Whether you’re a traditionally or self-published author, your author website should be a brilliantly designed online magnet for your specific audience, providing updates on new releases, promotions, and events. A great author website is your virtual showcase in the online world.
Self-published authors, however, have a few unique requirements when it comes to successful web design. Even the most vibrant and well-designed websites won’t be effective for self-published writers unless they get a constant stream of traffic.
Web Design Relief explains the five most important design tips for authors who have self-published books:
Integrate Social Proof Into Your Author Website
“Social Proof” is defined as looking to others for cues about what action to take. And without the backing of a publishing house’s marketing department to put their books into the hands of industry influencers, self-published authors must build social proof about the quality of their books on their own.
Whether asking for reviews from respected book bloggers or requesting a blurb from a best-selling author, gathering those quotes is the first step. Next is placing the quotes and reviews front and center on your website landing page so that interested book lovers will immediately see that your work is vetted and respected.
Integrate Social Media Into Your Website Design
Social media is a great way to drive traffic to a website, but in self-publishing, driving traffic in the other direction is just as important. Without the backing of a Big Five or small publisher, self-published authors need all the social amplification they can get.
Include social media links on every page of your site to encourage potential fans to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. Also, check out how to embed your Facebook feed, your Twitter feed, your Tumblr blog, or a Pinterest board in your website.
If you also keep a blog, check out WordPress’s Social Floating Sidebar, which keeps a line of clickable social media icons in view as fans scroll through your post, increasing the possibility that they’ll share your message with their own followers.
Sell Direct From Your Website
As a self-published author, you have the option of selling your print book straight from your writer website. In prior years, most writers avoided this option because of the domestic and international sales tax complications.
Fortunately, several services have sprung up that take care of all those messy details while taking a small cut (usually about 5% of the retail price) of each purchase. Check out how to integrate Gumroad, Payhip, or Selz into your web design.
If you’re not selling books directly from your website, then your customers will have to link out to a vendor site to make a purchase. This is wonderful—you want them to buy your book!—but don’t bounce them off your website in the process.
To keep visitors who want to buy a book connected to your website, make sure all the links to buy your books are coded so that a click will open the vendor site on a separate tab.
Pop-Up To Sign Up
Building a mailing list of dedicated fans is crucial for the financial success of a self-published author. With a mailing list, you can contact all your fans at any time. You won’t have to worry about social media’s twitchy algorithms that either limit how many followers you can reach or only offer a short window of time in which to reach them.
As annoying as they might seem, pop-up sign-up forms have been proven to bring in 30% (or more) newsletter subscribers than static ones. Improve that statistic by applying these best practices to your web design:
- Delay the pop-up until the viewer has been on the site for one to two minutes.
- Limit the number of fields that need to be filled out.
- Make sure the pop-up only shows once per visit.
- Make it easy for the viewer to exit the pop-up.
Incorporating these essential elements into your author website will help boost your book sales and keep your fans and followers coming back for more!
Question: As a self-published author, on which of these vendors do you sell your books: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Scribd, Tolino, Inktera, or others?