Category Archives: Author Website Design

5 Simple Ways Your Author Website Can Give Back | Web Design Relief

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. —Booker T. Washington

Whether you’re a writer, baker, corporate executive, stay-at-home parent, or professional dog walker, this is the time of year when many people from all walks of life are looking for ways to give back to their communities. If you are a writer with an author website, you’re in luck! The experts at Web Design Relief know you have the means to help spread some holiday cheer—and it’s right at your fingertips.

But just one note of caution: Before you send your hard-earned money—or encourage your fans and visitors to send theirs—first check to ensure a charity is legit and not a scam!

Easy, Creative Ways To Turn Your Author Website Into A Resource For Good

Share your space. Consider adding a page to your author website dedicated to a nonprofit or cause you are passionate about. This page can be a space to share information with your readers who already trust you as a reliable source—so put your craft to good use to create well-written, descriptive, persuasive content. And a page dedicated to a worthy cause is just one of the many ways to give your author website a boost.

Spread the word. Use your writing skills to inspire others to take action. Is there a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or substance abuse program that could use press releases or articles to build awareness and boost donations? The right words can move readers to volunteer or contribute money or services. And you’ll also be getting the message out to those in need that there is help available.

On your website, you can post articles to your blog that shed light on current issues like homelessness, mental illness, and more. Include statistics to encourage your visitors to find ways to take action in their own communities. If nonfiction isn’t your forte, here are some tips and techniques.

Add a button. One of the benefits of having a well-built author website is the ability to add widgets and buttons. Many authors use “Buy Now” buttons on their websites to direct users to where they can purchase books. Why not include a “Donate Now” button for your favorite nonprofit organization?

If all your stories feature the same feisty canine sidekick, you might want to add a donation button for a local agency that helps foster pets. Or, if the detective in your novel is a former soldier, perhaps add a widget to your website to take visitors to an organization that supports veterans. Your followers will be able to support a worthy cause with just one click—and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you helped make it happen!

List some links. You may already have hyperlinks on your website that take visitors to your published works, or to venues where you’ll be reading, or even to writing groups or other resources for writers. You can easily include links to charities or organizations that you want to support so that your readers can learn more.

Donate a portion of your book sale profits. Let your author website visitors know that when they purchase your book, a percentage of the proceeds will be given to a nonprofit organization. You might consider tying this in to a current need for a limited time. For example, after a hurricane or disaster, you might state on your author website: A percentage of all book sales during the month of November will support the hurricane relief efforts of the Red Cross. This philanthropic gesture may even help boost your book sales while raising much-needed funds for those in need.

With just a few clicks and some creative thinking, you can turn your author website into a clever way to give back and support those less fortunate.

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. —Maya Angelou


Question: Do you prefer supporting nonprofit organizations in person or via online donations?

Unpublished Writers: Strategies For Creating An Impressive Author Website | Web Design Relief

If you’re an unpublished writer (or a writer with only a few publishing credits), you may think an author website is an extravagance you don’t need. But you couldn’t be more wrong—an author website is the modern-day equivalent of your business card! If your fans, potential new readers, and literary editors and agents want to know more about you and your writing, the first place they are going to look is the Internet. When they type your name in the search engine, what will they find if you don’t have an author website?

Okay, you say, but I haven’t published a single word, so my author website is going to be pretty sad-looking. Not so! At Web Design Relief, we’ve created websites for well-published authors and newbie writers, so we know the tips and strategies that will make your author website—and you—shine.

How To Have An Impressive Author Website Even If You’re Unpublished

There’s more to a writer bio than just writing. Your experience as a writer is not defined solely by your list of publishing credits. There are many other ways you can pack the author bio on your website with noteworthy accomplishments. Use your website to talk about writing conferences you’ve attended, creative writing classes you’ve taken, or editing and proofreading jobs you’ve had! List any writing groups or organizations that you belong to—this demonstrates an ongoing commitment to improving your craft. Every writing-related experience can help boost your credibility as an emerging writer. Check out the best ways to network at writers conferences.

Use a current, professional-quality headshot. Nothing screams amateur louder than a blurry headshot or an old photo of you wearing a leisure suit or a sweater with giant shoulder pads. If you want to be viewed as an author, dress and look the part. You don’t have to be stodgy and unsmiling in your photo—a little personality is a good thing! But a professional headshot is an investment that shows your website visitors you are serious about writing and boosts your online presence from newbie to “pre-published.” Here’s why a headshot is considered a must-have for any author.

You don’t have to follow the crowd. Resist the urge to use common themes and layouts in your author website—this is your time to shine! Let your design choices speak to your creativity and reflect your genre. Each element of your website, from fonts to color choices, can be used to make an impression on your visitors. Are you a horror writer? Skip a minimalist, modern theme in favor of a creepy typeface and eerie effects. Romance writer? Let visitors swoon over alluring script fonts and come-hither images.

By using design elements, images, widgets, and textures that represent you and your work, you’ll easily make your author website uniquely yours.

Creating an author website that stands out in a crowd doesn’t mean spending tens of thousands of dollars. We get it—you’re just starting out and haven’t signed a big six-figure publishing contract (yet!). But you can still have a quality website on a budget.

Give your visitors a taste. You may not be published, but you certainly have works in progress or pieces that haven’t been scooped up yet. Sharing excerpts of your book, a paragraph of your short story, or a line or two from a poem can give readers a taste of your content and style. So even if your work is not yet published, you can begin to establish a reader base!

Important caveat: Be aware work published on your own author website is still considered previously published. Most editors of literary journals are not interested in previously published work. One solution: Only post pieces that are specifically written for your blog and that you are not going to try to get published elsewhere. Authors publishing book excerpts have a little more leeway, but still tread carefully.

Remember, even the most famous, best-selling authors were once unpublished beginners too! Having an author website will show potential fans and interested agents and editors that you’re serious about your writing career and that you are a writer to watch. And when you DO get that first writing credit…and the next…and the next…you’ll have a website where you can post links and the good news!


Question: Which author website is your favorite? Tell us why in the comments section!

Poets: The Easiest Way To Build An Author Website—Start Here | Web Design Relief

For poets, building an author website doesn’t have to be an arm-twisting exercise in self-promotion. Instead, creating an author website to showcase your poetry should be an opportunity for self-expression—one that just happens to grow your fan base, sell more copies of your poetry collection, and improve your professional networking!

And the experts at Web Design Relief have more great news! As a poet, you are creative, artistic, inquisitive, intelligent, exacting, and passionate—all the qualities needed to build an outstanding author website.

The only question is…where to start?

What’s the easiest (and cheapest) way to build a website that will showcase your poetry?

Here are the first steps to take in order to create a professional website that can build your reputation for quality poetry.

First: Decide What’s Important—Clarify The Objectives Of Your Author Website

Here’s a list of objectives that many poets hope their websites will achieve. Read through the entire list, then rank the objectives in order of their importance to you (print out this worksheet if it makes it easier). Doing this will give you a better sense of what you want your author website to do for your career as a poet.

Learn more: What Is Your Author Website’s Primary Mission? | Web Design Relief

Author Website Ideas Design Worksheet For Poets

10 = very important

1 = least important

(HINT: Ties are okay!)

____ A place to showcase full-length poems so people can read them online

____ A focused retail site for selling my poetry collection or other books

____ Impress visitors with immediate, emotional images (less text, more color) that convey the mood/tone/impressions of my poetry

____ A central hub that serves as the linchpin for my social media efforts

____ Highlight (front and center) my professional writer bio and poetry publishing accolades

____ A web property that gives me full control over a private author mailing list and fan-building efforts (in contrast to the lack of control on social media)

____ Emphasis on personal branding in order to position my online persona as the center of my marketing efforts

____ An interface that makes it easy for publishing professionals to find and contact me about potential career opportunities

____ An easy-to-update website that focuses on habitual blogging

____ A website that is going to promote my marketing and outreach efforts (like poetry readings, seminars, and talks)

____ Claim the exact website domain name (URL) that I want

____ A webpage that is going to support the growth of an audience of poetry readers (a la Instapoets)

____ Exert some control over the information that search engines offer when someone “Googles” my name (aka Search Engine Optimization)


A Publishing Tip All Web-Savvy Poets Must Know About Starting A Poetry Website

If you are planning to publish your creative writing on your private author website, it’s important to be aware of publishing industry standard practices regarding what is considered previously published writing.

Most literary journal editors will not consider previously published work. That means, if a short story or poem has been published before, it is no longer acceptable for publication anywhere else (unless the periodical specifically acquires “reprint rights”).

So if you share your poems on your author website, most editors will consider them to be published—even if they have only been read by a handful of people.

Discussions about what is considered previously published writing can get very complicated. Click here for an in-depth exploration about the definition of previously published writing.

Decide How You Want Your Author Website To Look

The best author websites reflect the personalities, interests, and styles of the writers who own them. In order to be sure that your poetry website mirrors who you are as a writer, check out our web design personality self-test. You’ll find out if you are a minimalist, a social butterfly, a traditionalist, or an imagist. With a better sense of who you are and what you like in an author website, you can move forward with confidence, knowing that readers will come away from your website with an accurate perception of you as a poet.

Here’s the first question in this fun web design personality quiz!

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

  1. a) Calling your friends to catch up on the latest gossip
  2. b) Taking it easy, not making too many plans
  3. c) Paintball tournament, followed by redoing your kitchen, followed by an evening walk near your favorite lake
  4. d) Doing your chores, then reading or watching TV

Take the rest of the quiz right now, then come back to this page!

How Much Money Should You Pay For Your Author Poetry Website?

The cost of an author website will depend on your commitment to quality, imagination, and budget. To create a website for your poetry, you’ll need to establish a budget and then do some research to discover how to stretch your dollar as far as it can go.

Overview Of Your Author Website Design Options

Cheap/free author website. There are a number of blogging websites that offer writers the ability to create free websites. The major advantage of a free website is obvious: It’s free! But the old adage that you get what you pay for holds true when it comes to free website-building platforms.

Here are some of the drawbacks that could come with using a free website tool:

  • Limited customization abilities (or none at all)
  • Cookie-cutter websites that don’t necessarily capture a writer’s unique voice
  • Time lost figuring out what you can and can’t do on your free website
  • No human support for questions/issues
  • No shopping cart for book sales
  • Advertisements on your website that are beyond your control
  • Limited functionality for developing a fan base (such as restrictions on plugins that allow writers to build an emailing list)
  • No URL (domain name) choice (which can make branding as well as communication difficult)
  • Hidden surcharges for “upgrades” that are available at little to no cost under different circumstances
  • Potential difficulty upgrading or changing your branding later on
  • Privacy issues (stemming from limitations on “contact me” forms)

For some writers, the advantages of having a limited, free website outweigh the disadvantages of having no website at all. So if choosing a free website is the only way for you to have any website—go for it! Just be sure you research ALL of your options before making a commitment.

Middle-of-the-road author website investment. Most poets who strive for professionalism work with website design companies like Web Design Relief. Web design companies are not free, but they usually offer various options for writers to accommodate various budgets. Here are some of the advantages of working with a web design company:

  • High-value investment through semi-custom web design (not cookie-cutter, but not 100% custom)
  • Website design that captures a writer’s personal voice/style/brand, which is really important in the publishing industry
  • Responsive customer support means less time asking questions, more time writing
  • No outside advertisements on your site for a professional, quality appearance
  • Lots of flexibility for fan base building and integrating social media functionality
  • Shopping cart for book sales
  • URL flexibility (plus, a good web design company will take care of hosting and registration for you, which saves time)
  • Upgrades that are not simply hidden fees and may even be built into varying packages
  • If you ever need to change your author website, you have a company that will ensure a seamless transition

Investing in a web design company to professionally build your poetry website may prove to be a key strategy in developing your reputation for quality as a poet. Expect to pay anywhere from five hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on your budget and goals.

For a sample of what a web design company might charge, check out the writer web design packages.

High-end poetry websites. Web design companies who cater to corporations and famous brands have been known to charge a starting fee of $10,000 for web design. Some global bestselling writers do have extremely expensive websites in order to support their enormous audiences.

But do you need a website that could cost as much as a dream vacation?

We don’t think so.

For better or worse, poets don’t usually need to make huge investments in order to create an author website that beautifully and effectively gets the job done.

How To Effectively Communicate With Your Website Designer

We could talk all day about plugins, SEO, and custom coding, but all the technology in the world won’t help your writing career unless you have a good relationship with your website designer. Because your designer holds the key to building your website, it’s important that he or she understands who you are as a poet.

Here’s how to ensure you and your website designer are on the same page:

Make your priorities known. Offer your designer a list of your priorities in their order of importance (hint: you can base it on our list above).

Share examples of poetry websites or author websites that you like. Offer your web designer links to three or four examples of author websites (preferably poets like you). Then, share details about what you like—and don’t like—about those websites.

Get visual. If you have specific ideas about images you would like to use—or if you already hold the copyright for images you would like incorporated into your poetry website—be sure to communicate this to your web designer. If you’re not sure about what images you would like to use in the header section of your website or elsewhere, there’s no need to stress about it! Your web designer is there to help you sort through your choices and make decisions.

Headshots and cover art. In a best-case scenario, you will be able to give your web designer a JPEG of your author portrait prior to the start of the website design. If you have published a poetry collection, be sure to send over high-quality images of your cover so that your designer can incorporate your cover art into the site.

Brace yourself for a reality check. Unless you are paying a high-end web designer to build a website for you from scratch, you may be disappointed to learn that some website management systems are not able to accommodate all of your requests. The value of investing in a semi-custom website means you won’t have to empty your bank account in order to have a great website, but you may be limited in the custom options you have to choose from.

Remember: When it comes to communication—more is better!

The designer for your poetry website is not a mind reader; clear communication must run both ways. At some point, you may be tempted to abdicate your responsibility to make decisions about your website and leave it up to your designer (Do what you think is best!). But we’d like to offer you a word of caution: Don’t.

A good web designer (especially one like Web Design Relief that specializes in working with writers) should have great suggestions that meet your particular needs and goals. But leaving every choice up to your designer with little direction could end in frustration for everyone. The more specific you can be about your preferences, the more likely you will actually get an author website you’re happy with.

More Resources For Your Poetry Website Design

Whether you’re taking a DIY approach to your author website or working with a professional website developer, these articles will help you build a more effective online platform for your poetry career:

The 5 Essential Elements Of Eye-Catching Images On Your Author Website

Your Secret Identity: 7 Ways To Safeguard Your Author Pen Name Online | Web Design Relief

Strategies To Keep Your Author Website Safe (For Yourself And Your Visitors) | Web Design Relief

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

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

The #1 Thing Most Writers Miss When Building An Author Platform | Web Design Relief


Question: Can you help us? Tell us what you think is the most important single element of a poet’s website!


How NaNoWriMo Can Boost Your Writing Career In Just 30 Days | Web Design Relief

One of the most highly anticipated racing events of the year happens in November: The New York City Marathon. And for some authors, the high point of the year also happens in November, when writers line up on November 1 to begin the 50,000-word National Novel Writing Month marathon, hoping to reach the finish line… Continue Reading

November Links Roundup | Web Design Relief

Welcome to November’s Links Roundup—and we’re ready to talk turkey about the latest tech news on the Internet for writers! Our Web Design Relief research experts have found something for everyone: how Instagram can improve your writing brand; important tasks to remember when launching a new blog; how CSS Hero can save you time and energy… Continue Reading

How To Pick The Right URL Or Domain For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

At Web Design Relief, we know that choosing the right URL or domain for your new author website is just as important as designing and developing the actual website. Your Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the web address that people will use to find your website on the Internet—it will represent you to your fans,… Continue Reading

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