Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

How To Help Your Author Website Designer “Get You” And What You Want | Web Design Relief

You’ve looked at other author websites and you know what you like and don’t like. Now you have a pretty good idea of how you want your author website to look and function. But making your ideas a reality isn’t always easy. The experts at Web Design Relief know that effectively communicating with your web designer can mean the difference between getting what you want and being disappointed with the results—which is something that neither of you wants.

How To Effectively Communicate With Your Website Designer

Know What You Want Your Author Website To Do

If you’re an author who wants to sell books, you’ll want your book front and center. You’ll need a Buy Now button. And you should supply your design team with the highest quality, largest image available of your book.

But if you write short stories or poetry or don’t currently have a book to promote, you may want the website’s focus to be about your bio, your process, and your publication history. Knowing what your main goal is will help your web design team determine how to set up the pages on your website.

Help Your Web Designer To See What You See

Give an overview of style and format. Your author brand is important. It’s why your readers are following you instead of another writer. So it’s essential you have a website that reflects the image your fans expect.

Before you sit down with your design team, do your homework. Find examples of websites that have a similar aesthetic to what you envision for your own website, and show these to your designer. Explain which elements you like on these websites so that the designers have a better idea of what to focus on when developing your site.

Images are a vital part of website design, so if you have specific images you’d like to use, you should let your designer know at the beginning. There could be many reasons why your preferred images can’t be used, such as blurriness, potential copyright issues, or simply not working with the genre you write in. So the sooner your designer can address these issues, the better. You might consider choosing royalty-free stock images from websites like http://shutterstock.com. Or you can let your designer make the choices for you based on your preferred website examples. After all—that’s what they do!

Have a recent headshot ready for your author website—and if it’s a professional headshot, even better. Check out ways to get great results in your author photo.

Be ready for a reality check. Your vision of the perfect author website may not be technically feasible. Website design is advancing every day, but it still has its limitations based on the template and management system on which your site is being built. Not all templates accept all plugins.

There may also be limits based on your budget. If you’re paying for a basic, no-frills website, you shouldn’t realistically expect all the bells and whistles. And just because a big, splashy banner works well selling expensive couture jewelry doesn’t mean it’s what your readers expect to see when they visit your author website to learn more about your poetry or cozy mysteries.

Remember: Your designer isn’t a mind reader

Don’t give vague input: I don’t know, whatever you think is best. While web designers are experts and will have definite ideas about what works and what doesn’t for your particular needs and genre, leaving every choice up to the designers without giving them direction means they will have to guess at what you want. If you were secretly wishing for an image of foreboding cliffs beside the ocean for your mystery author website and the designers give you a castle in moonlight, there’s a chance you may not be happy with your website design.

Your designer wants to make you happy, and effective communication is key to making that happen. You’ll understand any limitations, and the design team will understand the aesthetic you want for your readers. Working together, you can create an author website that works perfectly for you!

 

Question: What do you think is the most important thing to tell your web design team?

Author Website Tips For Writers Who Don’t Want To Deal With Having An Author Website | Web Design Relief

Sure, having a well-maintained, active author website is a vital element in your author platform and social media support—but who has the time to deal with that? You have your day job, appointments to keep, groceries to buy, children to drop off and pick up, and your writing time to squeeze in. You may wonder why you should worry about building an author website if you haven’t even written a book yet!

Fortunately, the experts at Web Design Relief have a trick or two up their sleeves for hassle-free author website prep.

Tips For Planning An Author Website With A Minimum Of Cost And Fuss

Claim your domain name for your author website. Author websites aren’t created in a day. There are multiple steps before you actually build the site itself. And the most important step is to claim your domain name, i.e., your “URL.”

If you have a relatively common name (like John Doe), you may find that a simple domain URL using your name, such as www.JohnDoe.com, or even a more elaborate one like www.JohnDoeBooks.com or www.AuthorJohnDoe.com, may already be taken. That means you’ll have to think up some creative domain names so your future fans can find you—a job best done when you’re not under pressure.

Decide on your web hosting company. After you’ve registered your domain name, you need to decide which company will “host” your website. Web hosting companies allow your site to be stored on their servers as they provide the technology that allows it to be viewed on the Internet. Check prices and fees carefully to make sure you find the best hosting company for your website. Remember, a bargain isn’t always a bargain: Make sure the hosting company offers the best security and regularly scheduled backups. For the most hassle-free, dependable hosting, talk to Web Design Relief!

Prepare your content. Sooner or later, you’ll have to write an author bio. You may also have to write a back-of-the-book blurb about your story or nonfiction project. You certainly will need an author-dedicated email address. An author photo wouldn’t hurt, either. When it comes to these marketing and promotion basics, you might as well start now.

Build an author website, or have one built for you. Even if you don’t have plans for a book, or it won’t be released for over a year, people interested in you and your writing will be searching for you on the Internet. What will they find?

A single page with info about your project, yourself, and your contact information is all you need to make yourself “searchable” on Google and other search engines. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities!

Some authors build their own websites using drag-and-drop builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Jimdo. Tech-savvy authors may use WordPress. But if you want to avoid handling all the technical complexities yourself, consider hiring someone to build your author website for you. You may be surprised at how stress-free and inexpensive it can be to have Web Design Relief do all the work for you.

While your author website is the hub of all marketing and promotion efforts and the best first step to creating a platform, you should also act now to claim your social media profiles as well. By having all your foundation elements in place, you’ll be ready to market and promote your writing when the moment arrives.

 

Question: When you go to an author website, what’s the first thing you look for? A bio? Book list? Contact information? Upcoming events? Breaking news?

Say Cheese! 8 Modeling Tips For A More Flattering Author Portrait Or Headshot | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re hiring a professional photographer or relying on a friend to hold the camera, you can make the most of your author headshot photo shoot by following these simple tips from the design experts at Web Design Relief. Looking good never looked so easy!

Steal These Modeling Tips To Take A Great Headshot Or Portrait

Wear solid colors or small prints. Loud prints can clutter an image and draw viewers’ eyes away from your face. If you want to wear big, bold prints, go for it—we won’t stop you! But smaller prints may be easier on the eyes of your author website visitors. And if you go too far in the monochromatic direction, keep in mind that black or white clothing may also present problems in portraiture: White can blow out, and black can lose definition and disappear. Learn what colors look best on you.

Know your good angles. Spend some time looking at your face in the mirror. When you tilt your chin down slightly, your eyes will look bigger, giving an impression of approachability. Tilting your chin up slightly can convey a strong bearing. Turning your head to the side, but keeping your eyes on the camera, might give the impression of a writer who has a secret to tell. Play with your expressions and angles so you capture the expression that best represents you as a writer.

Lean forward, just a smidge. Leaning forward elongates the neck, emphasizes the jawline, minimizes a soft chin, and puts the emphasis on your eyes. It may feel weird, but it can have great results!

Turn your shoulders. Staring straight into the camera can resemble a mugshot and make you look wide. Instead, move one shoulder to a 45-degree angle to your camera lens—you’ll look more approachable and natural.

Smile, smile, smile. A single face can wear a thousand smiles—from toothy and unrestrained to subtle and subdued. Try them out in a mirror and then try them out during your photo shoot. Hopefully you have a photographer who can help you “craft” a natural subdued smile but who can also crack a joke and make you laugh in order to catch that gleam in your eye.

Squint. One of the best kept secrets for an intriguing headshot? The squint. A subtle squint with a smile lends authenticity to a grin or thoughtfulness to a serious look. Practice a little in the mirror to see what you think. But if looking like you’re trying to see Jupiter without a telescope feels overwhelmingly uncomfortable to you, don’t do it. Better to be relaxed and natural overall.

Ask for some headshots AND for some portraits. Unlike the up-close-and-personal style of a headshot, a portrait pulls back the lens for a wider view of you and your surroundings. Use your background to help show who you are as a writer. Write romances? Have your photo shoot in a rose garden. Mysteries? Maybe stand in front of an abandoned building. Or you can simply show another side of your personality: Maybe you’re lying in a field of wildflowers or getting a smooch from your dog. Ask your photographer for a mix of both headshots and portraits. They’ll come in handy at different times.

Request black-and-white versions of your photos. Why ask for black-and-white versions of your color portraits? Good photographers know that there’s more to a flattering black-and-white image than simply removing rainbow colors. There’s a whole spectrum of black-and-white possibilities. And your black-and-white photos will look better if they were designed to be shown that way from the get-go (as opposed to having the color stripped by a copy machine).

Make yourself comfortable. A relaxed, self-assured vibe can make the difference between a flattering headshot and one that’s bound for the circular file. Consider: What can you do to make yourself comfortable in front of the camera? Bring along a loved one? Make some goofy faces to loosen up before getting serious? Maybe listening to music would help? When you feel good, you look good!

 

Question: Getting your picture taken—love it or hate it?

 

6 Author Website Elements On Publishers’ Wish Lists | Web Design Relief

  Traditional book publishers are always on the lookout for the next best seller, whether it’s a topical nonfiction project or the latest Great American Novel. But before they accept a manuscript, book publishers want to know whether the author will also be a good business partner. Web Design Relief knows that publishers have a… Continue Reading

Online Marketing Tips For Writers Who Have More Than One Pen Name | Web Design Relief

There are several reasons why an author would use multiple pen names. Perhaps you write in three different genres and don’t want to confuse your separate audiences. Or you are published with a traditional publisher but also self-publish under a different name. Maybe you just want to start fresh. But the experts at Web Design… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading


Sign up to receive our FREE four-part series, The Writer’s Essential Guide To Reputation-Building In A Digital World—the ultimate resource for building your online author platform.
YES! Send Me My FREE Guide!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
close-link
Live Chat Software