‘ello! One of the questions you have probably asked yourself several times is what exactly your author website should have on it. Let me compare choosing what to have on your site to packing for a vacation.
Have you ever been packing for a trip and had half your closet laid out on your bed trying to decide what to bring? And then when you finally have the perfect configurations of outfits they don’t fit in the suitcase. You want to avoid this type of scenario when decided what content to include on your site.
After packing for many, many trips with small children, I finally learned a formula that worked for me. I first determine what I needed to pack. Then chose the clothing items with the most versatility and neatly arranged them so everything fit.
For your website content, you need to pick only those things that will be the most beneficial for your readers and your sales. Once you have chosen what to include you also have to arrange it in such a way that it will be easy to find. Here is what you need on your website:
There are four basic things that every author website should have:
- About the Author
- List of Books
- Contact Page
- Call to Action/Mailing List Sign up
In fact, if this is all that your website has on it–that’s enough. Here is a little more detail on what these pages entail.
About the Author
This is where you put your author bio. It can be longer than the bios you included in the back of your books, or on social media sites. You can also include an author photo (which I highly recommend). A lot of times the “About the Author” info will be included on the home page because otherwise, they are usually pretty bare.
You could also include upcoming events such as signings or conferences where you readers can find you. If you have a lot of these, though, they can go on their own page.
List of Books
Most readers are probably coming to your website to look and see what books you have written. So including a list of them, complete with links to where they can be purchased, is essential. A side note, signing up to be an affiliate of your book distributors and using those links on your site will give you an extra kick back. Also, if you are feeling adventurous you could actually sell books straight from your site. Many authors sell signed copies from their sites.
A contact page allows your readers/fans to reach out to you–without you having to give them your direct email address. They can fill out the form and send you a message. You can then reply to them if you like. This is a good way to facilitate reader interaction. Most of the time the messages I get are: “When is the next book coming out!” It’s a great boost to hear directly from people who are enjoying my writing.
Call to Action/Mailing List Sign up
Your best marketing resource is a mailing list filled with readers and fans that have opted in to hear your latest news. You can email them directly using a newsletter system such as MailChimp, Mailer Light, or Constant Contact. They are already interested in your work and most will instantly buy when you announce a new release. So the most important thing on your website is a place for people to sign up for your mailing list.
Bells and Whistles
There are other things you can include on your author websites. I have a “Recommended Reading” list on my site with some books that I personally love.
You could have a blog or a news feed. I use the blog functionality of my site to easily make announcements such as release dates, promotions, and events.
If you want more than just the basics on your site but have no idea what to do–try going to the sites of some of your favorite authors. Or famous authors you have heard a lot about. If you see something that you like on their sites, you can totally incorporate it into yours.
But remember, you are looking for something that works for you. Just because everyone else is doing something one way doesn’t mean you have to. Just like with your writing–do what works for you.
So sit down and start thinking about what you want to include on your site. We’ll talk about layout next week.