Every author needs a website, and ideally that should be launched before your book is even in print. Following are some basics that should be considered when planning and designing your website.
Home Page – A brief overview about you and your book. Make it interesting, fun, engaging and different!
About the Author – This should include an interesting bio about you and your qualifications for writing your book(s). Spice it up with some fun photos. Keep it fresh and interesting.
Book – Your book deserves its own page, complete with a synopsis, book cover image and a way for visitors to purchase your book. If you don’t ship books yourself, provide a link to one or more online bookstores. Make it easy for visitors to purchase! And don’t forget to include a link to buy the ebook edition too. Also, consider offering a sample chapter and table of contents in PDF format.
Media – A media page is a great place to showcase any media coverage you have received. Be sure to list all media outlets, including print, radio and television. Also make it easy for media to cover you for a story. Include short and extended bios, plus high resolution, professional photos that can be downloaded by media pros.
Speaker – If you speak about topics related to your book—or if you want to speak—include a speaker page. List your topics along with a description of what is covered. Include testimonials from past engagements and a list of any audiences that you’ve spoken to. It’s also a good idea to include a printable single-page speaker sheet that can be downloaded in PDF format.
Contact – Your contact page should provide a way for visitors to email you directly. Never include your actual email address since spammers can pick it up. Instead, spell it out (author at mywebsite dot com) or better yet, simply include a link (click here to email). Web contact forms are fine, but also include an email link since some prefer that. Also include a phone number and physical mailing address. Never use your home address! Treat your book like a business and invest in a mailbox from The UPS Store or your local post office. If you work with a publicist or assistant, you can also include their contact information here.
Blog – Every author needs a blog. Here is where you can share topics related to your book, quick tips, short stories, excerpts from the book, recipes and anything else your target audience will enjoy. Update your blog at least once each week (more is better). Over time your blog will bring more traffic to your site. It also becomes the heart of your social media efforts. Share new blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sidebar and Navigation – Some elements should be visible across your entire website. Include links to your social media profiles and a sign-up box for your mailing list. If your site is built on WordPress, there are some great plug-ins you can include such as Recent Tweets. You could also feature your book, recent blog posts or announcements.
Photos and Video – If you have photos or videos to share, your website is a great place to showcase them. They can be featured on their own pages, within the existing pages on your site or in your blog. Google loves sites that feature video and other media so this can only assist in helping your site generate more traffic.
Watch for next week’s post! Author Websites: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics Part 1
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit covering websites, blogging and social media for authors. Check it out!