Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

Think Like An Editor: How To Revise Your Author Website For The Better | Web Design Relief

Being a writer has its advantages, especially when it comes to creating a website. As a writer/editor, you have a keen sense of your own vision, and your instincts can guide you to create a website that supports your larger author brand. Ready to apply your editorial instincts to your author website?

Web Design Relief Presents 6 Questions To Help You Think Like An Editor When Creating Your Author Website

Is your call to action clear and focused? Writers are excellent at persuasive writing—so a good writer can craft an effective call to action for an author website! What’s a call to action? It’s basically the one primary action you want a visitor to take when reading your author website: sign up for an author mailing list, buy a book, etc. With great editing skills, you can create a call to action using subtle persuasion and some smart layout. Learn more about creating a great call to action.

Is the layout effective? Your layout should funnel visitors toward your call to action, so deciding how to organize the content of your website is a lot like deciding how to organize the content of a book. What do you want visitors to see first? The “above the fold” or top part of the homepage of your author website is as important as the first five pages of a manuscript. Here’s how to get your most important info on your website’s first page .

Are the visuals powerful? Your website’s first impression lies in its visuals. Do your images make a powerful, memorable, unique statement? If your talents run more toward the written word than to artwork, be sure to enlist good help—just like you’d hire a freelance editor to help with a manuscript.

Is the copy clean and SEO friendly? SEO (or search engine optimization) is a key component of an effective author website. Being a writer—and understanding how to shape a sentence—is a HUGE advantage when it comes to Web maintenance. Why? Search engines scan the text of websites in order to index them. If your author website doesn’t have your name on it a few times, a search engine might not be able to associate it with you. Learn more about how to edit for SEO copywriting techniques.

Does your author website tell a good story? As a writer, you probably have a good appreciation for the power of story. But are you telling your personal story as powerfully as you could? In a world shaped by social media, who you are can be as persuasive as what you’re writing. Learn more about how to make the most of your personal story through good editing .

Does your author website encourage visitors to have an emotional reaction? Writers are masters of emotions—exploring them, conjuring them, and letting people experience them intimately. Just like a great piece of writing, a great website inspires an emotional reaction via eye-catching visuals, strong text, opportunities for engagement/interaction, and smart layout. Use every tool in your writing arsenal to stir up a bit of emotion in your visitors.

And The Best Thing About Editing An Author Website Is…

As long as your Web developer creates a website that you can easily maintain and edit, your author website offers you the perfect opportunity to let your creativity shine!

 

Question: Which of the elements on our list do you believe is most important to an author website?

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Navigation Menu Options For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

 

What’s the most important feature of your author website design? You may think it’s the home page image, or the email signup form, or even the typeface used throughout the site. While these are all vital to the success of your website, Web Design Relief knows that perhaps the most essential—yet overlooked—element is your navigation menu. The navigation menu of your website shows your visitors how to find the information they’re looking for, so it needs to be easy to find, understand, and use.

 

There are several website navigation styles you can choose from to suit your overall design requirements while still making it clear where to find everything with just a few clicks.

 

Horizontal Menu: Straightforward and reliable, this is the default choice for many web designers. This menu design is typically found at the top of the web page, either below or above a banner. Sometimes the menu and the banner can be side by side.

 

A horizontal menu is usually the best option for websites with a long list of drop-downs and submenus under each category.

 

Vertical Menu: If you want to try something different, you may opt for a vertical menu. The vertical menu has seen a rise in popularity in recent years: Here are WordPress themes that use Vertical Menus. You’ll often find these menus on the left-hand side of a website.

 

A vertical menu is a smart choice for author websites that feature a lot of blog articles. This menu style leaves space in the center of the webpage for a grid-like display of blog posts. You can also use a vertical menu for a website that showcases a portfolio of images. Make sure to keep your menu links short, since the longer they become, the more center space your vertical menu will take up.

 

Fixed-Header Menu: This menu style is perfect for an author website with a lot of information. A fixed-header menu stays at the top of the page—no matter where your visitor scrolls to on the website. Your visitors can easily navigate through your website since the menu follows them and remains accessible wherever they are on your site.

 

Floating Anchor Menu: Websites that want to be extra mobile-friendly or are overly long will benefit from a floating anchor menu, which allows visitors to quickly scroll to the section of the page that the navigation refers to. Anchor menus function in the same way as the fixed-header menu. If your website is one page, this type of navigational menu may be your best option!

 

Icon Menu: Rather than using the typical, spelled-out text menu options, you can shake things up by using icons to represent your navigational links. A visitor looking for a store page would click on an image of a shopping cart; someone interested in contacting you would click on a mailbox image.

 

Bottom-Page Menu: Want to turn visitors on their heads? Try a bottom-page menu! This style is ideal for a website that wants to immediately focus attention on a main image or on a splash page.

 

And once you’ve determined the best look for your author website’s navigation menu, you may want to consider redesigning your website’s footer!

 

Question: Which navigation menu design do you think your visitors would prefer?

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How To Integrate Social Media Into Your Blog (And Vice Versa) | Web Design Relief

Ideally, your author website should be a one-stop shop for all things concerning YOU. If people visit your author website to read your blog and become interested enough to keep following your writing career, they should be able to do so easily. But the more clicks or steps it takes to connect with you on social media, the less likely your visitor is to follow through.

By not integrating social media into your blog, you run the risk of losing potential fans within a few mouse clicks. Here are a few tools to help you integrate social networks into your author website’s blog.

Social Share Buttons

Use social share buttons along the top or sides of your blog and make your content shareable via the social media outlets you prefer. These buttons are quick and easy to use—something visitors to your site will appreciate. And you’ll appreciate the increased visibility!

Check out this special cheat sheet to add social share buttons to your blog.

Integrating Facebook and Twitter

Jetpack, which was developed by the makers of WordPress, is chock-full of useful tools. One of its features is “Publicize,” which will auto-share the title of your post with a link to the content on multiple social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.

In addition to automatically posting content to your social media profiles, you can use Jetpack to add Facebook and Twitter widgets to your site’s sidebar. They’re easy to set up and, most importantly, eye-catching enough to draw visitors seamlessly from your site to your profiles. With these widgets, your blog’s readers can Like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter—all without leaving your site. Read more about how to get visitors to stay on your site.

Note: Jetpack is specifically for author websites built on WordPress. If you’d like to add this functionality to your site manually—or if you don’t use WordPress to power your website—you can try any of the social plug-ins Facebook has to offer, as well as the official Twitter widget.

Integrating Goodreads

Goodreads is an especially helpful social media platform for bloggers with books to promote. If you’d like people to add your book to their Goodreads bookshelves, use the Add to My Books widget from the official Goodreads API. Simply punch in your book’s ID or ISBN number, paste the automatically generated code where you want the widget to appear on your site, and you’re in business!

Want to share the awesome reviews your book has been getting on Goodreads? You can add their Reviews widget to your site as well! Not only will it help show off the good things people have been saying about your book—it just might encourage other readers to chime in with reviews of their own.

TIP: Add these widgets to each of your book pages, as well as the sidebar of your blog. That way, potential readers don’t have to go out of their way to find them.

Integrating Google Plus

Like most social networks, Google+ provides easy-to-use widgets that anyone can add to his or her author website with a little bit of code. G+ badges are a great way to encourage people to add you to their circles, allowing them to connect with you on G+ down the line.

Integrating Instagram

Showcase your Instagram photos on your blog by clicking on the three dots on the bottom right corner of your Instagram photo to retrieve the embed code. Instagram photos can add pizzazz to blog posts and increase your Instagram following as well!

When you integrate your social networks into your blog, you make it easier for readers to stay in touch and plugged into your writing career. That way, you can keep them coming back for more! But remember that social media technology is ever-evolving. The plug-ins and widgets you installed last year may be obsolete today, so test your website’s integration tools regularly. And don’t feel pressured to jump on the latest social media bandwagon without doing some solid research.

 

Question: In what ways have YOU integrated social media into your blog?

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Are People Visiting Your Website And Clicking Like You Want? | Web Design Relief

You just launched your brand-new author website and you’re posting on your blog frequently. Now the question is: How can you know for sure that people are visiting your website—and how can you get more to do so? At Web Design Relief, our designers know all the online tools that will track whether people are… Continue Reading

8 Signs Your Social Media Needs Professional Help | Web Design Relief

In this online-oriented, social media-savvy world, you can be sure literary editors and agents will check out your social media activity. And instead of wandering the library stacks, your next fan may be just a post, tweet, or click away! So how are you coping with the seemingly 24/7 demands of effective social media management?… Continue Reading

Smart Ways To Automate Your Social Media While You’re On Vacation | Web Design Relief

  Your bags are packed, the house is locked up, and your travel itinerary is ready to go. There’s just one problem: Your phone won’t stop beeping from Facebook and Twitter notifications. It’s a reminder that no matter how far you travel, the pressures of social media can follow you anywhere you go. That is,… Continue Reading

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