Marketing for Authors

Custom URL Slug and How to Make One

What is a custom URL slug? A custom URL slug is choosing the words used for the tail end of a URL (website link) that identifies a particular page on a website.

Blog banner graphic highlighting blog post about creating custom URL slugs for your blog with Marketing for Authors logo on it, teal and black colors

Why does a custom URL slug matter?

By customizing a URL slug, you can make a website link compact, readable, memorable, and searchable.

Searchable means someone can find it if they type the exact words or similar words in a search engine and your webpage appears on the search results.

How can a the slug appear in the searches we want?

Choose the right words and customize it.

Remove the extra words that don’t carry any weight in explaining what the page or post is about. Words such as the, and, of.

The simpler, the better. Just 4-5 words max.

And using the Keyword or phrase you’ve selected is a bonus when building SEO. 

When choosing a keyword, think about how someone might search for the content you are writing. What would the words be that they might type into a search bar?

I would recommend doing your own search to see if the slug you are choosing shows search results you would like your page to appear on. This way, you know for sure you are targeting the right words, and the right audience.

Where do you customize the URL Slug?

Everyone’s setup for the website is different. If you see a permalink section, it will display what your currect URL slug will look like, and you can edit it right in that spot.

screen shot of the permalink field in wordpress where you can edit the URL slug
This is what the permalink field looks like where you can edit the URL slug

I highly recommend at least the free version of Yoast, where there’s a specific spot to view and update the URL slug. You can edit it right there in that section.

screen shot of the Yoast URL slug field where you can customize the slug
This is what the Yoast URL field looks like

Don’t change them once slugs are published

If you have shared the page on social media or in a newsletter or on another page, don’t go back and change the URL slug. Even taking out one word will alter the link and anyone clicking on it will get an error message.

I know I have several slugs I would love to go back and change and make them stronger and shorter because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But changing them will create other issues that it’s not worth the headaches to go back. 

Keep in mind, all is not lost. 

If you have favorites you want to better align with your new SEO strategy, consider rewriting them in a new post that you can use with updated SEO keywords and URL’s. 

Build Your SEO Strategy

And keep a log of your URL’s, keywords, and other SEO, so that you don’t repeat the same ones. Remember, no two posts or pages should share the same SEO. This will actually have a negative effect on your overall SEO score.

Learn more about SEO and how to build SEO, by signing up for my Marketing for Authors newsletter (this is one of my URL slugs that was created way before I knew better).

You may also look at past blog posts I’ve written specifically related to brand and SEO on this blog or in my monthly column on A Slice of Orange.

Marketing for Authors

Using Your Brand to Generate Blog Topic Ideas

Blog Header Titled Using Brand to Generate Blog Topic Ideas by Denise M. Colby, Marketing for Authors with a photo of a desk and keyboard behind.

Month to month it never failed. It was time to sit down and write my blog post and I had no idea what to write. And then I flushed out my author brand, and a whole new slew of blog topic ideas came to life.

If you struggle with figuring out how to have a variety of solid blog post topics, maybe it’s time for you to flush out your brand too. And here’s why:

YOUR BLOG POSTS SHOULD BE WRITTEN WITH YOUR BRAND IN MIND

Denise M. Colby

When I teach my classes, I always do a brand brainstorm. This is to help think outside the box to see elements that can be a part of your brand. I have found several things can be done with the items on this list, including write more interesting blog posts.  

I love this topic so much that I want to share some of the ideas from my own brainstorm list that might help you generate your own ideas with what to write about.

What are two of the blog topic ideas that came from my list?

THEME TOPICS

My theme of my first novel is about trust and God’s plan for our lives. Other ones I’ve outlined have this same theme in it as well. I find trusting God and letting go of control something in my own life I struggle with.

What came to light in my brainstorm is that I can write about these struggles and tie them back to my story theme. I’m sharing something about myself, I’m relating to my audience, and I can connect it to my novel.

Here is one post to show this example: Category (writing)/Tag (story themes)

Example of theme topic idea for a blog post that ties into brand by Denise M. Colby

FUN TOPICS

A Disney fan, I’ve created a “for fun” category and have been sharing my Disney fun. It’s a way for me to share a little part of myself, and is fun!

Here’s some posts for this Category (for fun)/Tag (Disney):

Example of Disney for fun topic idea for a blog post that ties into brand by Denise M. Colby
Another Example of Disney for fun topic idea for a blog post that ties into brand by Denise M. Colby
Another Example of Disney for fun blog post; this one titled Dating Lessons from Wall-E by Denise M. Colby

More on Brand and Blog Posts

I’ve also written additional articles related to Author Brand and Blog Post Topics and Why It’s Important to Have a Blog on A Slice of Orange blog.

If you are interested in learning more about building your author brand, sign up for my Marketing for Authors Newsletter.

Do you have topics you write about that fit your brand? I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comments below!

Marketing for Authors

Making Decisions for Your Author Brand

I wrote a blog post this month on Developing Strong Decision Making Skills as a Writer. You need to develop the same skills when it comes to making decisions for your author brand.

Blog Post Header with the title Making Decisions for Your Author Brand by Denise M. Colby, Marketing for Authors

But how do you know what types of decisions to make for your brand when you are just starting out as an author?

When starting out, there are many decisions for your author brand to consider.

What genre will you write in?

Will you write in only one genre or multiple?

Do you want to have a pen name or use your own?

Should you include your middle initial or not?

What colors, taglines, and graphics do you want to use for your website?

Are there blog topic ideas you can write about to help build your brand?

Who is your audience and what do they want to read? How do you reach them? 

These are all questions a writer needs to ask when they are building their brand and developing a website and social media. And of course, all the fears and doubts rear their ugly head with each decision. 

If you are anything like me, it can be a little immobilizing.

Sometimes making decisions for your author brand means trying something out.

You won’t have all the answers right away. You can only make decisions with the information you do have at the time. Your decisions will change as you grow in your writing and content. So for today, make decisions based on where you are right now.

I strongly encourage you to do some research with each decision.

A few google searches for the names you are considering may help you decide what to do.

Someone else was using my name Denise Colby as a website address. I then had to decide how I wanted my name to be different. I narrowed my author name down to three choices (adding an initial (my maiden name (M) vs my middle name (C), or choosing a different name altogether), and ran it by both friends and author friends. I then started building graphics using them to see what it would look like.

Yes it’s important to know where you want to go. But you can’t build your platform all at once. You have to build it step by step, adding content to your website organically. I encourage you to make decisions based on what you have now. Then as you add content, you can change things as the need arises.

Brand building takes practice and patience.

You have to start somewhere. Why not get started today! 

Sign up for my Marketing for Authors Newsletter and receive monthly encouragement and tips related to all things author marketing – brand, SEO & content.

Courage quote All our dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them by Walt Disney in front of Disneyland
I love this encouraging quote from Walt Disney