2 July 2015

Authors: How to create a free smartphone optimised 'showcase' for your books

"Our behaviour as consumers is evolving." This comes from a recent report on the exponential rise in smartphone use, which predicts over six billion users by 2020. Research in the US also concludes, 'nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.' 

I've been aware of the significant rise in smartphone use by book buyers for some time, (and I've even heard of people reading books on smartphones!) so was interested to experiment with the free facilities in WiX to see what was possible. In particular, I wanted to see how quick and easy it was to set up - and how well my promotional YouTube videos would run.

If you're not familiar with WiX, they are have grown to over 60 million users in 190 countries and claim to offer the only 'drag and drop' website building platform with HTML5 capabilities - and guarantee that your experience is simple, fun and code-free. Although you can pay for premium services, their business model allows WiX to provide full websites free of charge.

You can see what I created here:

There are seven simple steps as follows:

1. Sign up for a free WiX account at WiX.com and choose a free layout template and background. (You don't need to pay as long as you don't mind having a small WiX advert in the corner)

2. Add your book cover images, with a short 'blurb' in a text box. (You can link the images to Amazon.)

3. Add alternative purchasing sites and your promotional videos from YouTube, if you have them:

4. Switch to the WiX Mobile Editor:

5. Now you can arrange your book layout by simply 'dragging and dropping' the elements:

(Purple guidelines appear as you move things, to make alignment easy)

6. Preview the results and test all the links to make sure they work.

7. Publish the new site and test on a smartphone.

You don't need any coding or technical skills, as it is all really intuitive and I didn't need to refer to the help files. Once you have the basic page working properly, you can add pages for an author bio etc. I also spent a few minutes improving the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) by adding keywords and put some social media links in the footer.

The whole thing didn't take long - and like me, you would probably copy and paste the contents from your main website. Most importantly, this approach enables you to extend your author platform at no cost, which is always worth considering. I can't see myself switching from blogger to the still rather 'clunky' blogging features of WiX - but my new 'experiment' has already replaced my Wordpress author site as the main showcase for my books. 

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