Author websites are a crucial component of a writer’s marketing strategy. They provide writers with a powerful tool to showcase their work, build their brand, and connect with their audience. However, creating a successful author website requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we will take a close look at some of the best author websites out there and analyze what makes them so effective. By understanding the key elements that make these websites work, you can learn how to create an author website that will help you stand out from the crowd and achieve your marketing goals.
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What Makes for Great Author Websites?
Branding is the foundation of an author’s website. It is what sets them apart from every other author out there, even within their genre. Branding is about communicating the author’s unique place online, and the way they use all the design and content tools available to them. It is beyond just borrowing colors and fonts from their book cover. The branding of an author’s website should be instantly recognizable and make them stand out.
Ease of Navigation
Well-organized content presented in a logical fashion that leads visitors strategically through author websites to the information they want to find is important. It can be a tidy menu bar, but it can also be presented in a style that’s as much part of the author’s brand as the site’s aesthetic.
Beyond ease of navigation, clarity is about not overwhelming site visitors with busy design or too much disorganized information. The author should make sure visitors know exactly what they’re all about, and where they can go to buy their books.
Author websites are a great place for visitors to learn more about the author, but they have another purpose – to sell books. The concept of a sales or marketing funnel is that the site is designed to lead, or funnel, visitors through the site in a way that achieves a pre-determined goal – to get them to buy the author’s book, or opt-in to their newsletter, or register for a webinar they’re offering, or enter a giveaway contest. The author should carefully consider this theory in their design and content.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a method to ensure that an author’s site is more likely to get placed at the top of Google searches. Over 50% of all traffic online comes from search engines, so it’s worth getting this right. To achieve this, the author should create valuable, interesting, interactive content that is optimized with keywords, and which makes other sites link back to it.
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors to Google, and basically means getting others to link back to the author’s website, thereby extending their reach and influence. The author can get backlinks through creating shareable content and getting interviews, asking to be featured, and/or simply reaching out to others. If they make awesome content, others will want to link to it, and the more authoritative the sites that link back to them are, the better.
Author Websites as a Connection to Fan Resources
The value an author provides to visitors when they arrive on their site, working in tandem with SEO and a powerful funnel, depends on great content. Author websites that contain a lot of engaging content tend to keep visitors on the site longer, and the more time they spend there, the more likely they are to opt-in, remember the author, and become a book buyer.
The About page and Media page can either be combined or separate – it’s up to the author to choose. The About, or Bio page is the author’s virtual handshake extended to the reader — a way to connect with site visitors. It’s usually preferable to come across as relatable, informed, interesting, and appealing – rather than dry, pedantic, or self-aggrandizing.
For press and media purposes, the author will also need to include high-resolution photos of themselves in a variety of formats and sizes. If they have a publicist or public relations assistant, this may be a good place to give their name and contact information. Some author websites put this information on the Contact page instead. Some include it on a dedicated Media page, separate from both the Bio/About page and the Contact page.
Bonus tip: To keep visitors on the author’s site longer, they can add links to other blog posts or areas of their site to tempt visitors to get to know them and their work better.
Great author websites have a strong brand that sets them apart, are easy to navigate, have a clear purpose, and are optimized for SEO. They also have engaging content, a powerful author funnel, and provide connections to fan resources. The author’s About page and Media page should be relatable, informative, and appealing. With these elements in place, an author can create a website that not only showcases their work but also sells their books.
Frequently Asked Questions
Essential Features of a Successful Author Website
A successful author website should have several essential features to attract and retain visitors. These include:
- A clear and concise homepage that showcases the author’s brand and personality.
- A list of the author’s published works, including book covers, blurbs, and purchase links.
- An author bio that highlights the author’s credentials, awards, and accolades.
- A blog section that showcases the author’s writing style and provides updates on new releases, events, and other news.
- An email newsletter sign-up form to capture leads and stay in touch with readers.
Effectively Showcasing Work on Author Websites
Authors can effectively showcase their work on their websites by providing high-quality images, videos, and excerpts of their books. They can also offer free samples or chapters to entice readers to purchase their books. Additionally, authors can include reviews, testimonials, and endorsements from readers or industry experts to build credibility and social proof.
Best Platforms for Building an Author’s Website
There are several platforms available for building an author’s website. Some of the most popular options include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so authors should choose one that aligns with their goals, budget, and technical expertise.
Frequency of Updating Website Content
Authors should update their website content regularly to keep it fresh and engaging for visitors. This can include adding new blog posts, updating book information, and showcasing upcoming events or speaking engagements. However, the frequency of updates will depend on the author’s availability and schedule.
Strategies for Increasing Traffic to Author Websites
Authors can use several strategies to increase traffic to their websites, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) to improve website ranking and visibility.
- Social media marketing to promote website content and engage with readers.
- Email marketing to stay in touch with subscribers and promote new releases.
- Guest blogging and author interviews to reach new audiences and build relationships with other authors and bloggers.
Engaging Children on Author Websites
Children’s authors can make their websites engaging for young readers by using bright colors, playful fonts, and interactive elements such as games, quizzes, and puzzles. They can also include book trailers, illustrations, and audio samples to bring their stories to life. Additionally, authors can create a separate section for parents and educators to provide resources and activities related to their books.