Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 Let’s face it—having an outdated author platform isn’t the best marketing strategy. It can be a big red flag to web visitors that your website, and maybe even your content, is outdated.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?

Why You Need An Author News Page On Your Website | Web Design Relief

Have you considered creating a News Page on your author website? Don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea, even if you’re not a famous writer (yet!). Web Design Relief knows that all writers—from newbies to best-selling authors—can benefit from having an Author News Page on their websites.

But what if you think you don’t have any news to post? You may be surprised how much you really do have to share, and how much a News Page can help you!

What Is Considered “Newsworthy” For Your Author Website?

New publications. Do you have a new book about to hit shelves? Did a literary journal pick up one of your poems, stories, or essays? Announce this to your fans! We know authors tend to be more on the shy side and not naturally inclined to brag. But think of it less as bragging and more as sharing your good news—your readers are sure to be just as happy as you are! And they’ll want to celebrate with you.

Updates on your publication journey. There may be a long gap between when you announce your poem, story, essay, or book is going to be published and when it is actually published. So when publication finally happens, be sure to update your readers. You can also share important steps on your path to publication. Some ideas: signing your contract, learning your publication date, revealing your book cover—all newsworthy moments!

Book signings and readings. Giving public readings from your book and having book signing events are great ways to boost your sales and build your fan base. Plus, they’re fun (once you get the hang of them)! Of course you want as many fans—and potential new fans—as possible to attend your events, so get the word out on your Author News Page as soon as you know the details. You can also promote the event again as it gets closer.

Speaking engagements. You can also build your reputation as an author by sitting on panels, speaking at writing conferences and seminars, and so forth. These events let you use your expertise as a writer, and they’re excellent fodder for your author website’s News Page too! Just like book signings, nudge readers about the event as it gets closer—and remember to post the details as early as possible so that everyone interested can put it on their calendars.

Social media posts. If you’re worried about having enough “news” to regularly post on your author website’s News Page, consider integrating a social media feed or two into the page. Depending on which programs and widgets you choose, this could also ease some pressure on you—especially if you’re busy or not totally comfortable with social media. You’ll be posting updates in fewer places because your pages will sync automatically!

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Your News Page

Host events only in public places. Bookstores, libraries, and even venues like cafés are perfect for author events. Once you plan them, definitely announce these events on your author website’s News Page right away—but be sure to only share the address of the event, not your own home address or contact info.

Be careful when you post photos. If you’re going to share photos of yourself at home—signing a contract, for example!—make sure the location can’t be accessed. Though geotagging can be incredibly helpful in the modern age for public events, it’s just not a good idea concerning your home address. To protect your safety, you shouldn’t post the town your home is in. This is something to also be careful about when using social media sites. Some social media sites strip out location info, but some do not. For example: Be sure to turn off Tweet Location if tweeting from home! 

For more tips on protecting your personal information on your author website—such as your email address, phone number, and legal name—check out this article! 

And Remember—You Have More News Than You Think!

Sure, a handful of best-selling authors will have national tours and fancy awards to post about—but literary agents and literary journal editors won’t expect that from every writer. Even smaller news is worth sharing—genuine connections and fan interactions matter so much more in the long run! Plus, these news items make readers feel like they’re really getting to know you.

Ready to build an author website with a News Page? Don’t worry if you’re not tech savvy—Web Design Relief is always here to help! Reach out for your free consultation to talk us through your vision and get a price quote today.

 

Question: Would you consider adding a News Page to your author website? What would your first post be?

How Do You Spell SEO? Tips to Help Search Engines Find Your Books | Web Design Relief

With thousands of books published every day, one of the biggest hurdles for up-and-coming authors is discoverability. In order to successfully sell your book, an interested reader has to know about it! So how do you get the word out about your book? The experts at Web Design Relief know that one of the most effective methods is to improve your author website search engine optimization (SEO).

The Importance Of SEO For Selling Books

SEO is the process of optimizing certain elements on your author website, most importantly the text, in order to boost your site’s ranking in relevant web searches. A higher rank on a web search means more readers will discover your book, increasing the opportunities for making a sale.

Relevancy is key. If you’re selling books, you don’t need to be highly ranked in searches for dishwashing liquid or dieting tips—unless that’s what your book is about. You want your dark contemporary potboiler to be seen by people searching for their next thrilling read.

The best way to raise your website’s ranking is to skillfully pepper your text and metadata with the precise keywords and phrases that accurately describe your book and will attract an audience that’s looking for your genre.

Choosing the right keywords and keyword phrases can take some time and practice. It’s a good idea to brainstorm in order to come up with more keywords than you need, then trim the list to only the best.

Home In On The Keywords Your Readers Are Searching For:

  • Define your book’s genre in a way that will attract specific readers. Instead of fiction, for example, consider “dystopian young adult fiction.”
  • Break out the thesaurus and come up with synonyms for the above, like “apocalyptic young adult fiction,” or “dark young adult fiction.”
  • Fiction writers: Search for lists of fitting tropes, such as “tragic genius,” “love triangle,” or “manic pixie dream girl.”
  • Nonfiction writers: Drill down to the specific problem your book addresses that your reader is trying to solve, such as “dieting without hunger” or “city gardening for apartment dwellers.”
  • Consider the keyword phrases your ideal reader might use when searching for a book like yours, such as “perfect beach read,” “children’s book about siblings,” or “vegan recipes for Thanksgiving.”
  • For inspiration and guidance, check out similar books on e-retailers to see which genre categories have been chosen and which keywords your competitors use in their book descriptions.

How To Optimize Keywords

Once you have a list, it’s time to select the best of your keywords. There are several ways to determine their strength and popularity:

  • Search Engines. Type your keyword phrases into Google and note the websites that come up on the first page. Are the websites similar in content to yours, or are they utterly irrelevant? Choose the keyword search terms that sync up most closely. You can also try this on Amazon, which acts as a big search engine for books.
  • Google Ads and Bing Ads. Signing up for Google or Bing Ads gives you access to their keyword planner tool. Type your keyword into this tool and you’ll get information about the average monthly searches for that keyword as well as a rating of the competition on their ads platform. A relevant keyword that has a lot of searches and low competition will likely help your website rank higher.
  • Amazon Incognito Search Function. If you start to type a keyword in Amazon’s search box, Amazon will auto-populate a drop-down list of keywords. This list is a measure of the most popular keywords that begin with the string of letters you’ve typed. It’s important, however, that you do this search in an “incognito” window so that the results aren’t warped by the data Amazon has collected about all your previous searches.

Using Keywords Effectively To Maximize SEO

Once you have a short list of highly relevant keywords, it’s time to use them in your text and within the back matter of your website. Use keyword phrases in important places for SEO, such as:

  • Author website title
  • Blog titles
  • First and last sentences of blogs, bios, etc.
  • First and last paragraphs of blogs, bios, etc.
  • Headers and subheaders

The more thoroughly you can use these keywords in the text on your website, on the landing page, on the author page, in the blog, and in the book descriptions, the better the chances you’ll rank higher for those Google search terms.

SEO is an effective way to raise your website’s visibility, which in turn increases your opportunities to draw more traffic to where you sell your books. Remember, however, to avoid keyword-stuffing, which can render your copy robotic. Smooth, compelling, and effective writing trumps all, so use keywords wisely.

 

QUESTION: Which keyword phrases would you use to describe your most recent project?

May 2018 Links Roundup | Web Design Relief

Welcome to May’s Links Roundup! This month, we’ve found must-read articles about how to use Instagram to improve your brand as a writer; split-testing tools to optimize your WordPress site; tips for writing a blog post series; and some fascinating new blogging statistics. Whether you create your own author website or Web Design Relief creates… Continue Reading

April 2018 Links Roundup | Web Design Relief

Spring is finally here—and so is our April Links Roundup! This month, Web Design Relief brings you tax tips for freelance writers and self-published authors; a blogger who discusses leaving then returning to blogging; insider info on using content marketing to its maximum effectiveness; common website mistakes revealed; and expert-level blog design tips for beginners.… Continue Reading


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