I have recently written an article for the Virtual Earner website about how to select a partner for creating your web presence. One thing I mention over there is that it is about more than web development skills.
As loyal readers know, I am an advocate of having multiple revenue streams. I know it doesn't sound as romantic as being solely a book publisher, but it certainly helps pay the bills.
I am also an advocate of making sure that all my products whether print or web are of good quality. A recent project that I have been working on is a redesign of my main website on online high schools.
So why a redesign? Here are a few reasons:
The site is three years old and looks much the same as it did those three years ago; and
There were things that I wanted to do that I could not do with the old design; and
I thought I could make more money with the site by doing a redesign.
The new site went live two days ago and it seems to be doing all three of those things. Perhaps. Always hard to know until you are a month or two into it.
So what does a website design have to do with publishing books. I am able to tell that many of the books that I sell come from folks who go to that site and then click through to Amazon. If that is your model, and it is certainly mine, then it makes sense to have a website that attracts folks and that provides a real service.
My theory was that the greater the traffic, the more the money. As you might recall, I earn money in three ways from that website:
From sales of the book; and
From Google Adsense ads; and
From Featured Ads.
Book sales on that site are all driven to Amazon (which is part of my marketing plan). Traffic for the first year of the site was about 30,000. In the four months since I began to give away more information, the number of hits has been 60,000 (for a total of 90,000 this week).
What did I learn? I learned several things including:
The more pages of good content on a website, the more likely to ding the Adsense bell. The amount of money the site makes from Google Adsense has tripled in just a few months.
The more pages of good content on a website, the more likely to ding the Amazon bell. The number of books sold through Amazon doubled in just a few months.
The more pages of good content on a website, the more likely to ding the Featured Schools bell. In that short period of time, the site added five new featured schools. Most of those schools came to me (as opposed to me usually having to go to them).
Thus, while I think you need to be careful with how much you give away, the Internet is driven by information. You absolutely need to have something worth reading and, importantly, something worth exploring.