Category Archives: Author Website Design

7 Things Writers Think They Must Do When Building A Website Vs. What They Actually Need To Do | Web Design Relief

When it’s time to create a website, many authors aren’t sure what they should include—so they go above and beyond what’s really necessary. If you’re new to the idea of website design, you might think adding more-more-more is the best way to get your money’s worth. But at Web Design Relief, we know you don’t need to use all the bells and whistles to build an engaging, professional, and functional author website. In fact, focusing on clean and uncluttered design is the best thing to do when building a strong online author platform.

Here are some so-called author website must-haves vs. what you actually need:

Website so-called must-have: A costly, professional headshot from the lead photographer at Vanity Fair.

What writers actually need: A clear, good DIY headshot that could easily be snapped with a cell phone, tablet, or by your camera-savvy best friend. Play with the filters. Adjust the lighting and exposure. Wear something that defines your style. A combination of soft, natural light and well-chosen clothing can be an affordable alternative to an expensive portrait. So “say cheese” and learn how to take your own headshot!

Website so-called must-have: A complex, fancy concept with many moving parts.

What writers actually need: A homepage call to action that gets results. Successful websites are designed with clarity and ease of navigation in mind. This doesn’t mean your author website can’t be intriguing or eye-catching. But rather than focusing on flashy effects, put your most important content front and center. Make it easy for your visitors to move around on your website by providing links or buttons to buy your book, read your portfolio, or sign up for your mailing list.

Website so-called must-have: A page for every single publication credit you have.

What writers actually need: One page with a list of your publications. It’s very unlikely anyone will make an effort to scroll through multiple pages to see your published works. Consolidate your publication history into a single, essential page with external links to read or preview your writing.

Website so-called must-have: A forum, instant messaging, and a visible snail mail address.

What writers actually need: A dedicated contact form. When you have one safe point of contact for your visitors, it will limit confusion and increase the odds of getting—and reading—messages from fans, editors, or agents. It also protects your personal information.

Website so-called must-have: As many buttons and links as possible (aka the infamous bells and whistles).

What writers actually need: Social media and Buy Now buttons. A button is a very powerful design element, so save it for something you really want to direct your visitors to do—like purchase your work and connect and share your content on social media. Use hyperlinks for any other content you want to steer visitors to.

Website so-called must-have: Elaborate aesthetics and elements.

What writers actually need: An easy-to-navigate and mobile-optimized design. You may think having a website that looks like a piece of art in a museum will impress your visitors, but functionality and professional standards are what will keep your audience coming back for more. Web visitors will quickly bounce off your site if they can’t figure out how to find what they’re looking for, or if your author website looks all wonky on a mobile device.

Website so-called must-have: A cybersecurity team.

What writers actually need: A good hosting provider. While you don’t need the CIA to keep your website and Internet visitors safe, a good host is one of the best ways to secure your website. What makes a good web host? One that performs regular site backups and software updates, just like the tech experts at Web Design Relief’s hosting service!

It can be easy to break the bank and go overboard with your website. Remember, for a professional-looking, high-performance author website: Less is more! Find more budget-friendly website tips here!

Self-Test: Is Your Author Website Up To Professional Standards? | Web Design Relief

Your author website is a powerful networking tool, essentially acting as your online business card. Since your website represents you as a writer to readers, editors, or literary agents, it should look professional and polished—not like the cheapest option you could find. Take this easy self-test from the experts at Web Design Relief to determine if your author website is functional and informative, or if it’s filled with common mistakes.

Self-Test: Is Your Author Website First Quality…Or Second-Rate?

Are You Using Good-Quality Images?

A: Yes, all of my images have at least a 300dpi resolution.

B: Some images are blurry, but most are clear.

C: Images? What images?

 

Is Your Font Uniform And Legible?

A: I have a dedicated font for headings and a dedicated font for body text.

B: No, but all of my fonts are in the same family (serif or sans serif).

C: The more fonts the merrier!

 

Does Your Author Bio Appear Professional?

A: Yes, my publishing credits and bio have been thoroughly proofread!

B: My author bio is acceptable, but has not been updated in quite a while.

C: I have no author bio on my website.

 

Are You Integrating Your Social Media Feeds?

A: I have icons or widgets for my author Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more!

B: I just post handles to my social media accounts. Or most of them anyway…

C: What’s a social media feed?

 

Do You Offer A Safe “Contact Me” Page?

A: My contact page keeps personal information secure and requires CAPTCHA verification.

B: I give my personal contact information (my email address and phone number) on my site.

C: I don’t want web visitors to contact me!

 

For Book Authors: Are You Including Links To Multiple Booksellers On Your Website?

A: I sure am! I include buttons to Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and more!

B: I post information on where people can buy my book, but don’t have direct links.

C: Google is free! If people want to buy my book, they can find it themselves!

 

If You Are Blogging, Is Your Blog Up To Date?

A: Yes! I update at least once a week and especially if I have new info to share with my readers.

B: Not really. I update my blog every few months.

C: I am just now remembering that I have a blog.

 

How Easy Is Your Website To Navigate?

A: Very easy! I have a menu bar, and a header logo that takes users directly to my homepage.

B: Most of my website’s pages are directly available through my homepage, but some pages are hidden.

C: I can’t even navigate my own website.

 

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

A: Absolutely! Every element on my website is optimized for mobile use.

B: My website opens on mobile, but it is a bit difficult to read.

C: The last time I opened my mobile website, I had to visit the Genius Bar or Geek Squad.

 

ANSWERS:

If you picked mostly A: Congratulations on a stellar website!

Your website works as a first-class, professional platform for your writing career! Display it proudly.

 

If you picked mostly B: Your website is close, but needs a little work before it qualifies as a professional author website.  

You may have great intentions for your website, but they may be executed poorly or need some updates. When it comes to professionalism, there is no cutting corners. Your website may benefit from some much-needed TLC, like a yearly update.

 

If you picked mostly C: There’s no way around it—your website needs help.

Some websites need a complete overhaul. With the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the Internet, your author website can quickly fall behind in functionality, and this could hurt your writing career. If your website is difficult to navigate or full of broken links, visitors will bounce. And if your author website looks second-rate and is filled with typos or grammar mistakes—readers, editors, and agents will assume it reflects on your writing quality.

If you’re ready for a professional-looking author website, the experts at Web Design Relief can help! Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will build you an author website perfectly suited to your needs—and we have a package for every budget! Schedule a free consultation today!

 

Question: What is one thing you want to change about your author website?

Great Ways To Use Moving Elements In Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Strategically incorporating motion into your author website design is a smart way to grab the attention of your followers and publishing industry pros. At Web Design Relief, our experts know that using moving elements in your author website will engage visitors in ways static images cannot. If you’re ready to get moving, here’s how to boost your website’s appeal with motion graphics!

A Simple Guide To Using Motion Design In Your Author Website

Scrolling Headers: Your header is the first thing visitors see when they click onto your website, so make it eye-catching. While static headers can get the job done, a scrolling header with multiple images and graphics allows visitors to watch or manually click through different images that represent your writing and who you are as an author.

 

Image Carousels: Your list of publications is essential information that should be showcased on your author website. Instead of having a page with flat images and text, you can feature your cover art (or artwork from the literary journals where your work is published) in a carousel so visitors have an interactive way to see all of your publications!

 

http://mybloggerpedia.blogspot.com/2012/03/blinking-read-more-buttons-for-blogger.html

Flashing Icons and Buttons: It is an excellent marketing strategy to include on your website social media icons that allow visitors to instantly follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and buttons that can be clicked to buy your book. You can kick up the engagement potential of these powerful design elements by making them blink, flash, jiggle—any kind of moving animation. These dynamic design elements will guide fans and followers to exactly where you want them to go.

Mouseover Changes: Ideally, your visitors will eagerly click around your website and discover all of your content. Want to make the experience even more engaging and appealing? Have the buttons, menu items, icons, and other elements on your site feature “hover over” changes—graphic changes that happen when a user’s mouse hovers over a trigger area. Mouseover control may become your favorite go-to element!

https://blog.prototypr.io/stunning-hover-effects-with-css-variables-f855e7b95330

Text Marquees: You see them on the news, and they are just as eye-catching on your author website! A moving marquee of text at the top of your website is a great way to alert Web visitors to your latest news and updates. When you release a new book, publish new poems or prose in a literary journal, or schedule a book signing or reading event—having that information scroll continuously across the screen will keep your followers in the know!

https://www.myspacegens.com/handler.php?gen=marquee

 

One Important Note About Using Moving Elements On Your Website

When it comes to using moving and animated design elements on your author website, remember: Less is more! Too many flashy buttons or flying photos will look tacky and overly busy. If visitors don’t know where to look and have too much vying for their attention, they’re more likely to bounce off your site. We recommend a light touch when using moving elements so your website visitors will be intrigued but not overwhelmed.

 

Question: Which motion design element do you find most appealing?

Here’s The Right Way To Showcase Your Short Stories Online | Web Design Relief

As the literary world becomes more and more connected online, an author website is a great way for short story writers to share their work with readers and publishing industry insiders. But it’s very important to know the RIGHT way to showcase your short stories online. You may be excited to share your short stories… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading


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