Bad URL Links. Don’t use long ugly URL links to your books.
If you are new to self-publishing, there are so many skills to learn, apart from writing. In some ways, that is the easy part.
However, once your book is published, getting the word out on the Internet about your book is vital, but many new authors fail at the first hurdle because they do not know how to send page links correctly and post very bad URL links.
I don’t know how many times new self-published authors have posted on social media, or sent me information about their books, for me only to find that their links take me to a ‘404 page not found‘ error page, or worse, the wrong page.
Bad URL links such as this are annoying for a user. Many have taken me directly to the homepage of Amazon, Facebook or my own profile page on Twitter. This is extremely frustrating, and a perfect way to quickly lose lots of potential readers and book buyers.
If you self-publish, you absolutely must know how to use URL links.
Simply put, if you are a self-published author and you do not know how to copy and send or post accurate URL links to your books and social media sites, blogs and websites, you really need to learn very fast.
It’s a primary Internet and book marketing skill. Bad URL links will keep sending potential readers to the wrong place.
These links or hyperlinks are extremely important and are one, if not the most powerful means of spreading the word effectively about your books on the Internet.
If you are posting bad URL links in emails, or posts on social media sites, you are missing out on promotional opportunities and probably frustrating a lot of people who try to click on your links, only to find they lead to the wrong web page.
To avoid annoying users, and to get the most benefit from your posts, adding accurate URL links is an essential skill for self-published authors, and is in fact very easy to do.
So, here is how it is done. Please excuse me for using my own books and sites in the following examples and images, but it is easier than getting someone else’s permission. The most important first step is to go to the page in your browser that you wish to send.
Tip! Do NOT use search pages! Sending people to a search page link containing a whole list of entires is confusing and counter productive. Why would you want to be promoting other books or authors?
Always go to the precise page you want to send.
Now, for example, to get the link for your book on Amazon, go to your book’s page, and then left click in the address bar of your browser. This is the URL link to your book. When you click, it will change colour and be highlighted.
Now, right click on the highlighted URL link, and select copy. Then you can paste this link into Word, an email or into a social media post. It should look like something this: http://www.amazon.com/Louis-ebook/dp/B00394DSV2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1267029513&sr=8-11
The same method can be used for any web page. Go to your profile page on any social media site, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Goodreads. Make sure it’s your profile page, though!
The link for this page looks like this: https://twitter.com/Derek_Haines
So now you can copy and paste this link to wherever you wish.
However, these links can be quite long, particularly links to Amazon. To send or post short links, you will need to register with a free service provider that creates shortened links. I use bit.ly, but there are many others.
Once registered, you can paste your long links from your Amazon book page or social media pages and have them shortened, which then looks much better when posting to Twitter or Facebook.
When you paste your long link into bit.ly, such as the example of my book on Amazon, which was: http://www.amazon.com/Louis-ebook/dp/B00394DSV2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1267029513&sr=8-11, it will reduce it to: http://amzn.to/1vQbSb6
If you click on either the long link or the short link above, you will arrive at the same page. Now you can copy and paste this better looking short link into all your messages and posts.
Don’t lose perhaps 100’s of potential readers or book buyers by posting incorrect or bad URL links.
Learn and practice how to copy URL links and make sure potential book buyers get to exactly the right page that you want them to see.
One last note. If you are not sure that your link is correct, always double check your post or email by clicking on your link. If it doesn’t work, delete your post, get it right and try again.
Another tip is to copy your links that you use on a regular basis, such as your book or books on Amazon and other retailers, your Facebook, Twitter and social media profile pages or your book reviews and keep them in a list in a Word document so you can access them quickly and easily.
Also, if you use a URL shortening service, they will be listed there for you to use over and over again.
Learning how to use links correctly takes a little practice
Once mastered, you will have the most important tool to promote your book effectively on the Internet.
After learning how to use simple long and short links, you can then easily learn how to create embedded links, such as the ones I have used throughout this post or image links on your blog or website, which are extremely useful, as you can use your book cover as a clickable link.
If you want to know even more about how to use links, there are many tutorials on the web that will help you. Good luck with improving your links, and making your books more accessible for potential book buyers.
Note: There is a new post available with video instructions for adding links to text and images.