When it comes to finding success as a writer, there are few elements more important than a website. This post shares the five things author websites need to find more success. Sure, authors can get more advanced, but checking every box on this list is imperative.
Believe it or not, these are all pretty easy elements to add to your site. (By the way, click here to make sure your WordPress website is protected from a potential vulnerability).
Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less!
It’s indisputable: All authors must have their own website. It’s critical for effective marketing (online and offline), as well as long-term career growth. Even unpublished authors can benefit greatly from establishing a starter site. Why? You work through the learning curve, you build online awareness, you make contacts in the writing and media world, and more opportunities open up to you.
In Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less, writers will learn 5 simple (and free) services that help your create a codeless website, how to add multimedia to your site, how to integrate social media sharing tools, what site upgrades or additional features that might be worth further investment, common mistakes and pitfalls (and how to avoid them), and so much more!
5 Things Author Websites Need to Find More Success
If you include these five things on your website, you'll be ahead of the game for most authors. So let's take a look at them.
#1: Most Recent Updates and News
If you like to blog, consider feeding it onto the home page of your website. This will give potential readers a reason to regularly visit. But even if you don't feed in regular content, be sure to regularly update your website home page with the most recent updates and news related to your writing career. Have a new book coming out? Include the release date and cover. Link to upcoming speaking appearances. And anything else relevant to your target audience.
#2: Calls to Action
If people are going to make the time and effort to visit your website, then give them something to do. Here are a few possible calls to action authors can include on their home page (and secondary pages):
- Sign up for newsletter and/or mailing list.
- Buy books.
- Register for an (online or in person) event.
- Connect on social media.
#3: Contact Info
Speaking connecting with people, make sure that you're easy to contact. Include links to social media sites so people can friend, follow, and/or fan you. Also, include your e-mail address or the e-mail of your agent and/or publicist. If you don't want your e-mail address to go public, do what many other authors do. Create a contact form.
#4: About You
Believe it or not, the About You page is the second most popular page on most author websites (after the home page). The reason is simple. People who search for you surely want to know more about you. So give them more information. Some of the best About You pages I've read start with a short version, followed by a long version. And don't be afraid to link to other places on your website from this page (like your books, upcoming events, and blog, if you have one). This is one place where it's completely acceptable for you to let people know who you are.
They say an image is worth 1,000 words. And I don't know who they are, but I've read a few things with fewer than 1,000 words that are worth 1,000 images. Still, it's true that images draw human beings closer. Including images of yourself humanizes your author site for potential readers. Book covers capture readers too.
Of course, there are so many more advanced elements you could add to an author website. And if you get really serious about optimizing your website, you'll want to dig into analytics and search engine optimization. But work up to it. If you do these 5 things, your author site is going to rock.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, specifically working on the Market Books, WritersMarket.com, and maintaining the Poetic Asides blog. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.