Author Websites: A Basic Guide To A Successful Writer Site

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If you’re a creative writer looking to go pro, you need a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. One of the greatest ways to do that is to get an author website. Fortunately for you, we know the publishing industry and we know great design. Whether you wish to create your own or use our new Web Design Relief service, we’re here to help you!

Some Author Website Tips:

Choose a domain name.
There are two options for your URL: your name or your book’s name. In terms of Search Engine Optimization, it’s not a bad idea to have both and make them link to one another. For BOOK branding, choose your book’s title as your URL. But for a long-lasting, career-centric AUTHOR branding website, try to choose your own name or your pen name, unless it’s already been taken or is very difficult to spell or pronounce.

Keep your layout simple.
Avoid lots of distracting advertisements. Shirk overblown color schemes that don’t work. Use pictures and great visuals (readers love them), but know when to stop. Everything in moderation.

Keep your text concise.
Make your text easy to read (that means no white text on black backgrounds). Avoid long, long pages that require lots of scrolling. If you feel you have too much to say for a single page, create other pages. Generally, readers like to navigate from one page to another more than they like to scroll down for eons. Keep it simple and clean.

Speaking of keeping it clean…
Don’t go crazy with the fonts and background colors. Remember your kindergarten rhymes: Pick (a font) and stick (with it). Use something classy and sophisticated. No Shotgun or Jokerman, unless maybe you’re promoting colorful picture books for children. (Actually, the kids will probably roll their eyes at Jokerman too.) Go ahead and use a nice, large, prominent font for displaying your name at the top of the page though. Being shy won’t help readers remember your name.

Learn more about How To Build Your Reputation As A Writer.

The Anatomy Of An Author Website

Homepage.
Your homepage can be a particularly intimidating part of creating your website. So we’ve written a separate post to help you decide how to hand your author homepage: 5 Ways To Organize Your Homepage.

Samples of your work.
Post excerpts from your work as text. Or, better yet, post links to the FULL texts of your publications in online literary journals and magazines.

TIP: Achtung! Many literary agents and editors have policies about writing that has been posted online. Before you post, be sure to know What Is Considered Previously Published Writing.

Services page.
Do you give motivational speeches? Organize workshops? Provide editing or mentoring? Are you a professional proofreader? List any other services you provide.

Blog or journal entries.
As a writer, you’ve undoubtedly got a lot to say. Keep your blog content fresh, and use your casual voice. Making your readers laugh and cry will get them to identify with you.

Testimonials.
Don’t hesitate to fill a whole page with glowing praise about your work. We’ve done it ourselves! Take a look: Writer’s Relief testimonials.

Media kit.
If members of the press wish to contact you, make it easy for them. Use this page to display your contact information (again), your agent or publicist’s contact information if you have one, and downloadable photographs, press releases, and links to interesting news.

Going Beyond The Basics.
Keep your audience in mind when designing your site. Instead of creating a sales site (Buy now! You won’t regret it!), let your personality shine through, and hook your readers with what makes you and your work unique.

Give readers something to take away from your site. For example, you can share some of the publishing pitfalls you’ve run into and how you dealt with them. Offer links to sites that have helped you with grammar or finding a literary agent or that inspired you on days when the muse flew the coop or the rejection letters overwhelmed you.

Above all, have fun with your official author website. Your readers will notice!

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