If you’re self-publishing (and even if you’re not), chances are that you want to make sure people can buy your book from your website. It only makes sense to convert visitors into sales.
However, you don’t want to set up your site as an overt sales pitch. Instead, you want your site to show your value to the site visitor in fulfilling something they need/want in what you’re offering. This might be entertainment, or your expertise on a subject, or both — but by showing your site visitor what you can do for them, they’re more likely to follow through with a purchase.
Once you’ve shown them that they’ve come to the right place and they’re interested in what you’re offering, then you want to make it EXTREMELY easy for them to purchase in the way that makes it easiest for them.
If possible, you want to include purchasing options for the most popular online book retailers: Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com. Unsuprisingly, they’ll take a big cut of the price of the book, but will bring you a huge audience. If you want to take your sales to the next level, there’s the Amazon.com Associates Program – through this free service, you can earn up to 15% in referrals for products sold on Amazon.com… namely, your book.
If you decide to sell your product directly from your website (rather than through a venue like Amazon.com) then you want to invest in an easy solution that makes the experience pleasurable and not rife with security concerns & confusing interfaces — this might be by using PayPal. It’ll be difficult to compete with Amazon.com on convenience and price, however. So if you sell your book yourself, consider offering an incentive of a signed copy or a free short story included with each purchase to boost direct sales.
All this said, if no one knows about your website, even if you’ve done everything right to funnel sales of your book it won’t matter much. So tell as many people as you can about it! You can provide a link as part of a promotion for a social organization, a club, a team, an event… you can participate in affiliate marketing (especially with those who enjoy great success), or buy ad-space on popular blogs that target your readership. Additionally, you can offer your book as a give-away in a contest for a popular podcast related to your genre, or as part of a blog-promotion. Each of these gives you the chance to link back to your book purchase page.
So get out there and get selling!