Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

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 specific wish list of what key marketing and promotional elements they hope to find on the author website:

What Publishers Look For On Your Author Website

Project-Appropriate Website Design

Publishers will expect a professional website as a given, but they also want to see if you understand what you are selling. Considering color, construct, typography, and imagery: Do the website design elements you’ve chosen accurately reflect the nature, mood, and themes of the books you write?

Clear, Clean Website Design

Does your website load quickly or is it riddled with advertisements? Is the menu easily visible? Is navigation simple and concise? Is there too much text in big, blocks of hard-to-read type? Do the website design elements enhance or detract from ease of navigation? The easier a book publisher can move around your website, the more they’ll like it.

Focused Website Design

A smart author sets a goal for her website, and that goal is projected in a concise call to action on the landing page that leads to some hoped-for final action:

  • If the goal of the website is to grow an audience: Does the author include a pop-up box with a call to action to collect emails for a newsletter, subscribers for a blog, or followers on social media?
  • If the goal of the website is book sales: Are buy buttons visible, the call to action clear, and the associated blurbs, text, and marketing copy compelling?

Visible Social Proof

Book publishers will note the number and engagement of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest followers—but they’ll also keep an eye on website-related stats, such as:

  • Website traffic measures through Google Analytics, etc.
  • Number of newsletter followers and how frequently you put out a newsletter
  • Number of blog subscribers and how frequently you blog
  • How evergreen your content is
  • Engagement in terms of comments, responses, retweets, shares, etc.

A Compelling Author Bio

The goal of an author bio is to engage the reader’s empathy and interest. Along with books, awards, and literary accomplishments, publishers look for author bios that give readers a glimpse of the person behind the writer: candid photos, letters to the reader, an inside look at the origin of your latest story, or even a personal story that connects with the themes of your book.

List Of Professional Contacts

Publishers want authors who know the importance of connections. Bloggers, bookstore owners, speaker’s bureaus, and foreign or subsidiary rights agents interested in your book will go to your website in search of contact information, so be sure to include:

  • Links back to the publisher’s website to strengthen the relationship between book, author, and publisher.
  • Contact information for your agent.
  • Contact info for you or your publicist so bloggers and reviewers can submit requests directly.
  • Buy buttons for multiple retailers, because publishers have relationships with all of them and don’t want to see favoritism.

What publishers want to see in an author website is often the same as what your fans and readers want: a site that conveys the theme, mood, and atmosphere of the books—and the personality and individualism of the writer—offers evergreen content, and presents easy ways in which both fans and professionals can contact, engage, and quickly connect.

 

Question: Is there an element of website design that puts you off, such as sound, video, certain typography, excess of text, etc.?

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

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… Continue Reading


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