Let’s talk author websites:
Close your eyes; think of your favorite, popular author. Have you been to their website lately? What does it look like? Which aspects do you like/dislike? Is it clean and professional? Cluttered? Does it take days to load? (don’t you hate that? I do.) Huge print, small print, huge pictures, small pictures, no pictures? Are you impressed as a reader?
Now think about your own website, if you have one. (If you don’t yet, you’re in the right place!) Incorporating these following 10 elements will help impress your readers—and hopefully, they’ll stick around a while.
1 A list of published works
This goes without saying – but you need to have a page dedicated to your books, with book covers, synopsis for each book and BUY links.
2 An About Me page
You should absolutely have a bio, short or long, where people can find out about who you are. Also a professional headshot is a must. No grainy headshots with lots of people in the mix. Just you, your beautiful face, for everyone to see. Smile!
3 A Contact page
If people like you and what you write, they’ll want to follow you. If your contact information is NOWHERE or hidden in a magical cyber cave, it’s disheartening and frustrating. Don’t make people hunt and peck through the crevices of your website: people won’t. They’ll get bored and go somewhere else.
If you want media personnel to contact you for interviews, reviews, or to subscribe to your newsletter, make it easy and put it all in a contact page.
4 Awards and Accomplishments
If you have won or finaled in any writing-related contest, talk about it! Put it in your bio. Make sure each book that has won or finaled in an award/contest has it mentioned somewhere. Tell the world that your books are award-worthy or award-winning!
5 Social media links
I’ve encountered websites where links to social media are nowhere to be found. Please don’t make your readers search high and low just to follow you. Post your social media links in multiple places. The more genuine followers you have, the more potential for people to see your useful updates—like book releases, sales, giveaways.
6 Newsletter sign up forms
In the same light, post your newsletter sign up link everywhere. Some web pages allow for a sign up form to go at the bottom of every page. There are plug-ins which allow you to have a newsletter sign up form pop up every time someone clicks on your page.
More subscribers = more potential readers = more potential customers and fans.
7 A Media Kit
Give readers, reviewers, media personnel a quick snapshot of you and your book(s). Here’s a list of useful things to include in your media kit online.
8 A professional, uncluttered layout
Readers visit your website to find information. You want them to find what they need to find in as easy a manner as possible. If it’s difficult to find your contact information or book information, they’ll get distracted and leave. You want to have a clean, professional design with as little distractions as possible. That means your side bars probably need to go if you have them – or if you can’t get rid of them, pair them down to the bare minimum information necessary.
Purchase a domain which allows you to get rid of ads and other distractions. It also gives you much more control over how your website looks. Hire someone to help you if you need to, to design a clean, professional site which showcases what you want readers to see: You and your books.
9 A blog if you have one
Some authors begin with a blog as a starting point. Some authors contribute to others’ blogs regularly. Not everyone blogs. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t want to. But if you have one, include it directly into the main menu. Don’t make readers play musical links to find your blog.
More traffic = more eyes that wander around your site, possibly reading up on your new releases!
10 A present and consistent brand with some personality thrown in
You want readers to discover your website so they can discover more about your books—but ultimately, they’ll be discovering you. Your style, your personality, your likes, dislikes are all present through the way you design—or have someone design—your site. Remember, if you write in a specific genre, you have a brand already, but don’t be afraid to personalize things.
Adding these above features to your site will surely impress your potential audience. Make no mistake – crafting a website can be time-consuming; whether you’re an HTML CSS genius, use an easy-build type site, or have someone design it professionally. So no pressure, just take your time.
Now go build that website. You got this.
3 thoughts on “10 Must Have Elements Your Website Needs to Impress Readers by Sara Beth Williams”
Reblogged this on life, love writing.
This is great advice. I would say that some is a bit more complex than others, both in terms of input needed and investment. Running small Facebook ads is very doable even on small budgets. And going social, having a blog or guest posting is great for visibility. Creating an Android app will still need the rest to promote the app.
Nevertheless, these are pro tips that anyone can profit from. Thanks for sharing!