Category Archives: Author Website Design

The Surprising Things You Need To Know To Launch Your First Author Website | Web Design Relief

Creating an author website might initially strike you as a pretty straightforward process: 1) Find an author Web design company, 2) fork over some money, 3) get your website. But there are a few “hidden” facts about the specialized website design elements required for an author website that you should definitely keep in mind before you sign with a Web design company.

Web Design Relief Reveals The Unexpected Things You MUST Know Before Launching Your Author Website

There’s a difference between an artist and a Web designer. While many website designers do have an artistic eye and lots of talent, they are not always artists who create artwork from scratch. Website designers can create beautiful websites for you using existing stock artwork, but they won’t necessarily create that artwork for you. Help your Web designer help you by having a clear idea of your artistic preferences.

Web hosting costs extra. Most writers expect to pay for the creation of a website. But some are surprised when they discover that they also have to pay for that website to actually appear on the Internet. For your website to exist, the data has to be stored somewhere—and that storage is provided by a Web host. Learn more about how to make sure you have a great Web host for your author website.

You might have to regularly update your website. Websites that are built using popular CMS (content management system) interfaces often need regular updates—not just to text and pictures, but to the hidden structure that makes a website possible. These updates keep you (and your visitors) safe from malware and viruses, and also ensure that your website doesn’t “break” as Internet protocols change.

The tricky part is that, occasionally, installing the necessary updates to your website can cause it to malfunction (or even totally crash). Unless you’re comfortable taking a DIY approach to Web fixes, it’s important to connect with a Web host that will manage your updates and create regular backups for your website.

It can be dangerous to post your creative writing on your website for all to see if it’s unpublished. While excerpts of poems, books, stories, and essays are generally safe to share on an author website, posting full versions may hinder your ability to find a publisher later on. Learn more about the issue by reading this detailed article: What Is Considered Previously Published Writing?

Make Sure You’ve Taken All The Right Steps Before Launching Your Author Website

You could spend ages becoming an expert on the subtleties of creating an effective author website. OR you could reach out and work with people who are already experts. The team of website designers here at Web Design Relief work specifically with creative writers. With close ties to our sister company Writer’s Relief, we combine technical know-how with effective marketing and publishing strategies. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you!

 

Question: Our team is standing by to answer your questions about creating an author website. Feel free to share your thoughts in our comments section!

 

Pull Up A Chair: How To Get Author Website Visitors To Stay Awhile | Web Design Relief

Since your author website functions as the hub of your marketing activity, it’s important to focus on branding, design, SEO, and content to improve the website’s visibility and discoverability. Yet, Web Design Relief knows the average bounce rate for an author website is about 56%. That means more than half the visitors who check out your landing page are likely to leave quickly, never getting deep enough into the website to see all you have to offer. So what can you do to get more visitors to stay longer?

How To Ensure Visitors Spend More Time On Your Author Website

Remove Barriers To Frustration

The world is fast-paced and full of distractions, so the smallest irritations can cause a potential visitor to leave. The first step to improving bounce rate is to remove the following common impediments in website design:

  • Auto-activated videos, music, and especially ads
  • Cluttered, chaotic design or excessively minimalist design that causes confusion in navigation
  • Non-mobile responsiveness. Mobile web browsing became more common than desktop browsing in 2016
  • Hard-to-read fonts or text colors that don’t pop against the background
  • A lack of bold headers that clearly identify the author website
  • Big blocks of indigestible text, or multiple blocks of text—the landing page shouldn’t be an info dump!
  • A lack of an enticing call-to-action

Offer Gifts

You may have several goals for your website: build a mailing list, increase the audience for your blog, grow your social media following, and sell your next book. But presenting visitors with a hard sell right on the landing page is a sure way to increase bounce rates.

Draw visitors deeper into your website by offering them, in a clear call to action, something they might want, such as:

  • An exclusive cover reveal for your next book
  • An exclusive first chapter of an upcoming book
  • Gossipy news about a future project
  • An invitation to a contest offering free backlist books or other reader-related gifts
  • A free book for anyone who joins your newsletter or blog subscription list
  • An invitation to peek “behind the scenes” by directing visitors to your blog, bio, or a specific book page

Make An Emotional Connection

Now that you’ve shown generosity to your guests, your job as a writer is to tell them a story that makes an emotional connection. There are many ways you can craft the visuals and text on your website so that potential fans feel like they’re really getting to know you:

  • Add casual, slice-of-life photos to your “About The Author” page to give potential fans a glimpse into what you love and what is important to you
  • Make eye contact: Make sure your author photo looks straight out at the reader
  • Craft your bio like a personal essay, using storytelling techniques to draw the reader into your world
  • Speak to the reader directly with a “Dear Reader” letter on the landing page, news & events page, and/or the contact page
  • Use your blog to open up honestly to your blog subscribers, offering them a glimpse of the person behind the books (without “TMI”!)

Encouraging visitors to navigate through the pages of your website is a great way to turn guests into fans. To lure them back, make sure to follow up with those who sign up for your newsletter with a drip email campaign, and send notices out to those who subscribe to your blog whenever you have a new posting.

 

Question: What is the primary reason you go to an author website? Read the latest blog article? Get a list of books? See what’s new? Learn more about the author?

Use Your Author Website To Make Readers Care About You As A Writer | Web Design Relief

As a writer, your job is to create a narrative that hooks the reader, raises curiosity, elicits empathy, and leaves the reader satisfied. But have you ever considered how these fundamentals of storytelling can be harnessed to improve your author website?

Web Design Relief outlines the simple steps to create a website that will make readers, editors, and agents care about you as a writer:

Burnish Your Author Bio

Your “About The Author” page should be much more than a dry listing of books, birthplace, and accolades. Toss out those marketing checklists of what to include, along with any sentence that begins “I have been writing since I was (age).” To share your story, write your author bio like a personal essay. Here are ways to draw your readers in and make them curious about you:

  • Relate the story of the first moment you realized you wanted to be a writer so that the wonder feels as real to the reader as it did to you.
  • Explain the core message you wish to express through your fiction or nonfiction, and why, when, and how this theme became important to you.
  • Share the other joyous things that fill your world, such as hobbies, family, pets, or your love of travel or community, if they relate to your writing.
  • Include two kinds of bios by starting with a personal story and then ending with a “back-of-the-book” author bio that includes career highlights.

Highlight Your Headshot

Putting a face to a name deepens the personal connection, so including a headshot on your website is a marketing must. Deciding what kind of publicity photo depends on your brand and your writing. Do you write dark suspense or horror? You may want a more shadowy shot with a subdued smile. Do you write romantic comedy? A laughing shot in the bright outdoors may be just the thing. A nonfiction writer should aim to look like a capable, intelligent, trustworthy purveyor of smart new information. Writing humor? Break out the boa and the Groucho Marx glasses.

You might also consider including some candid shots on your author bio page to give readers a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse: photos of your office desk, your groaning bookshelves, the view from your deck, or you at book signings, workshops, or conferences.

These days, you don’t have to break the marketing budget to snap great publicity photos, so take a bunch and see what works best.

Delve Into The Dear Reader Letter

A “Dear Reader” letter gives you the advantage of having your landing page make a personal connection with a potential new reader. It’s a chance to showcase your voice, strengthen your brand, and raise some curiosity that will launch a reader deeper into your website.

In your “Dear Reader” letter, you can include:

  • A hearty welcome to the fictional world you’ve created, or a congratulations to the reader for seeking information about your nonfiction topic.
  • An intriguing description of the kind of fiction or nonfiction you write, as well as what the reader can hope to learn or experience by reading your books.
  • An offer of a gift to the reader, such as a free short story, novella, or resources pdf.
  • A well-crafted blurb about your most recent book along with a story of how it came about.
  • If appropriate to your brand, an engaging story of something personal that’s going on in your life that will leave readers nodding, laughing, and/or emotionally moved.

Build A Blog

There may be no better way to tell your personal story than to blog on a regular basis. Blogging lets you share with readers what is important to you. If you write cookbooks, share recipes as well as cooking stories. If you write cozy mysteries involving the owner of a yarn store, showcase your knitting projects. Horror and historical writers can expound on factoids discovered during research. And while readers, editors, and literary agents are getting to know you—you’re building a marketing platform for future releases.

Even the most extroverted writers can sometimes have difficulty writing personal essays and/or blogs. Shy writers have a particularly hard time with this kind of marketing. Think of it as narrative nonfiction or memoir. If you need advice, consult friends and family who know you well for help in choosing subjects. And remember to craft your stories around a consistent brand that will make you memorable to readers, agents, and editors.

 

Question: What is the “core story” or “central message” of your fiction or nonfiction, and how do you communicate that message on your website?

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7 Author Web Design Tips Just For Memoir Writers | Web Design Relief

Are you considering building an author website to help promote your memoir? Nonfiction “lifewriters” can take advantage of special strategies to create particularly effective writer websites. Web Design Relief offers the tips—and warnings—you need to create an author website that best promotes your memoir. Strategies For Creating An Unforgettable Author Website To Promote A Memoir… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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