6 Ways To Use Your Author Website As A Networking Tool | Web Design Relief

You made the right decision and created an author website. Excellent! Now when readers, editors, or literary agents google you, your author website will act as your online business card. But the experts at Web Design Relief have a warning: Don’t let your author website just sit there like a static, online poster with your name and headshot. Savvy writers use their author websites as powerful networking tools to elevate their author platform.

Unlike writers’ conferences or conventions that happen only a few times a year, an author website can help you build professional connections anytime, anywhere. Check out these easy-to-implement ways to boost your author website’s networking capabilities.

Turn Your Author Website Into A Networking Machine

Social media integration is a simple way to turn your website into a networking tool, especially if frequently updating your website seems like a daunting task. When you put social media icons or widgets in a prime location on your website (like your header or sidebar), you can connect readers and book buyers to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., where you can post effective marketing calls to action. Need new ideas to post on your social media accounts? Here is how to break the dry spell.

Contact forms are a must-have on any professional website, but especially for writers. Fans, readers, book buyers, agents, editors, publishers—they all may want to reach out to you! And you want to make it easy for them to do so while still keeping yourself safe online. Listing your personal email address on your website puts you at the mercy of trolls and hackers. A contact form gives you an extra layer of protection while still allowing visitors to message you privately about your writing.

Website hyperlinks are a powerful way to network. By simply placing a hyperlink to your author website beneath your signature on your emails, you make it easy for others to visit your site with just one click. This can be especially helpful when you are connecting with literary agents online, so they can have direct access and learn more about your writing.

A mailing list is a great way to build long-lasting connections with your audience. Social media platforms don’t belong to you, and you’re at the whim of ever-changing algorithms. But a mailing list gives you a captive audience and lets you keep in touch with fans and followers so that they never miss an announcement, update, or new release.

Build a blog and post often. When you regularly post to your website blog, it gives visitors a reason to keep coming back. You’re a writer—this should be second nature! Write creative, compelling blog posts and interact with readers via comments so that your website becomes a lively resource for fans and the writing community in general (which includes those always-important editors and agents). Want to double up on your networking power? Share your blog posts on your social media pages to draw more people to your author website!

LinkedIn has become the apex platform for professionals on social media. While other platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a personal touch, your LinkedIn account is all about your career as a writer and networking. You should have a dedicated icon on your author website for your LinkedIn account so you can connect with people who can help further your career. Find out how else authors can utilize LinkedIn.

Your author website shouldn’t sit there like a forgotten business card stuffed in your pocket. Use its technical capabilities to make faster, smarter, better connections and take your networking power to the next level. And if you’d like more tips on how to build a professional author platform, learn more here.

 

Question: Which way do you prefer to network with your fans and publishing industry insiders?

Author Website Must-Haves When You’re On A Budget| Web Design Relief

Unless you’re George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling, you—like most writers—will have to invest in some self-promotion to increase your readership. And the hub of your promotional activity should be your author website. But when you don’t have the big marketing budget of a bestselling author, an author website can be a sizable expense.

Not to worry. At Web Design Relief, we specialize in creating affordable, attractive, and functional author websites. We know which website elements are must-haves when you’re building an author website on a budget.

Design Elements Your Author Website Can’t Do Without

Domain and Web Hosting: Both a domain and a web host are crucial when building a website—after all, your website can’t run without them! A domain is your website’s name and how visitors will find you with an Internet search. Hosting refers to the company providing server space and connection to the Internet. This is where your site “lives” on the World Wide Web.

Safety Protocols: Cybersecurity is another must-have in order to keep your site, yourself, and your web visitors safe from online threats like viruses and spam. It’s worth the money (and you’ll sleep better at night) to use a dedicated hosting service that will run routine software and security updates on your site—something you can count on with Web Design Relief’s hosting service. You can also install security plugins to run scans on your site for malware and CAPTCHA-secure all areas where visitors can input information, like a contact form.

Informational Pages: Pages for your author biography, publication history, and contact form are essential because they serve as the real meat of your website. An author website is meant to act as a modern version of a business card and serve as a networking tool to further your writing career. This is where editors, agents, and your readers can learn all about you and gain insight into your previous publications. A contact form also gives visitors an easy way to get in touch with you about a question, a compliment, or even an opportunity!

Mailing List: You might be thinking: What do I need a mailing list for? But our marketing experts urge you to never underestimate the power of old-fashioned email lists. Sending promotional emails for your book projects and other writing can more effectively engage your audience than pricey social media advertisements. And while social media accounts are fleeting (think Myspace), email and mailing lists are a form of communication between you and your followers that isn’t going away any time soon.

Buy Now Buttons: Interactive buttons that lead visitors directly to the retailers offering your books and merchandise make it easy for visitors to purchase your content, transforming your website into a book-selling machine. And buy now buttons also add a layer of professional polish to your website.

INSIDER TECH TIP: There is a simple trick that achieves the same results without the extra cost of buttons. Simply include hyperlinks that lead to the various retailers, effectively acting as a button without the razzle-dazzle.

Social Media Integration: Having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other icons on your website lets visitors easily network with you on your social media platforms. You can even feature live feeds of your social media content so that posts reach a bigger audience. There are many ways to incorporate social media on your website.

INSIDER TECH TIP: High-tech social media integration not in your budget? Consider placing posts on your website that direct visitors to your social media accounts via a hyperlink or good old-fashioned instructions on how to search for you (Follow me on Twitter at @myauthorname!). Or work in reverse! Add links to your website in the “About” section of your social media account for a free and effective way to link your audience with your website.

When it comes to building a professional author website, it’s important to know the best elements to spend your money on—and to build a great foundation without busting your budget.

 

Question: What do you consider the most important must-have element of an author website?

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