Author websites are an important tool in successfully developing your author brand, which in turn helps you develop loyal readers and find new ones. But indie authors, especially those just starting out, don’t have a ton of time or money to put toward a website. Because websites can, and should, grow and change with your career, it’s simple to start out with a basic site, and add more features and fun stuff as time goes on. Here are the top 5 MOST important things to include on your author website to get the most out of it!
1. Books Books Books!
Books (obvs – right?) Strangely, there are lots of author sites out there where the books are not front and center. You want to showcase your books – after all, why else would someone come to your site? Make sure you have easy to find “buy” or “pre-order” buttons for all your books – new and back catalogue. Each book should have it’s own page with a blurb, purchase links, and the cover photo. If you write series I like to have a series page with an overview of it’s books, that feeds to the individual book pages.
2. About Page
Having a couple of versions of your bio (one short and one long) makes it easy for both readers and media to find out about you. Short bios are great for bloggers or other media to grab the most important bits you want people to know about you. In the longer version take the time to let your readers get to know you. Don’t be shy! A photo of you helps readers feel like they know, understand and trust you.
3. Contact and Follow Info
Your readers really do want to feel like they know you. You need to give them an easy way to keep up with what you’re up to – either a newsletter (recommended) or easy links to your social media -both of these works best. Make sure the newsletter sign up is easy to find – it can be a pop-up on certain pages, or as a more static call to action – but it’s a good idea to have it on several pages in addition to your contact page. Social media icons can live on your top bar, your contact page, and scattered throughout your site at appropriate spots.
Social proof is a big deal. Glowing reviews from bloggers, other media and fans are a great way to provide this. It’s easy to grab a quote from a review on Goodreads to use on your site (with attribution). These can be added on your About Page, your Home Page, or on the individual book pages (my preference).
Conventional wisdom is that websites with blogs get 55% more traffic than those without. A blog is also a huge help with SEO. You should aim to blog consistently – don’t groan – it doesn’t have to be every day. It also doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. It can be as easy as using whatever you’re putting on your social media and tweaking it a tiny bit. Readers LOVE to know what their favorite authors read and recommend so these posts are always popular. Any teasers from your works in progress, countdowns to new releases, and even just telling people how you’re feeling and what you’re doing. It’s amazing to see how much difference making a genuine connection with readers can make. That sense of connection and familiarity is something we all crave, and this is a simple, easy way to foster that.
Having these basics on your author website will set you up for having a solid online presence throughout your career. Once your career grows, adding to your website becomes easier, as there is more content out there to choose from. But your website is your own little slice of the internet, and making it a good experience for your fans and readers is absolutely critical.
Aerie Web Design specializes in building affordable but awesome author websites. If you’re looking for a new or redesigned site, I’d love to chat about it. You can contact me here or go ahead and schedule a quick discovery call with me here.