As a professional or amateur author, you have a website already live or are in the planning stages of creating one. Whether you’re one of Australia’s most popular authors or just starting to hone your craft, I cannot express enough how vital it is to have a website as an author and as a business. If you want to sell— books, yourself, products, whatever— then you need to have a website. Even if your debut novel isn’t coming out for another three years, it pays to set up your website now as longevity is something that contributes to positive SEO.
Make sure that your website looks great and keep the design simple so that it’s easy for people to navigate. If your website has fluorescent pink Times New Roman font on a black background, or if your website looks like any of these ugly sites, it’s time to invest in a web designer.
38% of consumers will stop engaging with content that is unattractive in imagery or layout.
Author websites tips
Here are some easy to implement tips to ensure your site is a standout author channel and will help you sell books, get the interest of a publisher or literary agent and develop a fan base.
‘What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though,’ J.D. Salinger.
Web pages to add
- Set up a webpage called books. Include a short and intriguing blurb on any published books or upcoming writing projects. 47% of consumers check the products/services pages of a website first. Geraldine Brooks does a great job of this on her website.
- Add a page incorporating information for people wanting to start a book club and use your book. For example: how to start a book club, a set of prompter book club questions for your book, link to libraries that hold a full set of your book.
- Add a useful links page that might include bookstores, fellow authors, Goodreads, publishers etc (this is good for SEO).
- Events/workshops and services. This is great for those of us writers who offer additional services such as copywriting, book editing, manuscript assessment or tutoring etc.
- In the media. Include any media coverage of your book or writing career including links to podcasts, publications, videos and upload any copies of hard copy media attained).
- Online shop. Check with your book publisher whether you are able to sell your book directly on your site. Obviously if you are self published, this is a no brainer. You might also like to use this page to sell other products or services, such as small chap books, merchandise, audio products etc.
- Reviews page. Lift the Amazon, Goodreads, media, peer reviews of your book or writing. If you don’t have any of these yet, keep the page live and declare that they will be coming soon. If you’re published and review-less, it’s time to include this in your marketing and outreach strategy.
‘Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers,’ Joanne Kraft.
Author websites features
Here are some extra features that would really make your author site pop and function as an excellent sales channel and platform. It’s helpful if you consider your author site as a very helpful personal assistant or publicist that tells people great things about you all the time.
- Add your social media links to every page on your website.
- Include professional membership links on every page (eg ASA, your local writers’ centre, media alliances etc).
- Add a widget/image icon to the side of your website telling people what you’re currently reading or writing. Try these: what I’m reading plugin, Amazon reading recommendations.
- Include an “About me” box/widget on the side of your website that will show up on every page.
- Create a pop up enews sign up on your website.
- Make sure you blog regularly. Once a week is optimum— more if you can manage to keep producing high quality content. Websites that have 51-100 pages generate 48% more traffic than website with 50 pages or less. You can count each blog post as a web page in this instance.
Examples of great author websites:
Consider studying and reviewing these Australian author websites for inspiration and guidance. They all have great design and well written information about being an author and their books. If you’re finding it quite hard to write about yourself (even writers have that trouble), don’t hesitate to get in contact and I will help write your website.
If you want to write the perfect website that attracts the right kind of people, check out my book Potent: improve your website with effortless copywriting