Proactive writers with their fingers on the pulse of current publishing industry trends know an author website is a crucial element of an effective author platform. But with so many author websites out there, how do you build a site that is informative and professional-looking—but also unique and memorable (especially to agents or editors)? If you want to ensure your author website stands out and attracts visitors, consider implementing any one—or more—of these four design options:
Option #1: A one-of-a-kind “About Me” page.
In addition to the standard elements that must be included on your author bio page (professional headshot, education, career, and publication credits), try showing a little personality on your “About Me” page.
Write a “welcome” letter to your visitors in your own handwriting. Add design elements that change seasonally. Maybe post some candid photos or a humorous personal anecdote. Showing unexpected aspects of your personality on your About Me page is a great way to personalize your site, turn visitors into fans—and catch the eyes of agents!
Option #2: Minimalist design.
Crisp, clean websites stripped of superfluous design elements can be striking and elegant in their simplicity. If you choose a minimalist design, your mantra should be “Less is more.” Consider a text-free homepage, for example. And while you may love fancy fonts, choose one that is simple and legible instead.
Going minimalist isn’t for everyone, but if this design concept accurately expresses your author persona and compellingly promotes your writing, it might well be the difference between a so-so site and a stand-out one that agents, editors, and fans will remember.
Option #3: Custom format and style.
Using a cookie-cutter template results in a ho-hum, impersonal site that looks just like thousands of other websites out there. A customized website reinforces your brand, demonstrates your professionalism, and distinguishes you from your peers.
If you must use a template, make sure it suits your online persona and offers opportunities for customization. Choose a template that allows you to change colors and fonts and to replace generic images with custom images.
Option #4: Social media optimization.
Social media feeds will make your website more functional—and also add a personal touch. When you post news on your Facebook author page or tweet about your latest contest, these news items will automatically appear on your site and help keep your promotional efforts up-to-the-minute.
Be sure to post regularly on all of your social media platforms and interact with your followers often. Providing fresh and interesting information is a surefire way to keep fans visiting and to stand out from the crowd.
A Word Of Caution: Personalize But Don’t Sacrifice Professionalism
Putting any of these strategies into effect will help you create a hard-to-forget author website that attracts lots of visitors and keeps them coming back for more. But don’t let your efforts to be different get out of control and obscure the professionalism that agents, editors, and fans expect to see. You don’t want your site to be outlandish—you want it to be outstanding!
QUESTION: Who has the most unique author website you’ve ever seen?