Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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January 11, 2023

EAT Your Heart Out to Empower Your Website

by Lisa Norman

EAT - heart shaped bowls of food on a platter

Search engine optimization (SEO) is making your website attractive to the search engine spiders. When they like you, they crawl all over your website and seize upon the tasty morsels of your content to share with their millions of curious customers.

We want to keep those spiders happy and engaged! But SEO doesn't have to be a mysterious topic.

Any blog post is better than no blog post

Content — even weak content — is going to perform better than no content at all.

A blank page won't rank.

Don't let the word "content" throw you. As an author, your native language is words. Content just means words on the page.

I see authors get caught up in trends and thoughts that their blog needs to look like everyone else's. Here's the good news: your blog should be as unique as your writing.

My other posts have been pointing out the trends in digital reading. Online reading is on the rise. Blog posts, social media posts, short stories — all of this is attracting our time-challenged readers to entertainment that they can skim and enjoy.

Bring on the style!

You have a unique style. Some authors will write beautiful prose in their books, but their blogs are boring. Why? They've mentally decided that a blog must be a certain type of thing. That MUST is where we see problems slipping in. There is no MUST for blogging.

(You may see posts with trends and suggestions for industry leaders. Remember: if you write fiction, you're in the business of entertainment, not in the world of business. Many of those guides will not apply to you.)

When authors are marketing — and any online activity is marketing — it is important that they have fun, or at least tie into their passions. If your latest blog post is boring you, take a break and find the fun.

Let's EAT!

EAT is a fancy term used by SEO specialists. It stands for: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. When SEO gurus talk about EAT, they're talking about the quality and credibility of your website. The higher your EAT rank, the more likely you are to rank in search engine results.

Like many other things in life, there isn't a magic button to tell you what your EAT score is. But you'll know it when you see it.

You're reading WITS right now. WITS has a high EAT rank!

Note: As of December 2022, Google has updated these guidelines to E-E-A-T or “Double-E-A-T”. They added a new category: Experience.

Let's break it down:

Experience

How much first-hand or life experience do you bring to the content? As the author of your story, you have more experience with that world than anyone. But you also have experience as an author in the world. Drawing on that real-life experience is powerful.

Expertise

How much does this author know about their topic? For nonfiction, we show this through credentials. In fiction, we show it in our understanding of our story world.

Authoritativeness

In school, we proved we had done our research by citing credible sources. But who is more authoritative when talking about your story world than you, the actual author?

Trustworthiness

We build up trust with our readers by being accurate, honest, and transparent.

A broken website breaks trust. Asking for too much information from visitors breaks trust. It is much easier to break trust than to build it.

You and Your Beautiful Website

It is easy to see these factors in a nonfiction website like WITS. But what about in a fiction website?

These terms take on slightly different connotations for fiction authors. You are absolutely THE most authoritative source on your characters, their backstory, and even the underlying themes of your books.

Do your readers trust you? Are they connected to you and to your story? When they come to your website, are you giving them an entertaining experience?

Here are a few examples of fiction websites where authors are going deep into their story expertise:

Yes, most of those are World Anvil, because that's where I've been hanging out lately. But don't miss Brandon Sanderson's brilliant website with his online library and sample chapters. This works for traditional and indie authors.

These are mostly science fiction and fantasy websites, but the same techniques apply to any genre.

Does this give you ideas for a fresh approach to your author website? Please share any questions or ideas down in the comments!

* * * * * *

About Lisa

head shot of smiling Lisa Norman

Lisa Norman's passion has been writing since she could hold a pencil. While that is a cliché, she is unique in that she wrote her first novel on gum wrappers. As a young woman, she learned to program and discovered she has a talent for helping people and computers learn to work together and play nice. When she's not playing with her daughter, writing, or designing for the web, you can find her wandering the local beaches.

Lisa writes as Deleyna Marr and is the owner of Deleyna's Dynamic Designs, a web development company focused on helping writers, and Heart Ally Books, LLC, an indie publishing firm. She teaches for Lawson Writer's Academy.

Interested in learning more from Lisa? Sign up for her newsletter to see upcoming classes!

Top image by Silvia from Pixabay.

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22 comments on “EAT Your Heart Out to Empower Your Website”

  1. This is amazeballs, Lisa!! I absolutely love seeing you lay SEO out like this (because, as you know, I am all retentive about SEO things like titles, tags, keywords, headings, etc.)

    I'll be digging into Mr. Sanderson's site when I come back to the computer later on.

    1. Jen, you are the queen of SEO! I love sharing tidbits with authors because they are so good at content! Geeky kids can cause writer's block and I'm all about helping authors get past that. We have so much to share!

  2. Love this! The examples are terrific. I've peeked at each of them and will dive into them more a little later. They've given me some ideas already and I'm eager to study those sites and develop the ideas for my own website. Thanks, Lisa.

    1. Aren't they fun? You can see how readers are just loving them. I've had a few authors see some of those and it changes their whole understanding of blogging. It is all about giving the readers what they want.

    1. No guilt! Eek! Hugs, Ellen. Give your readers something fun, but don't let guilt creep in. The best thing is that you can start any time and skip sometimes, too.

      One of my favorite stories is of a friend of mine who is a great blogger. She'd been so consistent and then life happened and she stopped for a long time. She decided she should pull down her blog and start over, since it had been so long. I wouldn't let her. I put stats tracking on her site and she discovered that her readership had grown! People still loved her old stuff, and when she started up again, they were happy. Consistency is great, but optional!

      Guilt can bring on blocks, so I'm a big encourager to leave guilt behind. There's no room in life for that drain! (Grin)

  3. Awesome post Lisa! The links to Pottermore and Brandon Sanderson's website were especially interesting to me, with Brandon blogging more about his writing experience and progress, and Pottermore including some original JK Rowling articles going deeper into the history and background of some of the artifacts and creatures found in the books. Both very achievable ideas!

    1. Becky - that's right! You've probably already seen the WA stuff. There are so many wonderful ideas that we have access to!!!

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