Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

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?

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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 that comes into your head? No.

6 No-Nos When Designing Your Author Website

Unreadable Fonts

Using overly ornate, stylized, or curlicued fonts—especially for the body text—is a definite no-no. Visitors must be able to read what you write. Be sure your font size isn’t too small to be easily legible: 12-point font is a good standard size, but you can also go bigger. Here’s how to find the right font style for your author website.

Invisible Links

Visitors to your author website should be able to easily identify what’s clickable and what isn’t. Make sure that your links are a contrasting color.

Bad Color Combinations

Maybe your favorite colors are lime green and bright yellow. Hey, to each his (or her) own. Just don’t put your green type on a yellow background: it’s one of the most disliked color combinations for a website. And too much bright, vivid color is going to give your visitors headaches and send them running from your site and toward the nearest bottle of aspirin. Another bad choice: putting light-colored items on a light background, or dark on dark.

Big Blocks Of Text

Visitors met with a wall of unending text are NOT going to read it—no matter how intriguing or interesting the topic.

To keep your readers’ attention, offer visual breaks. Bulleted text, subheads, and separate paragraphs will allow visitors to absorb your writing in easy-to-focus-on sections.

If you have a one-page website, include a floating navigation bar with each navigational menu item anchored to a section of the page. This way, when visitors want to move between different sections, you’ve given them the tools to do so. Here are other ways to incorporate user-friendly navigation menu options into your website.

Spelling And Grammar Errors

The quality of your website will be judged by the content and how well it’s presented. You may have the most aesthetically pleasing website on the Internet, but if your visitors feel you’re publishing posts without first proofreading for typos and grammar mistakes, the overall opinion of your site—and your writing—will suffer for it.

Bland Calls To Action

Want to build sales of your new book? Of course you do! Make sure you use a button color that is bright enough to draw attention, but still complementary to your website’s color scheme.

 

QUESTION: What web design no-nos have you seen? Tell us!

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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 Presents 6 Questions To Help You Think Like An Editor When Creating Your Author Website

Is your call to action clear and focused? Writers are excellent at persuasive writing—so a good writer can craft an effective call to action for an author website! What’s a call to action? It’s basically the one primary action you want a visitor to take when reading your author website: sign up for an author mailing list, buy a book, etc. With great editing skills, you can create a call to action using subtle persuasion and some smart layout. Learn more about creating a great call to action.

Is the layout effective? Your layout should funnel visitors toward your call to action, so deciding how to organize the content of your website is a lot like deciding how to organize the content of a book. What do you want visitors to see first? The “above the fold” or top part of the homepage of your author website is as important as the first five pages of a manuscript. Here’s how to get your most important info on your website’s first page .

Are the visuals powerful? Your website’s first impression lies in its visuals. Do your images make a powerful, memorable, unique statement? If your talents run more toward the written word than to artwork, be sure to enlist good help—just like you’d hire a freelance editor to help with a manuscript.

Is the copy clean and SEO friendly? SEO (or search engine optimization) is a key component of an effective author website. Being a writer—and understanding how to shape a sentence—is a HUGE advantage when it comes to Web maintenance. Why? Search engines scan the text of websites in order to index them. If your author website doesn’t have your name on it a few times, a search engine might not be able to associate it with you. Learn more about how to edit for SEO copywriting techniques.

Does your author website tell a good story? As a writer, you probably have a good appreciation for the power of story. But are you telling your personal story as powerfully as you could? In a world shaped by social media, who you are can be as persuasive as what you’re writing. Learn more about how to make the most of your personal story through good editing .

Does your author website encourage visitors to have an emotional reaction? Writers are masters of emotions—exploring them, conjuring them, and letting people experience them intimately. Just like a great piece of writing, a great website inspires an emotional reaction via eye-catching visuals, strong text, opportunities for engagement/interaction, and smart layout. Use every tool in your writing arsenal to stir up a bit of emotion in your visitors.

And The Best Thing About Editing An Author Website Is…

As long as your Web developer creates a website that you can easily maintain and edit, your author website offers you the perfect opportunity to let your creativity shine!

 

Question: Which of the elements on our list do you believe is most important to an author website?

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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

5 Website Tips Self-Published Authors Need To Know | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re a traditionally or self-published author, your author website should be a brilliantly designed online magnet for your specific audience, providing updates on new releases, promotions, and events. A great author website is your virtual showcase in the online world. Self-published authors, however, have a few unique requirements when it comes to successful web… Continue Reading

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