Category Archives: Author Website Design

Design The Story Of Your Author Website: Beginning, Middle, End | Web Design Relief

 

An author website is the best long-term investment you can make for your writing career—it’s an online hub where readers can get to know you, buy your book, and engage with you. At Web Design Relief, we know your author website is where literary agents and press can access your credentials and see more of your writing. And it’s entirely yours to design as you wish!

You might be thinking, I’m a writer, not a tech-savvy website designer! But your creative writing skills can also help you create the perfect author website.

How To Write The Story Of Your Author Website

The Beginning:

Stories often are born from daydreams and musings, so take plenty of time to daydream about your website’s story, its “genre,” what you want it to convey. Will it be dark and serious like your gothic novels? Or light and breezy for your beach novels? Modern, romantic, or classically simple? (A dream board might help!)

Now that you have a vision, create an outline of your author website, just as you would a novel or short story. Elements might include a home page, a biography, a blog, writing excerpts, links to journals that have published your poems or short stories, links to social media, a way to purchase your book, news and events, and a press materials page.

Do a little research and visit other author websites to see what works, what doesn’t, and what appeals to you most strongly. Dig a little deeper and learn the best way to choose a domain name  and what new features and apps are out there. The more knowledgeable you are about the process, the easier it will be to set some concrete goals. Armed with a detailed outline, you can lay out a to-do list (with deadlines!) and get started.

The Middle:

While it may not be fair, the truth is that a sloppy, unappealing author website screams out to visitors that your writing is probably sloppy and unappealing too. (Read more about how to make a great first impression.) So whether you plan to create your own author website, start to finish, or rely on experts to design (and maintain) it for you, it’s key to reach out to the right people to help you design an easy-to-navigate site that truly reflects your professional, creative side.

And just as you would diligently edit and proof your creative writing before sending it out into the world, each element of your author website should be checked and double-checked before the site goes live. Make sure trusted friends and colleagues have tested it, and listen to their feedback. Is the site hard to use? Frustrating or annoying in any way? You’ll want to fix these problems before the Big Launch.

The End:

Brand-new restaurants often hold “soft” openings, when they open the doors but do no promotion. It’s a slow start that allows you time to test , make adjustments, and discover weak areas before the big opening. When your writer website goes live, you’ll have the same benefits of a soft opening—this is your chance to test and tweak. You can slowly let people know about the new site and have a “grand opening” later, when you feel everything’s perfect.

Anxious to get started? Skip the soft opening and make your author website launch a Virtual Event! Use social media to generate excitement, or hold a real-life party with friends, family, and other writers.

Whatever approach you choose, launching your new author website is a big step toward building your author brand. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

To ensure that the story of your website has a great “happily ever after” ending, Web Design Relief can help design, create, and maintain the best author website for you. Learn more: What’s Your Story? Tell It On Your Author Platform!

 

Question: Did you design your own author website? What was the hardest part?

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The 5 Essential Pages You Need On Your Author Website—Decoded | Web Design Relief

An author website is a central hub for your books and your writing. Here, you’ll reinforce your brand, encourage sales, offer exclusive content, make major announcements, interact with your fans, and build your audience. The tech experts at Web Design Relief know that designing such an important centerpiece can be intimidating. Yet with just five essential pages, you can achieve all those goals.

The 5 Pages Every Author Website Needs

Inviting Homepage

When potential fans find their way to your website, the homepage is what they see first. Although you might be tempted to jam-pack it with as much information as possible, a clean, uncluttered, smartly directed homepage works best.

A well-designed homepage will:

Informative Author Page

Readers adore inside information about the authors whose books they love. The “About Me” or author page is an opportunity for a writer to show some personality. Rather than posting a dry bio, consider these options:

  • Include a Q&A where the interviewer is one of your characters.
  • Post candid photos that reveal your hobbies, travels, garden, artwork, or pets.
  • If you’re comfortable with being filmed, include a video introducing yourself and your books.
  • Tell your life story—or how your interest in writing began—in funny, moving, or otherwise enthralling anecdotes.
  • Encourage engagement by including a Call To Action to join your mailing list, engage with you on social media, or subscribe to your blog.
  • List upcoming public events.

Your Publications List

How you design this page (or these pages) depends on how many books you have written or how many publication credits you have.

For an author with only a few publications or books, a single page may be all that’s needed. For a book author with a series, or multiple series, a page that lists the books in order and delineates any links between them is an absolute necessity. Very prolific authors may want to design a page with a full book list that has clickable links to send readers to specific pages for more information.

For books, be sure to include:

Contact Page

When a reader selects this page, she or he wants to send you a message. A contact page should provide a form that is linked to your author email address, so that any questions come directly to you without your visitor having to leave the webpage.

A contact page also serves as another opportunity to remind readers of all the ways they can connect with you:

  • Delineate the perks of joining your mailing list
  • Reveal what you do that’s special on social media (Do you live-Tweet The Walking Dead? Do monthly contests or giveaways on your Facebook page?)
  • Encourage them to subscribe to your blog to receive breaking news

Your Blog

A website can function perfectly well without a blog. But if you’re an effective blogger, an active blog can raise your website’s SEO, your profile, and attract more subscribers. For those authors who contemplate blogging with a weary sigh, consider easing the pressure by using your website blog page just for cover reveals, book launch announcements, holiday greetings, or even a travelogue.

Effective website design combines technical proficiency with an artist’s eye—so, unfortunately, there are plenty of ways that amateur website design can go terribly wrong. Authors can limit mistakes by thinking long and hard about branding, determining exactly what you want the website to do, and hiring a professional designer whose work you’ve researched and admired.

 

Question: When you visit an author’s website, what do you usually look for? A list of books? The latest news? A blog post? Details about the author?

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6 Web Design No-Nos For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

At Web Design Relief, we can’t stress this enough: Your author website is your online business card—your online identity for your fans and potential readers. Do you want it to be uniquely “you” and show your personality? Yes. Does that mean you should fill each nook and cranny with colors, special effects, and every thought that comes into your head? No.

6 No-Nos When Designing Your Author Website

Unreadable Fonts

Using overly ornate, stylized, or curlicued fonts—especially for the body text—is a definite no-no. Visitors must be able to read what you write. Be sure your font size isn’t too small to be easily legible: 12-point font is a good standard size, but you can also go bigger. Here’s how to find the right font style for your author website.

Invisible Links

Visitors to your author website should be able to easily identify what’s clickable and what isn’t. Make sure that your links are a contrasting color.

Bad Color Combinations

Maybe your favorite colors are lime green and bright yellow. Hey, to each his (or her) own. Just don’t put your green type on a yellow background: it’s one of the most disliked color combinations for a website. And too much bright, vivid color is going to give your visitors headaches and send them running from your site and toward the nearest bottle of aspirin. Another bad choice: putting light-colored items on a light background, or dark on dark.

Big Blocks Of Text

Visitors met with a wall of unending text are NOT going to read it—no matter how intriguing or interesting the topic.

To keep your readers’ attention, offer visual breaks. Bulleted text, subheads, and separate paragraphs will allow visitors to absorb your writing in easy-to-focus-on sections.

If you have a one-page website, include a floating navigation bar with each navigational menu item anchored to a section of the page. This way, when visitors want to move between different sections, you’ve given them the tools to do so. Here are other ways to incorporate user-friendly navigation menu options into your website.

Spelling And Grammar Errors

The quality of your website will be judged by the content and how well it’s presented. You may have the most aesthetically pleasing website on the Internet, but if your visitors feel you’re publishing posts without first proofreading for typos and grammar mistakes, the overall opinion of your site—and your writing—will suffer for it.

Bland Calls To Action

Want to build sales of your new book? Of course you do! Make sure you use a button color that is bright enough to draw attention, but still complementary to your website’s color scheme.

 

QUESTION: What web design no-nos have you seen? Tell us!

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Our 5 Favorite Plugins For Your WordPress Author Website | Web Design Relief

When you’re ready to create your author website, WordPress themes offer a lot of flexibility. But the core software can definitely benefit from adding some useful plugins. And there are plenty to choose from! The WordPress Plugin Directory features almost 40,000 options—and that’s not including the paid-for products available outside the directory. So how do… Continue Reading

Your Author Website Vs. Your Social Media Profiles | Web Design Relief

It’s a question many writers ask: how to best use the time spent supporting an online presence. Should you focus on your author website, or spend your precious free time posting on social media? Web Design Relief has the answers you need. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have their unique advantages… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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