By Voirey Linger
A website is an important platform for today’s author, but it can be hard to know just what to include. Not every author needs the same things, and it’s easy to stuff your site so full of clutter that visitors can’t find the important things. Not only that, but sometimes it’ hard to figure out just what the important things are.
Here’s a quick look at some website basics, things to include, avoid and what might be optional.
What You Need
There are a few basics that all author websites should have.
A landing or home page – This page acts as a welcome mat, inviting visitors to explore your site more. it’s a good idea to refresh your home page anywhere from monthly to quarterly. Keep your most current news up-front and make sure your latest releases are highlighted. If you have a release scheduled in the near future, use this slot to promote it, but make sure updating it to “now available” is part of your release day planning.
An about me page – This page is part biography, part press packet. Make sure it’s up-to-date and check it annually to see if you need to adjust or update any information. If you have an author photo, make sure it looks professional and represents the image you want to portray. If you are represented by an agent, including it on this page is a must.
A contact page – Include some way for visitors to contact you. An email form is a good idea, but including your business email address works as well.
A bookshelf – Visitors often visit author websites to find more information about books. This makes bookshelf page that includes all titles a must-have. If you write series, a reading order list is also a must-have.
In addition to the must-have items, there are things that are just a good idea.
Social Media Links – Include direct links to all of your active social media so readers can find and follow you on the platform that best suits them. Don’t make them hunt for your handle or page. Direct links are easier and get more results.
Newsletter Sign-Up – If you have a newsletter, make it quick and easy for visitors to get on the list.
A Printable Book List – A PDF title list that includes series reading order is fairly easy to upload and makes it easy for interested readers to find the books they want.
Buy Links – Include links to your pages or individual products on bookseller sites. Visitors can easily click-through and get the item in seconds.
A Blog – Blogging isn’t for everybody, but if you’re able to do it as little as once a month, providing a blog post can keep readers in-touch and up-to-date with you and your books.
A Sidebar – Sidebars are a great way to keep the content you want to promote visible on all pages. Newsletter sign-ups, social media links, and the cover of your newest release all make great sidebar content.
A Schedule – This can include anything from blogging schedules, to book releases, to author signings. This shows the visitor that you are an active author and provides more opportunity for author/reader interaction.
Associate Links – When available, an associate link can provide increased revenue for authors with no increase in expense for readers. This also applies to personal off-site sale venues, such as t-shirt shops.
Games, Contests & Interactive Content – Interactive content gives readers reason not only to return regularly, but to share the site with others.
Are there any other features you like finding on author websites?