Ensure your book’s website is navigable

A major factor to consider about constructing your website promoting your book is how visitors will be able move between all of the pages you’ve constructed for them. The ability to do this is called navigation.

There are two general areas that you’ll want visitors to your website to be able to navigate to:
• Page to order your book – With one click, a visitor should be able to reach a page where he can begin purchasing your book. You might call this link “Order this Book”. A reader who clicks it might be sent to the Amazon.com page that advertises your title.
• Pages on your website – You’ll want to have links that can take readers to any page on your site. Each link should use the same wording as the header on the page that you’ve sent them to.

These links should appear in one location on each of your pages. A good spot to place them is on a thin column either on the right or left side of your page. Place a picture of your book cover or your author’s photo at the top of the column. Link these pictures to a page where visitors can purchase your book. Navigation links can appear in other spots as well. For example, they are arranged across the top of the page on the website promoting my hiking guidebooks.

Not all of your pages necessarily need to have the same set of links (though the majority should). For example, if you have a page about your publishing company on your website, you may only want to send visitors to pages that offer catalogs of other books your company has printed. You also want to be careful where the links go or some will come to realize that you and your publishing company are one in the same. On other pages, you might only want to point readers in certain directions. For example, a page meant for the media might include your resume and a list of awards and honors. While you wouldn’t mind if anyone looked at these pages, you know that only reporters and bloggers are particularly interested in them.

Tutorials on each website can show you how to make these links, but generally it’s simply a matter of:
• Copying the full URL for the page you want them to go
• Highlighting the word on your page where the link can be made
• Clicking a “chain” picture on the command ribbon
• Pasting the URL into the “web address” option of a pop-up box
• Hitting “OK” or “Update”

Building each page first then adding this collection of navigation links to each page will save you the most time. After you’ve built the complete set of navigation links for a single page, you can cut and paste it onto every other page of your website.

Links to your pages or other websites can occur within the text as well. Generally, you want to limit these to just a few per page or your text will become difficult to read as it’s littered with multi-colored words.