Category Archives: Author Website Design

The Best Author Website Strategies Of Professional Writers | Web Design Relief

If you want readers, editors, and literary agents to take you seriously as a professional writer, you must have an author website. And when your writer website incorporates smart marketing strategies, you reap the double bonus of also proving that you’re committed to building your reputation through enthusiastic outreach. If you want to boost your reputation and your marketing power, Web Design Relief shows you how with tips hacked from the author website strategies of successful writers.

Author Website Content Strategies That Show Publishing Professionalism

Professional author website domain name (URL). Your author URL is your professional address; it should be relevant and memorable (with no extensions that indicate that your website was built using free software). Here’s how to decide which author website domain name is right for you.

Custom, ad-free layout. Cheap or free websites often seem like a good deal—except that many of them contain advertisements. Visitors to your author website shouldn’t be distracted by spammy ads that give off the wrong vibe. Your website should also be personalized as much as your budget allows; after all, your unique voice is your best selling point in your writing career.

Integrated social media feeds. Regularly updating your social media feeds is a great way to grow your audience. But did you know that you can also set your social media updates to appear automatically and instantly on your author website? Not only does this tactic demonstrate to agents and editors that you are committed to marketing, but also keeps your author website fresh and interesting with very little extra effort on your part.

Links to your published works. Whether your published works are poems in literary magazines or full-length books, make it easy for visitors to read your writing. Linking to your published materials demonstrates pride in your work.

Opportunities to sign up for your mailing list. By creating incentives that tempt visitors to sign up for your mailing list, you send a message to industry professionals that you are happy to embrace smart marketing strategies—and you are also setting the stage to support a wide readership. Learn more about which tactics can get people to sign up for your writer mailing list.

Easy-to-use “contact me” page. Make it easy for a literary agent or editor to reach out to you with career-building opportunities by creating a simple “contact me” page. You don’t have to give away your personal information in order to be easy to reach (and it isn’t recommended to do so online). Instead, you can use a plugin to hide your private info, minimize spammers, and facilitate easy outreach for website visitors.

Good headshot. You don’t need to fork over a ton of money to have a great author portrait taken. While a professional photographer can help ensure good lighting, focus, and flattering retouching, you may be able to create an author headshot using nothing more than a simple point-and-shoot or one of the amazing phone photo apps available now. Learn more about how to create a professional-looking DIY author portrait.

And The Best News Is…

Having an author website—even if it’s very basic—is a huge indicator of a writer’s dedication to building a reputation in the publishing industry. So even if you have a very simple author website, you’re already ahead of the game.

If you don’t have an author website, there’s never been a better time to get one! Web Design Relief offers a range of author website design options for writers of all genres and budgets. And our publishing experts can advise you on the strategies that readers, literary agents, and editors love to see.

 

Question: What has been most helpful to you in building your reputation as a committed writer?

Should You Renovate Your Author Website Or Start Over? | Web Design Relief

Visit a few of your favorite author websites and you’ll see some that just need a little touch-up, while others need a complete overhaul. Where does your author website fall on the spectrum? Is your author website a fixer-upper, or does it need to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch? The experts at Web Design Relief can help you determine whether you should renovate your author website or start over.

Reasons Why You Should Rebuild Your Author Website From Scratch

Much-needed updates. Let’s face it—having an outdated author platform isn’t the best marketing strategy. It can be a big red flag to web visitors that your website, and maybe even your content, is outdated. When your author website design is missing key, up-to-date features like social media widgets, mobile-friendly layouts, and responsive images, it is better to start from scratch than try to extensively manipulate your current website.

Rebranding. While some authors find their niche and stick to it, others take their career in an entirely new direction. For example, if you’re a children’s book author and are now suddenly publishing horror novels, a new website is certainly in order. This can help you better target your new audience and increase your readership.

New concepts or functions. For many authors, their websites serve as an online storefront to sell books and other merchandise. However, now most authors are shifting to selling their books on third-party retailers like Amazon, or simply offering them as e-books on Kindle and Nook. If you’re thinking about ditching the shopping cart or adding a new concept to your website (like creating a platform for blogging), it’s time for a new website!

Writing career relaunch. If you’ve taken a break from writing for a prolonged period of time, you may feel like you simply need to dust off your old author website. However, a new website can actually give your career a boost! How? Rather than emphasizing the gap in your writing career (which may be evident if you’re using your old site), a new website will give your readers a visual treat with eye-catching designs, new logos, updated headshots, and insights into forthcoming projects!

A bigger, better budget. If your website was originally built on a shoestring budget, and you now have the finances available to create something better, the smarter choice is to invest in a completely new author website rather than renovating the old one. You can toss out those overused, standard website themes and opt for a completely customized website! Instead of sticking to basics, you can choose interactive design features like scrolling headers, oscillating color schemes, and more. And even better, you can now have someone else do all the work! Hire the professionals at Web Design Relief.

Reasons Why You Should Renovate Your Author Website (And How To Do It)

Update your color scheme. This is one of the easiest ways to update your author website and give its overall appeal a boost. The latest trends call for neutral shades with a vibrant pop of color, but play around with your settings until you find a color story that suits your writing style and genre!

Add or update your photos. Breathe new life into your existing website! Update your headshot and add some new accent photos of important events in your writing career. 

Social media integration. For a successful writing career, networking is a must. Add social media follow buttons to your header or footer (or both!) so readers and industry insiders can stay connected and follow you.

Your writing career is ever-changing, and your author website should keep up with current design trends as well as your latest writing news. If you’ve undergone a major change in your career, or your website is stuck in the wrong decade, it may be time to start from scratch. Or you may just need a bit of polish in order to shine. Need more tips on how to revitalize your author website? We’ve got you covered.

 

Question: Which feature do you like most on an author website, and which do you think are dated?

How To Start A Book Review Blog—And Score Some Free Books! | Web Design Relief

If you are a ravenous book reader, you may be able to turn your passion for the written word (and your love of sharing your opinion) into a rewarding book review blog. Not only do book review bloggers get the satisfaction of reading and critiquing, they also often score free books from writers and publishers who want to generate some book review blogger buzz. Here’s what Web Design Relief wants you to know about how to start a book review blog!

How To Start Your Own Book Review Blog

Pinpoint a genre/readership. Although your reading tastes may run the gamut from quiet literary fiction to noisy international espionage thrillers, you may want to focus your book review blog on one specific genre. When you focus clearly on a particular target audience, you’ll have a better chance of connecting effectively with that specific readership.

Sharpen your hook. There are a lot of book review blogs out there. What makes yours stand out? Now is the time to think about how you might distinguish your blog from others.

  • Do you want to write a “shock jock” style book review blog that invites controversy by both delighting and enraging readers? Are you willing to risk being alienated by certain writers or book review-seeking publishers by having an in-your-face style that cuts to the heart of reader concerns?
  • Or do you prefer a milder, more moderate approach that focuses on the positive, supporting the authors who inspire you while choosing not to devote attention to those books that don’t spark your interest?

Find your voice as a blogger. The tone and style of your book reviews will help define your future readership. If you are reviewing books that have an academic or literary focus, you may be able to get away with writing long, formal, winding sentences in your book reviews. But keep in mind that the most popular bloggers often embrace a witty, chatty, casual style, because the way people read using a computer or mobile device is different from how they read print. Learn more: Author Website Copy: Five Essential Tips For Writing Web Text.

Establish a format for your book reviews. The traditional publishing industry format for book reviews includes dedicating the majority of the review to the facts of the book in question (story/content/synopsis/background). Only in the last few sentences, would you share your personal opinion and include both strengths and weaknesses of the book.

But you don’t have to stick to the traditional style of writing book reviews. As a blogger, you can take creative liberties with your book reviews. You may decide that the bulk of your review should focus on opinion, with only a few sentences dedicated to summary of the book itself.

Develop a book ranking scale. Another thing to consider is how you will rate or rank the books on your book review blog. You can use a traditional five-star system, or you can develop your own rating guide—using anything from emojis to color schemes. You may want to link each of your book reviews to an explanation of your personal book ranking system so that readers who are new to your blog can understand it.

Focus on value. Whatever the format/style/voice you choose for your book reviews, keep in mind that the most successful book reviews are those that are practical and helpful to readers who are trying to decide whether to read or buy a given book. Readers who are looking for the next great addition to their TBR list may not want to waste their time reading a lengthy diatribe about a book you consider a “don’t buy.” They might prefer to spend their time learning about a book they will actually want to read.

Select which books you will review. Your choice of book titles to review will say a lot about who you are as a blogger and what you value as a reader. Will you choose to join the conversation by reviewing nationally released, buzzworthy books that are already being discussed all over the Internet? Or will you focus on hidden gems from independent presses? 

Keep reviews short, memorable, and quotable. Book readers want you to cut to the chase and let them know what makes a particular book a great read. Witty insights, pithy phrases, and unique perspectives can make your book reviews memorable. Plus, authors who are happy with your turn of phrase might just feature your book review quote and URL on the cover of their next book release—which will help spread the word about your book blogging efforts!

Reach out. Book bloggers rarely succeed by writing in a vacuum. To generate an audience and increase the likelihood that writers and publishers will send free books your way, you’ll need to do some marketing. Here are a few ideas:

  • Connect with other book bloggers
  • Reach out to writing groups to invite book submissions
  • Cross-promote with other bloggers
  • Host book giveaway contests
  • Feature writer interviews/Q&As/guest bloggers
  • Integrate your book reviews with social media feeds 

Final Thoughts: Are You A Book Reviewer? Or A Writer?

If you are active in the creative writing community as an author, you may want to be aware of how your book reviews will be received within the community of your peers. What you write today about a given author’s book could affect you tomorrow if you sit down at a luncheon and an author you once lambasted is seated right beside you. Also, if you come down hard on a particular publisher’s title in a way that makes a big splash, that publisher might not be particularly receptive when it’s time for you to pitch your own book for publication.

Your words have power—as both a book lover and an author, you’ll have to make decisions about your priorities and values if you decide to start a book review blog. Learn more about what it means to be an author who also writes book reviews.

 

Question: What most influences your decision to buy a book?

5 Mistakes Writers Make On Their Author Websites (And The Easy Fixes) | Web Design Relief

Did you know that every website needs regular care and housekeeping? So unless you have a fairy godmother or can sing well enough to inspire woodland creatures to assist you with your chores, you should keep a virtual broom and wrench handy. Even the most meticulous author website design may experience issues that arise over… Continue Reading

Is A “Free” Website REALLY Free? 10 Things Writers Need To Know | Web Design Relief

You know all the reasons you need an author website—to act as your online information source for readers, editors, and agents; to provide a hub for your author platform, etc. But like most folks, you don’t want to spend all of your hard-earned cash building a website. Budget-conscious writers might therefore jump at the chance… Continue Reading


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