In today’s digital age, your author website is a crucial component of your brand, acting as a virtual gateway for readers to explore your world. It’s not only a gateway to you, the author, but it’s also one of the best book marketing tools in your toolkit to becoming a successful author.
So let’s dig into 10 essential tips that will ensure your website is not just a static page but a dynamic hub that captivates and engages your readers!
Keep It Simple and Uncluttered
It’s in our nature as authors to want to shout to the world about everything that we do, and have written, and while that’s great, it may not all belong on your website homepage. A successful author website should not be a crowded marketplace. Your homepage should have a limited number of words (250) and lots of imagery. Remember that the mind is an image processor, not a word processor, so well-placed images on your home page can help to drive engagement and conversion.
Colors and Themes Matter
Your website is an extension of your brand, book covers, and the overall theme of your work. Successful authors choose colors and themes that resonate with their target audience. In short: everything looks very well planned out and strategic. Consistency across your online presence reinforces your author brand.
Craft a Compelling Call to Action on your Homepage
Your homepage should do only one thing. And whatever that “thing” is will depend on what your goals are for your website.
Let’s say that you wrote a nonfiction book and you want to get more speaking, that’s your #1 goal. Then your homepage should reflect that, maybe even with a short snippet video of you speaking and a link to “learn more” about how someone can hire you for their event. Sure, you want to sell books, but in this case, your book becomes secondary.
Conversely, if you’re a fiction author, it’s likely your #1 goal is to sell books from your website, right? But here’s the thing: it’s hard to get new readers to buy from someone they just met or don’t even know. So instead of lots of “buy my book” verbiage on your homepage, maybe you want to get them into your newsletter funnel. We’ll dig more into the power of a newsletter, but it’s a great way to stay in front of your readers.
The point is, your homepage is a great place to kick off the conversation.
You just have to decide what your conversation starter will be.
Build Your Tribe with Newsletter Sign-Ups and a Loss Leader
A newsletter is a must for any successful author.
And I get that a newsletter sounds like a lot of work – the first question I often get is, “What will I say to readers?” Remember, a newsletter isn’t a diary, it’s marketing. In the previous point, I mentioned how hard it is to sell books off of your website, making a “cold” sale is tough, especially with trusted sites like Amazon where so many people have accounts. But you can build trust by communicating with your reader via your newsletter.
Next up consider what your “loss leader” should be – also referred to as an ethical bribe. Offer an irresistible incentive for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. This “loss leader” could be a free short story, exclusive content, or early access to your next book. Building a mailing list is a powerful way to keep your readers engaged and informed.
Optimizing Your About the Author Page
Share your journey, passion, and personality on the “About the Author” page. Readers love connecting with the person behind the pen. Make it personal and let your authenticity shine through. What makes you, you? Why did you write this book? What do you hope readers will glean from your writing? Make it a winning combination of getting to know you, while also building trust and interest in your brand.
Create an Easily Accessible Contact Page
Successful authors understand how important the reader connection is. Make it effortless for readers, publishers, or event organizers to get in touch with you. An accessible contact page with a simple form can open doors to collaborations and new opportunities. Here’s something that I always find ironic: whenever I do website evaluations, I always find that the contact page is either forgotten completely or totally out of date. So if you’ve had your website for a while, make sure your page is up to professional standards.
Showcase Your Success with a Media Page
Create a dedicated space to showcase your media coverage, interviews, and any accolades you’ve received. This builds credibility and allows visitors to see the broader impact of your work. Link to all the coverage you’ve earned. Screenshot influencer posts and link to them whenever you can. Remember media likes media, they want a sure thing, so the more you can showcase, the more opportunities you’ll continue to get.
Highlight Review Excerpts
People like what other people like, so featuring snippets from positive reviews should be prominently displayed on your website. Successful authors have what is called “social proof” going for them. And social proof can help influence potential buyers.
Don’t Promote What’s Not Impressive
Maybe this sounds obvious, but I encourage you to schedule regular reviews of your website, at least once quarterly, and pull anything that doesn’t shine a favorable light on you and your work.
Start with your contact page, as I mentioned earlier, and then check all your social buttons. If you’ve abandoned a site recently, or have stopped posting somewhere, don’t showcase that. Successful authors understand that quality over quantity is key. So perhaps they’re just on one social site – which is smart.
Regularly Check and Update Your Website
An outdated website can turn away potential readers. Regularly review and update your content, ensuring that your latest books, events, and achievements are prominently displayed. A dynamic and current website reflects an active and engaged author. Also, check your website for typos, and get rid of things like “upcoming release” for a book that’s already been out for a year (I see that a lot, actually).
Finally, your website will grow as your career grows and not everything has to be launched on day one. Make sure you have the basics, and then add on to the site as your career grows. For example, maybe you want to have a “secret” page with special content for super fans, it’s a great idea, but not necessarily something that you need when you first launch. Plan out your updates so that you can get your site live and ready for traffic. And speaking of traffic, add a small bit of code to the backend of your site from Google Analytics to make sure that you’re keeping track of your website traffic. If you’re working with a website person they should do this for you, and if you’re managing everything on your own it’s worth educating yourself on basic SEO standards to ensure all your hard work gets recognized by Google.
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