Every website, including author websites sends out vibes of credibility. The strength or weakness of these vibes leave an imprint (aka first impression) on the reader’s mind.
Have you ever visited a mansion? What impression do you get when you visit one? (There are several in Newport, RI that you can, if you’ve never been to one.)
Have you ever visited a cabin? What impression do you get when you visit one?
Do the two impressions differ vastly from each other, or does it not matter because they’re both forms of shelter?
You’re smart. You know the answers to these questions.
You want your website to look more like a mansion, than a cabin. It leaves a fine imprint in your reader’s mind and conscious.
We should not, but we all do. We judge businesses by their look and feel of their website. Readers do the same when they are researching the author, and come across their website.
Here’s how to design and structure your author website so it exudes credibility.
Author Website Pages
Every author website should include the following pages at the bare minimum:
This is usually a difficult page to design because most authors don’t know what you add here.
Here is our recommendation:
- A short bio (linked to About page for full bio)
- A picture, description, and purchasing links of your newest book
- A short list of testimonials or reviews (complete list)
Most about pages are very dry. Some use self-deprecating humor. Very rarely, are people impressed with the About page.
For most people, this is the most difficult page to write. It’s a psychological thing. But, there are ways to make it interesting. Here are some ideas:
- Your story
- Your inspiration (what inspires you to continue writing)
- Writing style (talk about your writing style. Has it developed or modified over the years?)
- List examples of how you get ideas
- Include ways a reader/fan can bribe/spoil you when they meet you in person
If you have more than one book, be sure to have individual pages for each book. And then, also build a “Master” books page that shows all books and links to their individual book pages.
Each individual book page should contain:
- Book cover
- Description of the book
- Book purchasing links.
- Social sharing links that people can click on to share your page with their friends and family.
- 5-Star reviews / testimonials (as many as you can).
Events page should be divided into two sections – upcoming events and past events.
The upcoming events should be posted at the top of the page and labeled accordingly. The past events underneath it, and labeled accordingly.
Each of the upcoming event should also have a “Social Share” button that people can share the event with their friends and family on social media.
Lastly, there should always be a contact page that gives readers an opportunity to connect with the author.
This page is a bridge that connects your reader directly to you. How easy or difficult you make to travel that bridge depends on you.
Here’s a Pro Tip: When the reader develops a connection with the author, the book becomes an automatic sale.
Some authors provide no opportunities for readers to connect with them. Rather, they want everything going to their editor or publicist. That is completely okay to do, if you’re selling thousands of books on a regular basis.
But, if you’re not as big yet, you want to develop connection with your reader. Easier you make for the reader to reach you, better your near and long term book sales will be.
A blog is great way to keep your website updated on a regular basis, and readers engaged for the long term.
Success at blogging comes with consistency.
Be consistent about the length, general theme of posts, and day/time of your posting.
In essence, you want to add predictability to your actions. Once someone reads a couple of your posts, they should be able to guess that future posts will be similar in nature, size and will be posted approximately at the same time each week.
While blogs are great at search engine ranking factors, you want to write first and foremost for your readers. If your readers love it and come to it often, the search engines will automatically favor it.
Literary Resources (optional)
This is another great page to add to your website, and create a slight differentiation. Some ideas to add to this page:
- Places readers can get the latest news in the world of literature
- Places readers can get some free book
- Historic literary places and museums
- Literary conferences and expos
Books you love or recommend (optional)
This page gives reader more insight into you, as an author.
Also, it allows them to “be” like you and personally connect with you in a small way by reading the same books as you.
Many authors don’t do this. If you do, it can only benefit you.
Author Social Media
In today’s world, you need to be on social media if you want to market and sell your books. You don’t exactly have a choice. A website and social media are a must.
Here’s the thing though – You don’t have to be on all social media out there.
Know who your core audience is, and find out what social media sites they gather at. That’s where you want your presence to be.
Easiest way to link your social media pages to your website is to add icons. 99% of people do it this way. It’s a good way to do it.
You can take it a notch above by sharing your feed on the page itself. It displays two or three of the most current posts. Another benefit is people can interact with your social media posts without leaving your website.
An amazing way to use it is creating “Sharable” bytes.
- Got an event you’re participating it? Make that event sharable.
- Got a book page? Make that page sharable.
- Got other exciting news? Make that sharable.
You get the picture.
Author Website Design
While you can design your websites at Wix, or Squarespace, I recommend you use Hosted WordPress.
WordPress gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of design, layout, etc. Almost all WordPress sites are also Mobile-Friendly.
By the way, if your website is not mobile-friendly, figure out how to get it to be mobile-friendly. Google has been heavily penalizing websites that non-mobile-friendly since April 2015.
Author Email Marketing
Email Marketing is not Junk Email. Not if you add value to it every single time.
Email marketing becomes junk email if all your emails are about “Buy my book”. Your social media can also be junky if all your posts are “Buy my book”. Don’t do that.
Make sure signing up for your newsletter is easy, and it’s visibility is prominent. Also, ensure it’s available on every page of your website. You can either put it on the right side column on each page, or in the footer section.
If you can add incentives for people to sign-up, even better. These days, most people will not sign up for a newsletter without an amazing incentive. Here are some incentive ideas:
- Sign-up and you’ll be entered into a contest that entitles the winner to a free book at the end of month.
- Sign-up and receive the Deleted Chapters of “XYZ” book. Remember the “Deleted Scenes” that a DVD used to have? Same concept.
- Sign-up and get a “Prequel” of “XYZ Book” for FREE.
- Sign-up for backstory of “Main Character”.
All you need is creativity to create these bonuses.
Another way to get sign-ups for your email newsletter is to create a “Email Course”. Here are some course ideas:
- Want to become like “Main Character Name”? For the next 7 days, I will share one character trait everyday about this person, and give you ways to incorporate it in your life.
- Learn how to become a spy in the next 5 days.
- Eat like “Main Character” for the next 7 days. You will get daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner recipes.
The more closely the structure of your author website resembles to the above laid ideas, the more credibility your website will exude.
It is my hope that as you read through each of the sections above, you went … “Yes, yes, and yes. My website includes all that, and then some.“
If not, you want to contact us. We can build you a website that exudes credibility.
At Websum, we believe …
Everyone should benefit from our efforts, especially the ones who are unable to help themselves. The way to make this world a better place and create positive impact is by donating a part of our earnings to an organization that makes this world a better place, and creates positive impact.