Important Pages for Your Author Website
Yikes! You need an author website, but what should that website include?
This is the fourth post in the Prompt to Publication | The Power of 12 Short Stories series. The Prompt to Publication series is about the Power of 12 Short Stories and how you can use it to build your author platform. We’ve seen how our writers have used their short stories to create brands and publish books, but there is more to an author platform than just writing to your heart’s content. (The links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this page.)
The Author Website
Remember those cool author bios we wrote last time? Well, you need to put them somewhere. Your author platform usually starts with a website, but what can you, as a beginner author, include on that website? There are certain pages that are expected on any site and I asked a web developer, Adriaan Snyman, which pages are important for an author.
The Author’s Website by Adriaan Snyman
The basic anatomy of a writer’s online home
We have one chance to make a first impression. Writers know this and often that first impression depends solely on the book cover. But in an ever-growing world of online traffic, first impressions from websites become just as important. We are going to look at what constitutes an effective website and the various elements that contribute to its success.
The focus of an author’s website is to convince visitors that the author’s books are worth reading and buying. There are many ways we achieve this. It is different from corporate websites, e-stores, or newspaper-blogs. The call to action might be more indirect. The aim of your website is to create a lasting impression of who you are, (first impressions go a long way with any website, regardless of the industry,) but also to establish a way for you to stay in contact with your readers, especially if you plan on releasing more books in the future. What writers want is to own pieces of real estate within readers’ minds. As writers, we do that through writing, but also through the images and words, we present to the world through our marketing efforts.
The Home Page
That brings us to the Home Page. This is the first image a person sees when he or she knocks on the door of your online mansion. (I speak about pages, but these can be sections on a home page as well.) You can either have a single banner with a logo, or you can have a spectacular display of your latest or best selling book. On average, the former works for established writers, the latter works for writers who are still building their career and readership. Whatever you choose, make sure that the visitor knows that you mean business. Keep your name, logo, and image bold and in the visitor’s face. Include a photo of yourself. People like to connect and are more likely to buy something from you or share their personal contact details with you when they see the person behind the works. If your display consists of the wonderful works you’ve produced, then the images and titles should speak for themselves, and there will not be much more effort on your part to make it more beautiful than it already is.
The About Page
It is a super important page. For any industry or business. Yet most companies, small and great, get away with a lot of average, corporate fluff. The writer doesn’t have that luxury. Your readers want to be entertained. They want to read stuff that keeps them entertained. That is why they buy books. So here is your chance. Make it interesting. Make it splendid, yet informal. Brag if you can. Ask yourself: Would your ‘about’ page put a smile on the face of your readers?
This shows your books! Or book, if you have written your first one. With most websites, this section displays the services or products page. This is no different. You want to sell your books and there must be no doubt in either your, or the reader’s mind, that this is the place where it all happens. You don’t want to make it difficult for the reader to get hold of your awesome work, so it should be only a click or two toward a sale.
On this page, you can have the images displayed of your books accompanied by links to all the various platforms where your books are for sale. If you have an eCommerce setup, you can have the option of selling your books directly from your website as well. This depends on your arrangement with some of the publishing platforms where your books are listed.
The contact page can be fairly simple and you don’t have to display your email address and other contact details if you don’t want to. A basic contact form and links to your social media platforms will do just fine as long as it’s inviting for a visitor to make contact with you. That leads us to possibly the single most important element of your website.
The Call to Action
You should encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list. You want to be able to communicate directly with your readers. And the way you do it is through emails. Sure, you speak to your audience via all your platforms, but you are not in control of those platforms. You are in control of your email campaign. This is a universal element and should be prominent on the home page, as well as visible on each and every other page. Dropdowns from the top or putting it in the footer are all options that will help you in this regard. You don’t want a potential reader to miss the option of signing up.
Some authors recommend creating a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel, and all of these can be embedded into your website. A blog will certainly help with google rankings, depending on what your SEO strategy is. Others say it is too time-consuming, and therefore focus their efforts more on writing books instead of blog posts. Many authors post their short stories in blog format, which gives them plenty of advertising space for their books.
Websites are flexible. There are boatloads of elements and pages you can add as you go along, and it doesn’t need to cost you a fortune to get something decent up and running. Most important is to keep monitoring your website and traffic, to see what works and what you can improve upon.
By Adriaan Snyman – Writer, blogger and web designer
See Adriaan’s work www.vividlygrand.co.za
With a strong passion for journalism and publishing, Adriaan invested years in building a career in blogging and web design. He started his web design agency, VividlyGrand in 2016, specializes in smashing grand and upmarket designs, as well as the building of professional online publishing platforms and applications. Adriaan also possesses a healthy appetite for beautiful prose in fiction and literature, has written a collection of short stories and recently ventured into the sphere of writing novels. He is a big supporter of the 20booksto50k movement, Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula and the ever-growing community of Indie writers. Adriaan currently lives in Pretoria, South Africa, and uses the strenuous methods of running, swimming and walking to keep the writing gears turning.