Having an Author website is a crucial element to marketing your books. Whether you’ve released many books or you’re still in the process of writing your first, without an effective author website you’re missing a trick. In this post I’m going to address why you should have an author website, what it can do for your business, great examples of author website design and how you can optimise yours to make it as effective as possible.
- Why you should have an author website?
- What are the benefits of an author website?
- Should I create a blog?
- How do I optimise my site?
- What can I do to make it look incredible?
- Great examples of Author Websites.
1. Why you should have an author website?
There are three main objectives to choose when you’re putting together an author website and all are important in their own right. I would strongly suggest you pick just one and concentrate on that. This ensures you build a site that’s fit for purpose, doesn’t give your visitors too much to look at and gives you the option to tweak it to improve conversions.
- Email list building – Are you in it for the long-game? If you plan to write lots of books and build a loyal army of supporters then this should be your objective. Your site visitors have an interest in your work so why not capture their email address while they’re there. You can then provide value and market your products direct to their e-mail inbox for years to come.
- Drive sales – Do you want sales there and then? Well then this is where your focus should be. You have the option of creating your own online shop and distributing your books direct from your site. Alternatively create some stylish images of your books and provide links to Amazon. You can use a free service like booklinker to create universal links. Then wherever in the world your customers are the link will take them to their local Amazon store.
- Brand building – Want to show case your work? Then this option is for you! Write articles and bios to give your readers more of an insight into you and your world. Provide links to your social media, accounts, podcast and any other places you are online. Think of it as a personalised hub.
2. What are the benefits of an author website?
An author website is your own personal space on the internet, a space that you own. It’s all well and good building a huge social media following but what if Facebook, Instagram and Twitter collapsed tomorrow or your account got blocked?
Future proof your business and put the work in to create a platform you can be proud of. I like to think of social media as a party and your website is your house. So direct everyone you can to your house and create your own house party. The possibilities really are endless and it’s the perfect way to showcase your creativity
You can craft your own basic site for a really low cost or hire a professional to make your dream come to life. Set aside a percentage of your budget to building a site and it’ll pay dividends in the future. We live in a digital world so why wouldn’t you make digital marketing the forefront of your strategy?
In the end though, the benefits of your website are dependent on you. The more work you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Keep it fresh and updated with regular new content and visitors will come back again and again.
3. Should I create a blog?
There are loads of benefits to having a blog on your site. If you have the time to produce blog content then I’d always recommend as a writer you have one on your site. You want to showcase your talents right?
Not only can you give potential readers a chance to read your work, you can share blog posts to all your social media accounts. This is especially helpful if you’re a member of Goodreads. When you post a blog post on there Goodreads automatically sends an e-mail out to all your followers, letting them know about your new blog post. You can even post your blog to your Amazon Author account. This can draw extra traffic to your site and can help viewers to discover more of your work.
In addition to all this, blogs work wonders for SEO (search engine optimisation). This means a well written blog post can rank on google, again drawing more traffic to your site. If you really plan this well you can create interconnected blog posts which link to each other. Add in high traffic search terms to your posts and you could become a thought leader in your niche. Many writers have used these principles to massively increase their discoverability.
4. How do I optimise my site?
There are so many ways to optimise your site so it ranks higher with search engines, I could write a book on this. Some include making it relevant, topical, improving the speed of your site, removing annoying ads, making it mobile friendly and selecting the right keywords. A good website designer will cover lots of this for you and should make it super efficient.
However if you can’t afford an expensive web developer you can make a big difference through your content. Add ALT text to all your images, if you include your chosen keyword for the article in this ALT text it can actually help your images rank on google.
Another major thing which will help you is rank is choosing the right keywords. A top tip is to get a google adwords account, this will take 5 minutes top to set up. On there you’ll be able to type in your chosen keyword and see how many people search for it, how competitive the keyword is and also some google suggestions,
Lastly (because I’m not writing a book on this, yet) is backlinks to your site. Lots of links to your website from other quality sites will tell the search engines yours is a trusted place to visit. This is like sprinkling magic dust on your platform and improves your Domain Authority. DA is a search engine ranking score that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages.
The key here is to make connections with others and get as many links as you can. Anyone fancy swapping links?
5. What can I do to make it look incredible?
Although I’d describe a great website as one which ranks highly and fulfils the objectives you set out to achieve; a great looking website makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping people on your site for longer.
Pay attention to your colour scheme, make sure you it all ties in and creates the visually pleasing site you desire. If you’ve got a logo then you can use the colours in your site theme. If you haven’t already got a logo then can use a site like Canva to rustle one up quickly.
Use warm colours when you want to add a ‘Call to action’ button, like this…
It’s proven to entice more people to click on the link, try it…
For images, videos and even book trailers I’d highly recommend Bookbrush. This is designed by authors for authors and is a really simple way to create some amazing book images. I use it for social media posts, adverts and images for my site. It does cost but in my opinion it’s well worth it.
If you’re tight for cash then there are thousands of royalty free images on sites like Unsplash. You can download these in seconds and give your site a real professional feel.
There are tonnes more free resources out there, so do your research and you’ll find so much to choose from.
6. Great examples of Author Websites
- Mark Dawson – If you’re looking to build your e-mail list then this is the perfect example. His homepage gives you nothing but an option to subscribe. Is it any wonder his subscriber list is in the hundreds of thousands?
- Gretchen Rubin – Gretchen has devoted full pages of her site to resources, quizzes, podcasts and more. The amazing value she offers helps to promote her self-help marketing and fits perfectly with her branding.
- Davis Sedaris – David puts his book front and centre of his site and uses negative space on to make a clear and pleasant viewing experience.
- J.K. Rowling – You can’t have this list without Miss Rowling on it. With her site she’s created an interactive book world where fans can interact on online.
- Judy Moody – This is a fantastic example of a website geared towards kids. Bold colours, playful design and fantastic usability.
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