Your Author website is your own happy little home on the web.
It’s your space to express yourself, showcase your books, and offer fans a behind-the-scenes, VIP glimpse into your world. It’s a marketing and networking hub and a portal that allows communication to flow between an author and their readers.
Visiting an author’s website is one of the leading ways that book readers support and get to know their favorite authors better.
So why put all this effort, money, and time into your own author website?
Why should you have a website?
- Instant credibility
Having your own website shows you are in the game for real! It’s like dressing your best for an interview or having a great book cover. It establishes you as a serious professional. Your own website also gives you a lot more credibility as an author. Think of your author-business just like any other business… How often have you not bought from a business because of the quality of their website?
- Showcase your work
Your author website becomes your home base, your extensive business card – it’s your platform to display your books and creative work.
- An opportunity to build a following
This is where you work on building your email list, have people find your social channels and your book selling platforms. Learn more about email marketing here.
Your author website is an essential piece to the successful book marketing puzzle, but as always, first impressions matter.
Website visitors have come to expect certain pages from websites they trust. Following this pattern makes it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for and establishes more credibility for your author brand. You don’t have to only stick to these pages, but using it as a guideline is extremely helpful.
These are the pages we feel are important for your author website. Each website will have its own special characteristics, look, and feel etc. of course.
What your website needs
- Good, Clear navigation
- Your author brandings
- Author Bio
- Email Sign up
- Contact Page
- Media Page
- Additional Fan Resources
- Social Media Links
- Book purchasing platform links
- Book Reviews
- Mobile friendly
1. Good, Clear navigation
Have your website simple, easy to read fonts, good and clear navigation to make it easier to find what they are looking for. The menu page headings need to make sense and easy to navigate. Have a good first impression!
2. Your Author Branding
When people think of a brand they often only think of only a logo or color scheme. Branding is so much more than that. As you plan your site, keep in mind how you want to brand yourself.
Your author brand is everything communicated in all your content, online and off, that says who you are and what you’re about as an author. More specifically, it’s what makes you unique and recognizable as an author.
It’s your own special mark that only you leave on the world that people notice you by. It’s the colour scheme you use, the fonts, the book covers, the way you present your books etc.
Use colour to draw attention to certain parts of your website, like pick a stand out colour for all your buttons and carry that theme through the site. Keep elements consistent too, from page to page.
3. Author Bio
About pages are among the most frequently visited pages on the internet. People have a natural curiosity and will want to know more about you, this is the place to tell them. Provide a short bio about yourself, you should have one for the back of your book covers. Then add a longer version – explain to the reader how you got into writing, about the books you write, tell the interesting story to give readers more info about you. Craft the story about you, start with a persuasive headline, break up the sections and make it an enjoyable read. Help them understand why you write, not just what you’ve done.
Think about who your target reader is, and what they may be interested to know about you. This makes it more real and people can relate to you more. Add interesting photos, videos and make the page fun. Let them have a glimpse of who you really are. Consider getting professional photos for your website, nobody wants to see your wedding photo as your bio pic.
Link media kits/Press pages, reviews, book events etc to this page. Allowing readers to flow to the next page.
The whole point of your website is to sell more books. Make a dedicated page per book and have an overview page to showcase your work – you might have a few series or different book genres.
Each book needs a title, subtitle, description, the book cover and links to buy on other platforms and if you offer ecommerce, pick an easy to buy system. If you have a series, add the other book cover images there too, then buyers can browse to the other books easily. You can add your book reviews here too, readers can easily see what fans say. Grab them from amazon/bookbub etc. or simply ask fans to review right there on your site (make the posts pre-approve before publishing to avoid spam comments.)
Having a dedicated page per book is better for SEO and also easier for you to share on social and have shareable links for emails too.
If the books have their own resources, linkto that on the specific book page. Like if you have your own fantasy world map, add the link to that page or if have a page about character development etc, link that too.
5. Email Sign up
Have a signup on your homepage, offer something valuable and enticing for readers to want to sign up. Consider an ebook to download a free ebook or the first few chapters of your new book or even some other freebie that is related to your books. This is known as a value ladder, get them to know you, test you out and see if they want to buy something later one. Yes, all that hard work maybe for nothing, but if you offer something mind-blowing and they are your audience… they will come back!
An email list is valuable because it is made up completely of potential clients, fans or people who have shown an interest in you! When they choose to sign up, they have “allowed” you to promote to them. Have a simple sign up with first and emails address. You don’t need too much details as you will scare some people off.
Blogs are informal articles written for the purpose of showing thought leadership and expertise on topics. It’s a great way to generate fresh content on your website and provide content for email marketing, social media promotion to drive search traffic to your website and great for SEO. So yes, you need a blog page on your website!
A blog can also be a form of a value ladder. Readers can experience your style of writing, find out what you are about too. You also have topics to share on your social media channels and newsletters. Suck on how and what to write, here are examples of 10 types of blog posts to wow your audience.
The more your blog, the more content the search engines have to crawl and index. This means they can easily recognize that your site is a resource of information for people to access. Websites with blogs get more traffic than static websites do, 77% of internet users read blogs. Read more on blogging stats.
7. Contact Page
Often authers hide their details and email address deep in their website. If one of your goals is to interact with readers, don’t play hard to get. Have your social platform links here too, encourage your readers to get in touch with you via the social platform(s) you are most active on.
You can add a contact form or let them get in touch with your agent if you don’t want to have your email address visible or even create a fan email address just for readers to reach out to you. Give people an opportunity to make a connection.
8. Media Page
Your author site is meant to attract both readers and journalists. The purpose of a press page or media kit is to easily provide the media, or anyone wishing to feature you or your work in their piece.
This content may vary, but should basically include: Basic Bio, contact details, author photos and book covers to download, information about your books, sample of book pages or chapters. Once you have the core content, always add and enhance – keep it uptodate. If you don’t want the general public to access this page, you could always publish it not in the menu, then you have to email the link to the appropriate person.
More on How to Write a Press Release.
9. Additional Fan Resources
Fan resource pages give visitors a reason to keep coming back to your site. They can contain just about anything relevant to your books. Fiction authors can have maps, character art, glossaries, history and information about their worlds. You can create fan contests with short stories or artwork.
If you write non-fiction, create resources that are aligned with your field of expertise that you cover in your work. A pdf download or checklist, or something that is valuable to your readers. Make sure your resources are something a little unique and of professional quality.
Align your resources to your books, theme and genre.
10. Social Media Links
Not everyone will come back to your website, have your social media links visible on all pages. Make it easy for readers to like and follow. You can add them to the footer/header or have banner sections on each page. Use your website to increase your followers on these channels. On your blog pages, add the social share buttons.
Here is a great resource on The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Writers if you want to improve your social platforms and this post lso shows examples of other authors using the platforms effectively.
11. Book purchasing platform links
The simplest way to do this is to add a link to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple Books etc where people can buy your book. Whether it’s physical books or downloadable eBooks, make sure there is a clear link or button that says ‘buy here’. Make it easy so readers and fans can click through to the book selling platform.
If you are holding stock of your books and would prefer people to buy direct, then you can always have a payment function on your website to process orders. But for most self published authors, using print-on-demand services, the simplest thing to do is direct people to book purchasing platforms. Want to know more about self-publishing, read more here: 12 Best Self-Publishing Companies: Detailed Publishing Companies Guide.
12. Book Reviews
Book reviews are essential because they help potential readers make a purchase decision. Social proof, testimonials and positive quotes from fans and reviewers can go a long way in increasing your credibility. Use real and powerful reviews, this helps with credibility. There are free ways getting reviews and paid version – explore what suits you and your books, then share these reviews on your website and various other platforms.
Encouraging people to publish and share reviews of your book is a key book-marketing, possibly the single most important of marketing task for any author. Reply back on comments, its a great way to connect. If readers buy directly from your site, email them a personal email a month later to ask if they enjoyed the read and ask if they can add their review on one of the book platforms.
Here is a great resource on How to get book reviewsL 50+ resources to generate book reviews.
13. Mobile friendly
And our final website ‘must have’ is having a mobile friendly website. The Internet is mobile. Gone are the days when people sat glued to their desks to search for a product on Google or check their Facebook profiles.
People are on the move, and that means they are using their smartphones and tablets for their Internet browsing rather than their desktop computers – if they even have one. In 2018, Google announced that they would begin to rank search results based on mobile, rather than desktop, sites. If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly, go to Google’s test page. If you fail the test, it’s time for an upgrade.
There are many other elements you can include on an author website, but these thirteen essentials we feel that gives you a strong foundation for success. As you plan your site, keep in mind how you want to brand yourself and more importantly what your readers would enjoy. Make it a place they can enjoy and explore your worlds, find out a little bit more about you. We hope we have inspired you to upgrade your current website or start your digital world!