Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

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?

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

Speak to your tribe. Who is most likely to read and appreciate your memoir? If your memoir is about battling cancer, or being a preschool teacher, or life as an astronaut— consider how your website might become a resource for the interests that you and your reader share. By creating a website that tells a story that’s bigger than your story alone, you foster positive connections and position yourself as an expert—which can lead to more PR, speaking engagements, and stronger sales.

Let readers hear your voice through your Web copy. If you’re a memoir writer, YOU are your story. Your voice, your perspective, your insights, your triumphs and failures—you are the center of your memoir. The same holds true for your author website. A good author website tells your personal story. Rather than holding readers at arm’s length through formal third-person bios and quoted material, invite readers to get to know you via your “welcome reader” letter, your author blog, and your authentic voice.

Invest in an author headshot that captures your unique personality. Some people will flip to the back cover of a book to take a look at the author even before they start to read. Satisfy the instincts of fans who want to get to know you by posting a well-done publicity portrait that captures the mood of your writing. (Here’s how to do it without blowing your budget!)

Don’t be afraid of giving away too much. Some memoir writers might worry that sharing too much of their own story on their website could detract from the surprise factor of their book. While you don’t want to give away major plot twists, you can only benefit from enticing readers with hints of your amazing true story.

Include photos, videos, or recordings. Your memoir’s website can be a valuable tool for inviting readers deeper into the world of your memoir. Use the back matter of your book (i.e., an afterword) to direct readers to visit your author website to see your private collection of photographs, recordings, articles, and videos. Once visitors are on your author website, use your “call to action” to nudge them to sign up for your author mailing list. By increasing your connectivity, you may increase future sales!

But here’s one major caveat: If living people are featured in your collected media, you might want to ask permission to post and share. Citizens’ “right to privacy” is protected by federal law, and courts have yet to create clear, easily understood rules about just what a person’s right to privacy is. You may be more protected if you get a signature that gives you permission to share.

Nurture dialogue. If you’re writing about a moment in time that others also experienced firsthand (such as growing up in a certain neighborhood in a certain decade), you may find that visitors are eager to share their memories with you. By creating a safe place to share memories, not only will you enjoy other’s perspectives, you’ll also create a stronger emotional sense of connectedness and personal investment—and that can turn book browsers into book buyers.

One Last Thing To Consider When Creating Your Memoir Website…

Writing nonfiction has its share of emotional and legal perils. If you’ve worked very hard to ensure that the text of your book isn’t going to get you into legal hot water, be sure to take the same precautions as you write and design your author website.

If you’re uncertain about whether you’re within your rights to publish your memoir, read this: Creative Nonfiction: How To Stay Out Of Trouble.


Question: What’s the best thing a memoir writer can do when creating an author website?


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?


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… 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

Navigation Menu Options For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

  What’s the most important feature of your author website design? You may think it’s the home page image, or the email signup form, or even the typeface used throughout the site. While these are all vital to the success of your website, Web Design Relief knows that perhaps the most essential—yet overlooked—element is your… Continue Reading

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