Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

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?

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 online, but Web Design Relief has one very important caveat that you must not ignore: If you want to get a story published by a literary journal, do NOT put the entire story on your author website. If you do, that story is now considered published. It doesn’t matter that it’s your own website. It doesn’t matter that only three people read it online and one was your aunt Tilly. If it’s on your author website, congratulations—the story is officially published, and most editors do not want previously published work.

How To Safely Feature Your Short Stories Online

Here are three ways you can post your short stories online without annoying literary editors:

  • Post only short stories written specifically for your online audience. These are stories that you do not intend to submit to literary journals for publication.
  • Post short stories that have already been published. Once the rights revert back to you, you can post a story on your author website that has already been published. Be sure to give credit to the literary journal that first published your story. You can also post a link that will take your visitors to the online magazine where your short story appears. In fact, whenever you have a new story appearing in a journal, posting a link on your author website and social media is a great way to cross-promote!
  • Post an excerpt from your short story. An excerpt (a few sentences or one paragraph) can act as a great teaser to build interest in your short story.

Once you’ve selected an option from the list above and decided how you want to feature your short story online, you can then promote it worry-free:

On social media: While most social media accounts have a word limit, you can post a brief blurb/excerpt from your short stories with a link to your author website or the journal where they can read the full story. Be creative, and your post might even go viral!

On your blog: You can feature a few sentences from an upcoming short story or a brief, captivating summary on your blog. Be sure to always announce whenever you have a short story accepted by a journal, and offer your readers a link to the literary magazine once the story is published. You can also include details about your writing process and the ideas that inspire your short stories.

With an image gallery: Image galleries are an essential and eye-catching element that can engage visitors on your author website.

PRO TIP: You can use an image gallery to showcase your short stories in a way visitors might not expect! Fill your image gallery with cover art from the literary journals that have published your work.

In your list of publications: Rather than trying to post all of your published short stories on your website, offer readers and editors an easy way to see the full scope of your publishing history. A website page dedicated to your list of publications is a great way to outline your short story publishing credits and provides a one-stop shop for fans who want to read more of your work.

Via your mailing lists: A mailing list is an easy way to stay connected with your readers and fans. Whenever you have a new short story published in a literary journal, or when you “self-publish” by posting a short story directly to your author website, you can send an alert to your entire mailing list. You can even use an exclusive short story as an incentive for people to sign up for your mailing list!

Remember, as long as you follow these tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to effectively boost your fan base and readership—without losing your opportunity to publish your short stories in literary journals.

 

Question: How do you boost readership of your short stories online?

Ready To Launch! 7 Signs Your Website Is All Systems Go | Web Design Relief

Most writers understand the importance of having an author website to act as an online business card and an information hub. But at Web Design Relief, our experts know that before you press the button that launches your website, it’s important to make sure everything is all systems go! You don’t want to make your author website live, only to discover functional or navigational issues and typos that will make your visitors cringe—and bounce.

Start The Countdown! Questions To Ask Before You Launch Your Author Website

Have you proofread your site? Yes, proofreading is as vital to website-building as it is to poetry, prose, or books. Typos will make your website look amateurish. This is especially true if you’re an author! Make sure your Oxford commas are in order and your proper nouns are properly capitalized before launching. Learn how to become a master proofer here.

Do you have something to attract visitors? Your author website should showcase your writing and broaden your readership. Make certain that you have pages featuring excerpts of your book, blog posts, or links to your literary publications. You may also want to have a dedicated page where visitors can purchase your books, or you can include “Buy Now” buttons to third-party sellers to increase book sales.

Is social media integrated into your website? While it is unlikely that visitors would spend several hours a day on your author website, the opposite is true for social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Have social media buttons prominently featured on your author website that link to your various social media platforms so visitors can follow you.

Pro Tip: Verify that your social media pages are ready for the public. This means that your social media accounts aren’t set to private and aren’t flooded with personal posts that don’t pertain to your writing. In fact, don’t link to your personal social media—create separate accounts for your author persona, including a Facebook author page!

Do website visitors have a way to contact you? Having a contact page is essential—literary agents or editors may want to get in touch with you! It also gives your fans and followers the opportunity to reach out to you through an easy-to-use form. A contact form is a safe way for you to connect with your audience while limiting spam and protecting your privacy. Which brings us to our next point…

Is your website safe? To protect yourself and your visitors, limit the personal information you share, especially your email address. This can attract unwanted spam from automated bots and leave your site vulnerable to hacking. Make sure you have effective Internet security in place by installing security plugins and captchas.

Did you optimize your website for mobile use? Almost all websites are built via desktop computers, and while it might look perfect on the big screen, your website may not translate well to mobile use. As more people view websites on their mobile devices, it’s important for your website to look good on smartphones and tablets. Be sure to check that your author website is legible and functional on mobile devices before you make your site live.

Does everything work? Perhaps the most important step before launching your website is to check that everything works! And we mean everything. Does your domain lead to your actual website? Are your hyperlinks live? Does your website work on multiple browsers? Do all of your buttons take visitors to the right location? Be your own guinea pig! Test your entire website prior to launch.

Once you’ve confirmed all systems are go, you can rest assured that your readers will enjoy visiting your author website and learning more about you and your writing. Ready to help your writing career take off? 3…2…1…launch!

 

Question: Which item on the checklist do you think is most important?

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading


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