When I sat down to build my first author website in preparation for my series launching I was completely lost. Not because I didn’t know how to build a website (I’d been doing that for years) but because I did not know what one should put on an author website. So I googled a few of my favorite authors and pulled up the sites of the ones I regularly visited–and took some notes.
I didn’t do everything I saw or liked. But I tried out several things and found what worked for me. I also built a site for my series (DragonsTrust.com if you want to see what I did with it). There are two points I want you to consider when thinking about what to include on your author website.
- Do what works for you.
- More is less.
I clean and elegant design that is easy to navigate will give your readers and potential readers the best experience. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Save the flashy stuff for your book, or series websites if you plan to have them. You want your site to fill three very simple roles:
- Discoverability through google searches.
- Collect emails for your newsletter/mailing list.
- Drive people to where they can buy your books.
Yes, I did two lists in one post. It makes it more scannable. While researching example websites for this post I found so many great ones that I created a resource page dedicated to author website examples. I’m only going to spotlight three here so be sure to check out the resource page for other great examples.
The following three examples are all designed and created by the author herself using Weebly or Wix. I picked these as examples to highlight because I want to show you that it can be done without hiring someone.
Let’s look first at Kay P Dawson’s site. You will notice right off the bat that it has all three of the elements I listed above. By having the domain name (that’s the URL: http://www.kaypdawson.com) the site is likely to pop up on the first page when someone googles her name. I should point out that you don’t need to stress about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) just yet.
Secondly, notice that she has a menu option dedicated to subscribing to her newsletter?
And if you scroll down a bit you see that she is featuring a book complete with links to everywhere that they can be purchased.
The design and layout are simple and easy to navigate and the theme matches the books that she writes.
Kay did her site using Wix.
Next, let’s look at Janelle’s site. She used Weebly to build her site. The first thing that struck me was how attractive her logo and author name in the banner are. Again we see a nice, simple design that is easy to navigate.
Instead of featuring a book, Janelle has her “call to action” to join her mailing list featured at the top of her page. Notice also that it is not a pop-up window. I personally find those very annoying and I close them right away.
The Bookshelf page lays out all her books with beautiful covers. If you click on one of the covers it takes you to a page giving you more details–and links to buy the books. This is a great place to use affiliate links.
I pulled up Shaela Kay’s website because we both belong to an organization called Indie Author Hub. I was so impressed I immediately asked her who did her site so that I could mention them here. She did. She did it herself using Weebly. Her site is beautiful. I love pretty much everything about it.
She does not have a call to action prominent anywhere, but some authors don’t trouble with mailing lists. And that is totally fine.
Like all the others she has a clean easy to navigate design. The URL is her author name. And she has a page of books with purchase links.
These are three very good examples of author websites. For more inspiration try looking up some of your favorite authors to see what they have done.
P.s. Why didn’t I include my author website? Because I built it myself from scratch. That takes quite a bit of technical know-how and my goal here is to help you to build a site yourself. So, I left my site off the list of examples.