This week’s writing question comes from Kara Howell. I added the word in brackets for clarity.
I just spent a ton of time banging my head against WP [Wordpress] to figure out how to make my capture page my home page, but then people who revisit can’t just type in karahowell.com or they won’t be able to see anything but the capture page, again. Any suggestion?
Answer from Janalyn Voigt
A capture page (also known as a lead page, squeeze page, and splash page) is a website page with very little distraction (like sidebars or extraneous content) for the sole purpose of capturing email addresses into a mailing list. Usually this is in conjunction with a giveaway for subscribers like my How to Edit PDF.
Note: Kara has built her capture page around a giveaway of the prologue and first chapter of her book, so my advice addresses her question from this perspective. Kara’s giveaway is a good one for a fiction writer. Whatever your giveaway, theme your capture page around it.
Now, on to Kara’s question:
How did you create your capture page? Did you use third-party software like Lead Pages or does your site allow you this option? If it’s third-party software, I’d direct my question to them. If it’s through a template, you might be able to change the page type to allow the menu to show.
However, if you prefer for the menu not to show and there’s no software option you can discover for skipping the lead page on a return visit, consider adding a button on your capture page that says: No Thanks, Take Me to the Website.
I suggest you create a static home page. Remember that as a writer you are your brand, not a particular book, so include a welcome video or a little about you in writing with a link to your about page. Also add a couple of endorsements of your writing, and tell a little about your book, as well.
You can use back-cover copy, a brief insight into why you wrote the book, or something about the story. Include the first paragraph or two, a book trailer, and a quick audio introduction to your book, if you have those items. Then either link to your capture page or put the information it contains right on the home page.
Marketers agree that it isn’t enough to give away something in order to grow your list. Nowadays you have to sell a free item to potential subscribers.
If you don’t want to create a static home page as I suggest, at least make sure your capture page contains one or more endorsements, a brief description about your book, and a small sample of your writing to help visitors decide if they would like to read it.
People are hesitant to part with their email addresses, even if they would enjoy what you write, so do your best on your capture page to bridge this particular gap for them.
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.