Category Archives: Author Website Design

How The Right Content On Your Author Homepage Makes Visitors Stick Around | Web Design Relief

One of the most important features of an author website is the homepage: It’s your business card, welcome mat, and first impression all rolled up in one! But with so many possibilities for content, it can be quite overwhelming to determine what does—or doesn’t—belong on your author homepage. Make the wrong choice, and visitors will quickly bounce. The experts at Web Design Relief have put together a list of design tips and key elements to help you build an effective, good-looking homepage that will encourage visitors to stick around and explore your site, check out your books, and sign up for your newsletter or mailing list.

Author Homepage Content That Readers Can’t Resist

A Clear-Cut Author Brand

Your homepage should clearly present your author brand: who you are as an author and the genre you write in. This can be reinforced by your homepage theme and layout. For your font and background, choose a style, color, or image that relates to your work. You can use elements that reflect your genre; for example, a dark, eerie mansion in the woods for horror, or hearts and flowers for romance. Or you can focus attention on your latest book by using the book cover in the banner the way Bella Andre does:

This is also a good place to bring your credentials to the forefront—don’t bury the lead! If you’re a bestselling author, now’s the time to mention it. If you have a great quote from a book reviewer, you want to get it in front of your audiences as well. You can also use this space to tell the story behind the story. But remember, clean and simple is much better than cluttered and distracting. You want your audience to know they are in the right place and be intrigued enough to continue reading.

The Scoop On Your Latest Book

If visitors are coming to your author website because they want to know more about your latest book—make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for! Use an eye-catching image of your book cover art, and be sure to feature any great quotes from reviewers. If you have a new book coming out, be sure to showcase it. Include a short book blurb to hook readers and turn them into buyers. Encourage visitors to go deeper within your website by offering the release date (if your book isn’t published yet) and linking to an excerpt. Or you can have Buy buttons that link to sites where your audience can purchase your book. Take a look at how Harlan Coben’s author website handles his pre-release info on his homepage:

An Irresistible Call To Action

Your call to action should be obvious on your homepage. You want visitors to easily perform the action you want: Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Read your blog? Buy your book? Whatever you determine your call to action will be, make sure it’s clear and engaging. And regularly check your analytics to determine how readers are coming to your author website and what pages they visit most. This will help you market more efficiently.

Keep things simple: If you want visitors to read your blog, include it as a page on your author website, rather than in a separate location. Have a link on your navigation bar for quick access. For newsletter sign-ups, you can have the sign-up box be a constant element on your sidebar so that it’s available to your reader on any page on your site. This way, you’ll provide a convenient opportunity without being too aggressive. Another option is to have a newsletter widget on the homepage that pops up whenever your site detects a visitor is about to leave. You’ll be surprised at how well it works! Here’s how author James Patterson gets more newsletter sign-ups:

Quick Connections To Social Media

While visitors are hanging around on your author website homepage, make sure they can also easily connect to your social media. Place recognizable Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter buttons or widgets in the sidebar, the book showcase section, or in the banner. The widgets will offer a sneak peek of your latest tweets, posts, or a few photos from your Instagram. You want your fans to be able to follow you on social media as well in order to get updates in real time. Here, Rita Woods has her social media buttons right next to her latest book on her author website homepage:

News About Upcoming Events

Showcase the latest news, publications, and upcoming events on your homepage: book tours, signings, or readings at local bookshops. You can add photos or videos from previous events as well. Fans enjoy reading about and meeting their favorite authors—and a meet-and-greet is a great opportunity to hand-sell your book! Engage your audience with news about contests, raffles, gifts, and refreshments. J.K. Rowling may not be serving any pumpkin juice, but her fans can catch up on her latest news right on her homepage:

With the right elements on your author homepage, you’ll entice visitors to stay longer and become dedicated fans.

If you don’t have an author website yet (and really, you should!), the experts at Web Design Relief are ready to help. There’s a package for every budget—schedule a free consultation today!

 

Question: What makes you want to spend time on an author’s website?

10 Easy Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Once you have an author website that works well for your genre and acts as your online business card, it’s time for the next step: getting your readers and potential new fans to visit! Your author website should act as an online hub where you can showcase your latest publication credits, offer links to purchase your books, update followers on your next public engagement, and much more. The marketing experts at Web Design Relief know how important it is to drive traffic to your website—and we’re sharing our secrets and tips with you!

How To Rise Above The Noise And Boost Traffic To Your Author Website

Engage On Social Media

Make sure you post a link to your author website on all your social media! Some writers maintain all their social media platforms using one social media managing site like Hootsuite or Buffer. You can then easily post website links and info on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all at once.

You should also feature social media icon buttons on your author website in order to cross-promote and build your audience.

Use Hashtags

It is important to get the social media posts featuring links to your author website in front of the widest audience possible. One way to do this is by using hashtags in your Instagram and Twitter posts. Hashtags group together posts with a common topic so that it’s easier for users to find the information they are interested in. Hashtags can be genre specific, such as #Horror, #RomanceWriter, #SciFi, or more specific to the writing process like #AmEditing or #Writing. If your new romance novel cover is ready, tweeting “Take a look at the new cover design for my latest book” with a link to your website and the hashtag #RomanceWriter will help you reach an audience beyond your own followers!

Put Your Website Address On Everything

As an author, you probably have business cards, flyers for readings, bookmarks, even books you’ve written—and your author website URL should appear on all of them! If you are doing a public reading, for example, having your website address on your handouts offers a way for members of the audience to find you (and your work!) after the reading. Find tips here for reading your writing in public.

Utilize Keywords For SEO

When writing content for your website, always include keywords to improve your site’s odds of showing up higher in search engine results. The closer to the top your website appears during a search, the more people will see it and click on your website. One of the reasons for this is sheer immediacy, but another is because many people think links that populate first are superior to those found three pages down. You can use tools like Google Suggests to find the best SEO keywords for your website blog content.

Collaborate With Other Authors

Working with other authors is a great way to promote your website and encourage new visitors! By combining your fan-building efforts with other writers, you can reach a larger audience than you would on your own. When one member of your author team publishes a short story, poem, or book, all the members can share the news with their followers—along with your website addresses. You can also host readings together to pull in a larger audience and cross-promote your website to bring in more traffic. A combined book giveaway or writing challenge is another way to attract more visitors to your website.

Give Visitors A Reason To Stop By

Everyone loves a freebie! Entice visitors to your author website with special content: an exclusive chapter or background story for a character, or a sneak peek at your new cover art, or access to your new book trailer.

While it is important for audiences to visit your author website, it is also crucial that they engage with it once they are there. Create a call to action that gets visitors to sign up for your newsletter or e-mail list.

Interact In Your Online Community

Make connections! There is a large community of readers and writers out there, and being active in that community will bring curious readers to your website. Comment on other people’s social media posts and visit other author websites.

Write Guest Posts

Writing guest posts for other websites or blogs is a great way to reach a new audience for your writing and your author website. Just be sure that the site you are guest blogging for is a good match for you and your work! And don’t write a guest post that is basically just an advertisement for you and your website: Offer something useful and interesting.

Update Your Author Website

A slow, outdated website will cause visitors and potential new fans to bounce more quickly than a kangaroo on a trampoline. Periodically review your author website to ensure all the links work, the information is current, and there is nothing hindering the speed of your website.

Track Your Visitors

Programs like Google Analytics let you track how people found your site so you can better understand which promotional tactics are most effective.

By following these ten tips, you’ll be able to bring more traffic to your author website and build your audience for your writing. And if you don’t have an author website—what’s stopping you? It’s easier and more affordable than you’d think! Contact Web Design Relief today to schedule a free consultation and learn more!

 

Question: How do you attract visitors to your author website?

12 Author Website Design Trends That Will Be Outdated In 2020 | Web Design Relief

Each year, website design trends shift, and what was once popular becomes stale and outdated. It’s important to keep your author website’s style and technology current with the latest trends to give your content more validity and make it easier for visitors to navigate the information. But with so many options and new developments, how do you know what to keep and what to toss? The experts at Web Design Relief pay close attention to what’s hot and what’s not. To ensure your author website is on trend, consider updating any outmoded design elements.

Say Goodbye To These Author Website Design Trends

Clip Art: Those illustrated symbols, images, and pictures preloaded on your computer may be your go-to favorites (they’re just a few quick clicks away), but clip art can make your author website look old-school—and not in a cool ’70s-retro way. There are better ways to incorporate images and art on your website. You can use your smartphone to take high-quality photos, purchase stock photos, or hire a freelance artist to create custom artwork. Check out this article about banishing clip art.

Multiple Font Combinations: Yes, Google now offers countless fonts to choose from, and it can be difficult to select just one or two. However, using multiple fonts—especially a mix of serif, sans serif, and decorative fonts—can look unnecessarily busy and amateurish. Instead, we recommend sticking to one font or font family to make sure your website meets professional standards and current design aesthetics.

Infinite Scrolling: While having all of your content on one multi-leveled page was once very popular, scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling is now falling out of favor. Many web designers realize it’s not as efficient and organized as using separate pages—plus having one large page can increase loading time, causing impatient visitors to bounce.

Autoplay: Have you ever been busy working or web browsing (or been web browsing when you should be working)—and suddenly unwanted audio blares from your computer, smartphone, or tablet? Autoplay videos and audio are annoying (and potentially embarrassing) to visitors who simply want to view your website’s content without unexpectedly hearing your voice echoing through the library or your favorite song suddenly serenading the entire office. If they want to view your videos or listen to your podcasts, they will! In addition, having autoplay content can cause unwanted data usage for mobile websites.

Separate Locations: Many website owners initially kept their main website content separate from their mobile sites and blogs. This multisite approach is becoming less popular than having a more convenient all-in-one website that allows visitors to easily find all of your content and establishes a strong brand identity.

Too Many Widgets: Widgets can be extremely helpful, but using an overabundance of these applications will make your website harder to navigate and can interfere with its functionality. It is possible to have too many widgets. Instead, use as few applications as possible per page, whether social media widgets, mailing list, chat bot, etc.

Splash Pages: A splash page is a logo, image, or message that launches your website prior to your interior pages. While these pages were once considered a great way to establish a brand identity, they are often slow to load and keep website visitors from getting to the content they came for. To keep your audience interested and engaged, speed and efficiency are key!

Not Having A Pleasing Color Palette: Two color trends are quickly making their exit: One is cramming as many colors as possible onto a website; the other is using monochromatic black and white. The first is much too distracting, while the second can be too boring! Instead, thoughtful use of complementary shades with pops of color can make your website look professional and appealing. Check out some color combination ideas here.

Animations: While animations can draw attention to certain spots on your website, they are losing their place on modern websites. Animations aren’t mobile-friendly, and nowadays most people view web content using mobile devices. Nothing looks as tacky and dated as an unresponsive graphic.

Default Themes: Default or standard website themes may look nice, but they aren’t an effective marketing strategy. They do not show the uniqueness of who you are as a writer or what you create, which can hurt your brand identity. A custom website is a marketing gold mine!

No Contact Form: Having your e-mail address on your author website is a big no-no—it’s a dangerous security risk that opens your e-mail and your website to spam. Communicating via contact forms is the better alternative. Always keep your website and your web visitors safe.

Customized Cursors And Scroll Bars: Does having a cursor of a book or a scroll bar shaped like a pencil seem like a good idea for your author website? It would be, if it were still 1995! Custom-designed cursors and scroll bars are now considered awkward and unwieldy, and they can divert the attention of your web visitors from what you actually want them to be noticing.

Keeping up with the latest trends will help you maintain a fresh, professional-looking author website—one that your readers and fans will visit again and again. If your website features some outdated elements, now’s the time to update and give your website an overhaul. Or, schedule a free consultation and let the experts at Web Design Relief create a new, great-looking author website for you!

 

Question: What website trend are you ready to say goodbye to?

How To Juggle More Than One Author Website | Web Design Relief

Sometimes the idea of having two of something sounds wonderful! (Unless it’s a paper cut, of course.) Yet many writers might think that maintaining not one, but two author websites would be exhausting. At Web Design Relief, we know there are major benefits to compartmentalizing your online content. Not only will it make your books… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading


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