By: Linda Fulkerson
A professional website is the hub of an online presence for writers and authors. Most writers/authors have a website, but I’ve talked with many who aren’t sure what exactly should be included in that site. This post shares a list of items to include in your author/writer website to give the best possible impression about yourself and your writing.
Your author website has several purposes:
(1) It should create a good first impression about you and your writing. You have only a matter of seconds (sometimes not even that long) to show a site visitor what your site is about and how it can help them.
(2) It should contain a collection of information about your and your books. This not only helps provide information for those seeking to learn more about you, it lets the search engines know your intended keywords include your name, your book titles, and your platform topic.
(3) It should be the hub of your online marketing presence. All social media profiles and other online outposts should be directing traffic to your website – not the other way around.
(4) It should provide a means of capturing leads and following up with them in order to convert site visitors into customers.
Elements to include in your author/writer website:
About the Author – This section should include a bio as well as a headshot. You may also want to include your credentials (especially important for nonfiction writers and/or those who speak)
About your Book(s) – If you aren’t yet published, you can include about your writings. For those with books, include a book cover image; back cover copy; perhaps an excerpt (check with your publisher before including an excerpt on your website); a table of contents for nonfiction; about your characters for fiction; why you wrote the book; and, of course, links to where your books may be purchased.
Reviews/Testimonials – This section can list reviews, review excerpts and/or links to online sites with reviews about your work. If you offer services in addition to your writing, then include customer testimonials on your site, too. Include a review/testimonial submission form or link(s) to places online where they can submit a review of your books.
Video Book Trailer – These are very popular and can be shared on social media platforms as well as on your website.
Blog – Your blog should be embedded within your website, not placed on an external site, in order to help drive traffic to your website. This is important because blog posts increase the size of your website (on most platforms, each new post adds an indexed page to your site), and this helps your site gain authority with search engines. Your blog posts should be relevant to what interests your readers. This theme or broad topic that you write/speak/blog about is often called an “author platform.” Paula Mowery wrote a great guest post for this site about developing your author platform. Include compelling images in each blog post.
Social Media Profile Links – These can be displayed in the sidebar, the footer, or in the header of your website. You may also wish to include a Facebook “Like” box or your latest Tweets in the sidebar of your site. This way people can Like your Facebook author page and follow you on Twitter directly from your site.
Mailing List/Newsletter signup form – Following up with your readers is important, and email is a great way to do that. You can give tips to would-be writers, let your readers know what you’re working on, and inform them of any upcoming book releases. There are a number of email services you can use to create this form. If you don’t need an autoresponder, then MailChimp allows you to send up to 12000 emails per month to up to 2000 subscribers for FREE!
Awards – Include a section of your site that lists your awards and any awards your books and/or writing have won.
Works in Progress – Many readers are interested in what their favorite authors have in the works. List your upcoming book release dates along with book cover images and back cover copy as well as descriptions of other works you have in progress.
Contact Information – If you’re not comfortable using your physical address, use a PO Box or your publisher’s address for snail mail. Or simply include a business email address. Some websites include a contact form, but those forms are prone to spam almost as much as email. Spam is just a part of doing business online, so no matter which contact method you choose to put on your site, be aware that you will likely have to delete spam contacts or emails. Even though spam is an annoyance, it’s still important to have a means for real readers to contact you.
Events/Book Signings/Speaking Engagements – You can include an event calendar or simply list your upcoming events. Provide directions and times if your events (such as book signings) are open to the public. If an event requires registration to attend, such as a conference, include a way for readers to register or at least a link to the host of the event.
Speaking Topics – Many writers speak. If you’re one of those who speak, include a list of your topics and a way for event planners to contact you about speaking.
Products/Services – Many authors and writers offer writing-related services. If you offer other products and/or services in addition to your books, include information about that on your site.
Articles – Include articles about your platform topic. Creating optimized content can help boost your authority in search engines, which will help those searching for books and/or a speaker about your topic.
Freebies – People love free stuff. Have some fun and relevant give-aways available on your site.
FAQ (for nonfiction) and/or Reader Discussion Questions (for fiction and nonfiction) – Include some questions and answers on your website to offer more value to site visitors and to help position yourself as an authority on your platform topic.
Online Media Kit – I recently wrote a guest post for Ane Mulligan that gave tips on how to develop an author media kit.
Finally, make sure your site is easy to backup, easy to optimize for search, that it is in compliance with federal regulations for commercial websites, that it includes items suggested by Google to ensure its success with search engines, and make sure your author website is mobile responsive.
Have I forgotten anything?
What other items should be included in an author/writer website? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
If you’re unsure about how to do all this, then sign up for our email training using the signup form in the sidebar. You’ll get a FREE instant download – 102 Ways to Market Your Stuff, plus you’ll learn how to develop an author web presence via follow-up email training.