuzzi, and I want to thank you for joining us. My guest today is Pauline Wiles. Pauline is an author turned website designer who helps other authors and thought leaders create beautiful, results oriented websites. I invited her to be a guest today so that she can share some of her best tips and ideas for authors and their websites. Pauline, welcome.
Pauline Wiles [00:00:28]:
Hello, Mike. Good to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Mike Capuzzi [00:00:31]:
Yes, and I don't want to dismiss this, you are a book author. It just so happens that your book is on a topic that we're not going to focus on today. You are an author, and congratulations with that. So, Pauline, I just barely touched on what you do and how you serve your clients, but if you would give us a little bit more detail, actually a little bit of your background and then what you're doing today and how you serve your clients.
Pauline Wiles [00:00:53]:
Yeah. So I am an indie author turned website designer. I wrote five novels before I figured out that I actually enjoyed updating my author website way more than I did working on the books. And in meeting other writers and authors, I discovered that most of them are completely overwhelmed with what it takes to market a book and particularly the technology behind that. So I started giving advice on email marketing and author websites to other authors. And now yeah, I'm a full-time website designer, and I work primarily with author speakers and consultants.
Mike Capuzzi [00:01:36]:
Very good. So I did not know I saw your one book I did not know you wrote. So you were in fiction and nonfiction, is that right?
Pauline Wiles [00:01:43]:
That's right. Yeah.
Mike Capuzzi [00:01:44]:
Just before we digress, because I don't talk to too many fiction book authors, mainly because we're a nonfiction podcast. But tell me a little bit more, like, what genre?
Pauline Wiles [00:01:56]:
The fiction is a very light romantic comedy. I have a British accent, but I now live in California, and I think when I first moved to California, I was a little bit homesick. And to be honest, I started writing romantic comedy set in a fictional English village. I think it was my form of therapy for processing that homesickness, and one book turned into a series of books. And yeah, then we've talked about what happened next.
Mike Capuzzi [00:02:24]:
Wow. To me, being a multi nonfiction book author, I still have this dream of writing fiction. I know it's a whole other game. I know it's a challenge, but the thought and the dream of writing one book every other year and making enough money that you don't have to do anything else is kind of but is that not reality?
Pauline Wiles [00:02:45]:
I don't think it's the reality for most fiction authors and in fact I'm sure we'll get into some of the challenges of book marketing regardless of the genre. But yeah, there are certainly groups out there mike, if you decide you're going to dive in and write your great American novel, then, yeah, go for it.
Mike Capuzzi [00:03:05]:
I actually took the first step a couple of months ago. I saw a book that about writing your first fictional novel, and I bought it. I haven't opened it since because I know it's such a different style of writing and I know it's challenging. It can be done to make even a decent side income. But anyway, Pauline, let's talk about book marketing, author websites. Now, I know you talk about author websites. I've gone through some of your examples. Do you distinguish between author websites and even book websites? Like a book specific website? Just out of curiosity?
Pauline Wiles [00:03:43]:
Yeah. The most important thing with any website is to get clear on what the purpose is. And as an author we've spoken about, there might be a type of author who really wants the books to be the main source of income, and they're making a career from writing many, many books. And the there's the other type of author, probably more along the lines of the audience that you serve, Mike, where they have a successful business, and the book is playing a supporting role. And so that's a crucial difference on the website. Be very clear about whether your book is the star of the show or whether your book is in the role of Best Supporting Actor.
Mike Capuzzi [00:04:25]:
Almost very good. So let's go down, Pauline, with the idea, like you said, business owners, entrepreneurs, CEOs, corporate leaders, whatever, who have a book, they're using it to differentiate themselves. Now, oftentimes for our clients well, not often, but I'd say a good percentage, we will create a book specific website for that book as part of it. Typically a book funnel. Right. So that's one type, but you're typically working with an author on either different type. You're not doing book funnels, are you? Are you going that deep?
Pauline Wiles [00:05:05]:
No, my clients are generally quite different from that. We incorporate the book as part of the main website. And something I'm a fan of, actually, is driving all your traffic to one website where people can see within reason, the whole picture of what you do and the value you bring. Now, obviously it's different in your case, Mike, if you wrote a completely different book that did not serve your main business, then you'd have to think about whether that belongs on a different site. But most of my authors, and especially if it's the case that the book is there to represent your expertise and serve as a business card, I almost always recommend that the book is part of the main website. And yes, if there's some kind of funnel activity there where we want people to download a free resource and therefore join the email list so that we can market to them some more, then yes, that's an important part of leveraging the book, for sure.
Mike Capuzzi [00:06:04]:
Okay, so then I guess and again, I'll just look for clarification. There are folks that already have a website, so you may be working with them with the idea of adding the book and information to that site, but then there's also folks that you're building full sites for, is that correct?
Pauline Wiles [00:06:21]:
Yes. People come to me at both stages of that. Obviously the folks who have an established business and a website. We talk then about how best to incorporate the book so that it can show their expertise and start to work hard for their business. And yeah, other times a new author takes this as the catalyst that it's time to get professional and get a website in place. And then, yes, we tackle the whole thing in terms of is it the book that's the star of the show, or more likely, what's the work or the service that the person is offering and how does the book best support that?
Mike Capuzzi [00:07:00]:
So if we're talking about a business owner, corporate leader who has his or her own website, it's been there for years, or maybe it's even their corporate site, literally their store, their consulting business, whatever it might be. Pauline, I'd love to hear some of the best practices, either best tips or even things to avoid or both for that type of author when it comes to promoting his or her book on that existing website.
Pauline Wiles [00:07:30]:
On the existing website, yeah. So first of all, we're going to want to add the book as a page on the website, so the book has somewhere to live, but definitely we don't want it hidden only on its own page. Almost all of the other key pages on the website will need a refresh at that point. So the home page should probably now say that you are not only excellent in your field, but you are excellent in your field and also the author of chances are your photos and images will need an update. Ideally, I'd like to see a photo of the business owner holding the book, but if not, then we definitely want the book to feature on the home page and then right the way through the other pages. So your services page, your bio page, if you're booking speaking engagements, your speaking page, these will all need a refresh. Not necessarily a complete overhaul, but you'd be surprised how many places people need to go back to and make some small updates once they are the proud published author of a book. And if I may take a breath and carry on, I'm a big believer. And Mike, I'm sure you teach this as well, that ideally we want something in your book that encourages people to come to your website, sign up for some kind of additional resource so that they are then giving you permission to be on your email list and you can market to them. And I'm a fan of putting that on every page. So it's easy to see that whatever your expertise is, whatever your free resource is that you offer, people can see that very easily and they don't miss the chance to sign up for further updates.
Mike Capuzzi [00:09:13]:
Is there any mistake, Pauline, that you've seen? I'm sure it's a loaded question because I'm sure you've seen a lot, but is there any big mistake that that person who has an existing website makes that the shouldn't make or should the should at least be aware of?
Pauline Wiles [00:09:34]:
There are two types of website mistakes. One is the strategic mistake of not being clear what the purpose is of your website and what the next action is that you want your visitor to take. So for many of the business owners that we're talking about here, chances are the next action is for someone to get in touch with you to discuss working together. So that might be giving you a call, filling out the contact form, scheduling a discussion. So if you miss out on the thinking of what should the visitor do next, then there's almost no chance that they'll do that thing because the website is not set up accordingly. And then the other big design blunder that I see, anyone who got started with a website more than about five to eight years ago is likely in need of a refresh in terms of design. So we know now that vast amounts of website traffic are coming through mobile devices. So it's essential that your website looks good on the small screen. But also, a few things have changed in website design. Very few website designers. Now, if you create a website from scratch, there aren't many who will put a sidebar on the home page. Now, maybe on Mike, a shop page or a blog page, a sidebar is still useful, but on the home page, that's almost always a dead giveaway to me, that the site is older and yeah, alongside that, it kind of goes with the same territory. Websites are changing and attention spans are getting shorter. So we definitely want to make much better use of images and good clear photos and fewer words. Your audience is in a hurry. You need to be very concise with what you're telling them, what they need to know, so that they get value from your website. Because I'm sorry to say, nobody has time to read three paragraphs before you get to the point of why you're there and what you do.
Mike Capuzzi [00:11:45]:
Right. It almost sounds like a commercial for a shook, right? A short, helpful book. No one's going to read a whole book.
Pauline Wiles [00:11:51]:
I mean, totally, the parallels are wonderful with what you advocate for. Get to the point, be valuable, give good concise information, show your expertise in a very easy to consume way. And I was going to say trust, but it's more than trust. You can the be completely confident that you've made your point so well that somebody will say, yeah, I understand this, I get this person. I'm ready to wear it with you.
Mike Capuzzi [00:12:20]:
It's amazing. I'm reading a book right now. It's a book about health. It's a health-oriented topic, and it's a big book. I'm reading the Kindle version, but I'm sure it's three or 400 pages. And it's a good book. It's well written. But I'm already annoyed, Pauline, because I'm going off tangent here, but I'm already annoyed because I find the authors are repeating themselves. I just read that in the previous chapter, and I'm starting to now think, okay, do I skip ahead? Which I don't want to do. But I just think so many folks, whether it's a book, a website, they're conversation starters. I don't think they're meant to be encyclopedias or your life work. Now, maybe a blog is a little different, but I think you're spot on that this specific focus and then leading them to whatever that next step is, is critically important. You mentioned something, Pauline. I just want to get a little more insight on are you a fan? Because I did recently interview a gentleman who does which I had not heard of before, but it makes sense. He does book trailer videos for authors, so he'll create a video of the author talking about the book. It's like a two-to-three-minute video they put on their website. Are you a fan of using video in your author websites in general?
Pauline Wiles [00:13:34]:
Yes. If it's concise and helpful and not just a kind of fluffy infomercial, then I think video is a great way of connecting, and some of your visitors will very much enjoy seeing that side of you and hear you talk about the book. Certainly if you are hoping or intending to get booked as a speaker where you're visiting groups and sharing your expertise, then, yes, some video on there is a must have book trailers. I feel like they were a very fashionable thing a few years ago. I don't see them so much now in fiction. But for the business owners that we're talking about, where you've got some expertise, you are the person that your client is likely to work with, and you want to make that connection. Yeah, a short video can be very helpful.
Mike Capuzzi [00:14:28]:
So you mentioned the other type of author that you help, which are the ones where they're essentially building a brand-new site, I guess, from scratch. Pauline, are there any high-level tips or recommendations you would give that person?
Pauline Wiles [00:14:41]:
The biggest way that people can go wrong when they're trying to build a site from scratch is biting off more than they can chew to begin with. So this almost feels like another shook concept that when you keep it small and manageable and you launch your website with just a few pages, then not only is that site more likely to go live, but you're more likely to get some business results this year instead of next year or even the year after. I do have authors come to me and they've heard that they should have a blog. They've heard that they should have this and that and the other, and they feel this terrible pressure to get everything in place on a brand-new website. Whereas, in fact, I tell them, just launch with a few key pages and then feel good about that. Start sharing it, start to build some traction, and you can always add on other items later if you've still got the energy and the enthusiasm.
Mike Capuzzi [00:15:41]:
Now, do you go as far, Pauline, with your clients as helping them with Mike SEO and trying to make sure this website can be found and all that good stuff?
Pauline Wiles [00:15:51]:
Yeah, I certainly build SEO into my projects. One of my favorite phrases, however, is that Google is not your fairy godmother. So for most business owners, unless you have a very, very clearly defined niche in a very underserved area, SEO is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. So we want to put our best foot forward with some basics for SEO. But I would be doing my clients a disservice to then make any promises about landing up on page one of the Google results. Or you can go off and take a nap and Google will just bring you clients. It's a longer, more committed process for most people to get strong SEO results.
Mike Capuzzi [00:16:43]:
Yeah, for sure.
Pauline Wiles [00:16:44]:
But I still like to set the foundations. And yes, if somebody has a healthy appetite for blogging or a YouTube channel or something like that, then SEO has certainly been hugely helpful in my business. But it's not something that we can put in place in a few days and start to see the dollars roll in.
Mike Capuzzi [00:17:03]:
Right. Pauline, are there any other book marketing tips, whether it's website specific or anything else that you do to serve your clients, that our listeners would find helpful?
Pauline Wiles [00:17:16]:
The biggest lesson for me was that we spoke at the beginning of our conversation about the first novel I wrote that was actually ten years ago now, and I've just crossed the point with Amazon where I've got 1000 reviews for that book on there. So that's a wonderful achievement. But I want to stress that took ten years, and I think many authors are incredibly excited and proud of the new book or the new Shook. Quite rightly. And I don't think a lot of authors realize that this is a long commitment. It's going to take time. You need to stick with it to see results. So it's certainly a powerful tool to have a book. And one thing I love about the concept of a short book to show your expertise and promote your business is that tool has a lot of longevity. Your publisher is not going to give up on you after the first three weeks. If you haven't sold 10,000 copies by then, you're using that tool then as a more strategic thing to leverage instead of something that you're trying to hit the best seller lists with. And I think for most authors, taking that long view and realizing that the book is a tool to grow the rest of your business, it's not the star of the show in its own right. That can be a super helpful mindset adjustment.
Mike Capuzzi [00:18:51]:
I 100% agree with you, Pauline. I always preach it is a long-term play, and I say it often. Writing a publisher in a book is typically the easy part, if you really look at the continuum of doing stuff with your book months, years later. Because if it's a well written book that's timely and timeless, like you said, it can have years of value to you, your business. And I find most folks, after the initial high of publishing it, sort of wane. And it's really about that long term vision, like, hey, I got to be promoting this every day for years to come to the best of my ability. So thank you for that. That's very cool. 1000 reviews are not easy.
Pauline Wiles [00:19:44]:
I was quite surprised to see it, but when I looked back, I thought, well, yes, that has taken ten years. So it's a good result to share, but it's good for people to know the timeline of that as well. That's important, I think.
Mike Capuzzi [00:20:00]:
Well. Very good, Pauline. This has been great. I was looking forward to this because typically we have authors who've written a book that we talk about the book, but I brought you on because you have this expertise in helping authors. So if there's any authors that are listening to this and they want to get a hold of you, what is the best way to connect with you?
Pauline Wiles [00:20:20]:
Yeah, so the best way? Not surprisingly, my website, Paulinewells.com, and yeah, folks are welcome to visit. If you go to https://Paulinewiles.com/authorfactor, then you can download a free author website Starter Kit, which hopefully gets you through some of your initial questions and gets you past feeling overwhelmed.
Mike Capuzzi [00:20:44]:
Very good. Well, I appreciate that little gift for our listeners. And Pauline, it was nice to meet you and I appreciate your time today.
Pauline Wiles [00:20:50]:
Great talking to you, Mike. Thank you.