How To Get All Your Best Info On The First Page Of Your Author Website

Your author website is the online destination for anyone interested in learning more about you and your writing. Typically, you have less than eight seconds to capture your visitors’ attention, so you want to feature as much of your best information as possible on your home page. While you may be tempted to immediately hit your visitors with all the bells and whistles, having multiple visuals, topics, and calls-to-action competing for their attention can backfire. Your viewers will be too distracted and won’t know what to focus on.

The trick is to get all your important promotional efforts in front of your viewer—without creating a busy mess that will make visitors bounce off your website. Here’s how:

Create An All-Inclusive Home Page Without Clutter

Smart design elements: Use an overall design that lets you present your information in a way that’s clean, uncluttered, and easy to navigate. Along with having consistent branding across your entire author platform, choose one color that you’ll consistently use on your website wherever you want visitors to take action. And make sure all links look clickable.

Your name, author info, and contact info: Prominently display your name in the header and introduce yourself with a brief bio to reassure your readers that they’re in the right place. You can even incorporate a headshot so fans will recognize you at events.

Make sure your visitors can easily see how to get in touch with you—but remember to safeguard your privacy. Learn more here.

Current project or book: Mention details about your newest project, or have an image of your latest book with a link that navigates to your book page and “buy now” button.

Testimonials: Showcasing a few testimonials about your book or your writing will help instill trust in your readers and convince them that you are a talented writer with a book worth buying. You don’t have to include paragraphs of praise—one or two key sentences will do the job.

Link to your media/press kit: If you have a media kit or digital press kit, include a link on your home page to boost your marketing efforts.

Social media links: Make it easy for your followers to stay updated about your upcoming events or recent publications. Add buttons for your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts on your home page so people can easily connect and keep up with your latest posts and activities.

Your blog: Websites with blogs typically get more traffic than those without. You can feature the title and opening sentence of the article on your home page with a link to read more on your blog page. But if you’re including a blog on your author website, make sure you consistently post new articles. A blog with old, outdated posts will seem abandoned and actually have a negative effect on visitors.

By following these tips, you’ll create an author website home page that brings attention to all your important information in an easy-to-navigate presentation that your visitors will love coming back to again and again. If you’d like help deciding what design elements look and work best, schedule a free consultation with the experts at Web Design Relief today!

Question: What other information do you think belongs on your author home page?

5 Web Design Trends Writers Should Avoid In 2017

One of the best things about the way technology is continually changing is that it allows writers to be endlessly creative about the ways they interact with readers. But not every new idea is necessarily the best idea. In fact, some of the latest Web design trends that seem like great ideas may actually be too much of a good—or bad—thing.

Here Are The Web Design Trends Most Writers Should Probably Avoid

Building down (and down, and down, and down). Some Web designers are trying a new tactic: Instead of asking visitors to click into a navigation bar, they put their best content on the homepage in a way that forces readers to scroll down…and down…and down—to finally reach a footer with some clickable links and content. Some visitors might not figure out that they need to scroll. And others will feel irritated that they are forced to look at content you’ve chosen for them (for example: a promo for your newest book), instead of content they’re actually looking for (such as other books you’ve written).

Hiding too much of your navigation menu. You may have noticed the “three horizontal bars” icon that Web designers use to indicate the presence of a hidden menu. Hover over it, and voilà! The menu appears. But hiding the wrong things under the three bars icon can obscure your call to action and hurt sales. For example, if your “buy my book” link is in a hidden menu, you might lose sales.

Social media overkill. If you want to, you can import a plug-in from every single social media site that you update so that your website visitors can skim all your latest news on a single page of your site. But that can leave your reader feeling overwhelmed. Like a tourist in Times Square, visitors won’t know which flashing billboard to look at first. Social media integration can be powerful but choose one or two social media feeds for live updates. Then, represent the rest with icons.

Overdoing it with apps. With third-party apps, you can add lots of bells and whistles to your author website. But since these apps are all designed by different people, you may end up trying to integrate apps that don’t play well together—which will affect your site’s functionality. Using multiple apps by different designers will also result in many different style aesthetics, ruining the cohesive look of your website design and your author brand.

Embracing “Bad” Web Design. If you’re an edgy writer who thrives on riling people up, there’s a Web design movement for you. It’s called Web brutalism and, in short, it is an aesthetic that embraces unfriendly, cumbersome design. The philosophy seems to have been hatched in response to the glib, breezy, and friendly websites that most modern Web browsers (the human kind) prefer. For most writers, Web brutalism is a trend to avoid. But we imagine that this kind of creative design would work beautifully to support certain author brands (like counterculture writers who want to shake up the status quo).

Even Bad Design Ideas Can Be Good…In Moderation

The taste buds of human beings are programmed to detect bitterness because it may indicate the presence of something harmful. But not all bitter foods are dangerous: consider coffee, kale, or unsweetened cocoa. This same “taste test” can apply to Web design. “Bad” author website trends shouldn’t necessarily be avoided if you find a way to make good use of them—and variety is the spice of life!

 

Question: What’s your Web design pet peeve?

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Great Author Website Ideas You Can Make Your Own

If you’re ready to launch your first author website—or are thinking about giving your old site a fresh update—start by checking out some well-designed existing author websites for inspiration. In the Web Design Relief portfolio, you’ll find plenty of great ideas all in one convenient location, featuring unbeatable examples of effective headers, eye-catching backgrounds, innovative layout ideas, and more!

Web Design Inspiration You Can “Steal” For Your Author Website

Deciding what to feature on your homepage can be tricky, especially when you’re the author of multiple books and you want to promote more than one of them. Jw Grodt’s homepage showcases four different books, using an image slider and integrates social media with live widgets. With so much dynamic content on the homepage, visitors are instantly greeted with the newest updates and most relevant information.

If you have one project in particular—whether it’s a novel, memoir, collection, or something else—that you want to be the main focus of your website, consider using design elements from your book on your website! The simple, linear design on King Grossman’s homepage, as well as the red and tan color scheme, are both pulled from the cover of his new novel, Letters To Alice. Not only does this give the website a cohesive look, it also ensures that your featured book is the most memorable element on your website. And if you’re an active blogger, be sure your homepage shows your most recent blog posts so visitors have your latest news at their fingertips. Marketing Tip: Use the same design theme on your author website and all your social media to build brand awareness.

Your author website should appeal to your target audience, which is why Tonie Melendez’s website features brightly colored images and links to fun games and activities to attract children and their parents. Setting up the main navigation to function like book chapters gives the website an interactive element that encourages kids to explore the pages and learn more about the author and her books.

If you’d rather have your website focus on you as an author instead of specific book projects, stick with a clean, classic design similar to Howard N. Ellman’s website. You’ll have a professionally designed site that will appeal to readers, editors, and agents who want to know more about you and your writing. And you won’t need to revamp your homepage for every new publication. Sometimes, simplicity really is the best choice!

If your writing tends to evoke a particular sense of place, incorporating images and themes from that location can help bring cohesion to your website, books, and author bio. Max Bayer’s novel takes place in France, so our design experts used Parisian images to give visitors a European feel and connect similar themes across multiple website pages.

Your Author Website Design: Here’s Why It’s So Important

Your author website is the hub of your online identity, so you want to be sure it attracts visitors and works smoothly. If you like what you see here, you can gather inspiration from these great-looking websites to freshen your existing site or create one from scratch.

But why not let us do the tech and design work for you? We can give your current website a makeover or design an original, inspiring new author website that your fans and visitors will come back to again and again. Contact Web Design Relief for a free consultation today!

 

Question: Have you ever taken design inspiration from another website?

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