Ask the Publisher: The Essential Author Website
Now that you know you need an author website, let's talk content.
There are four pages that are necessary for an essential author website:
Home, About, Books, and Contact
Before we get into the key components of each page, a few general comments:
As we discussed in my last post, a clean organized design, visually appealing without being distracting, is your best friend.
Keep your navigation simple and avoid fancy page tabs. Have your page tabs or menus clear and concise e.g. “Home, About, Books, and Contact”.
Avoid clutter and make your books and your social media easy to find.
(Note: Web design trends change all time time. There's more than one way to set up your website, but simplicity and user friendliness are always good ideas. We'll discuss more in the future)
Now for the detail.
Here is the Essential Website Checklist:
Home page (also known as your landing page)
An author (professional if possible) headshot – Top banner or top left corner with a short bio. PRO TIP: Use the same head shot throughout your public pages—Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Page etc.
Book placement—Have your newest book front and centre. Feature the cover, a brief blurb, and prominent links to purchase.
Email sign-up button—Make this prominent. The top right corner is ideal or even stretched across the page under your banner. Remember to focus on WIIFM (That's "what’s in it for me?" The question users want answered before they give you their information). Consider offering a download of a few chapters of your book (if it’s your first book). If you have a number of books out already, consider offering a download of a free copy of your first book.
Social media links and the link to your ‘Contact’ page should be placed toward the bottom. You want people to know how to find you but not distract from your other content.
The copyright notice and legal disclaimer—keep these small and in the footer to their own pages.
A warm note to visitors. Your “About” page needs to have a welcoming feel, after all.
The same headshot you used on the home page front and centre.
Your bio. This is a place for visitors to get to know you, so share as much of your personal story as feels comfortable.
Another Email sign-up button.
If you have more than one book:
Book covers front and centre. This is where you can add snippets of reviews and praise for your book. Feature your newest book most prominently. If you have an extensive backlist, consider using thumbnails for those.
Each book cover should include the following:
Link to buy the book.
An Email sign-up box–again prominently displayed.
If this is your first book:
Blurbs and testimonials
Links to buy or pre-order the book
Email sign-up box.
A contact form—this will automatically send an email to the linked address, saving the writer a step and keeps your email private, if that’s what you want.
A mailing address—if you have an office or a P.O. box, this is a nice touch. There are still people who like to mail things and there is a real thrill in getting a handwritten letter from a fan!
All of your social media links – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and so on—where ever you are active to make it as easy to connect with you/follow you as possible.
And last, but not least, don’t forget the Email sign-up form!
And you’re done. An effective and efficient website that is a core component of building your author brand and selling your books.