Laying Out Your Website

‘ello, last week I talked about what you should have on your author website. Now I would like to say a few things about the layout. Have you ever been on, for example, a restaurant’s website? And no matter how hard you look you cannot find the location, hours, or menu? When you are about to give up you find them buried in some corner of the site?

You don’t want your readers to experience that. You need a clean, simple layout with easy to use navigation. A rule of thumb I like to use is that you should be able to get to any page from any page. This is accomplished by using the top menu. Your top menu items should fit along the top of the screen without wrapping. If you have more items to include you can have submenus. For example, you have several series so you have a Books menu item when it is clicked a drop-down menu appears with each of the series listed.

The goal here is to strike a balance between easy access and excessive menu items. You don’t want to have a thirty different menu items. This can be difficult to work out. But if you are feeling lost you can always look at other authors websites to see how they did it.

And, if you have just way too many pages to layout neatly on your site–you might be including too much information.

One more thing…

While we are on the subject I want to mention one more thing.

NEVER use the words “click here” for your link text. 

I know you see this all over the internet, but it is wrong. Chances are people are not going to be reading the entire page–they will be skimming. (Are you skimming this post?) And when they see the text “click here” they will have to stop and look for context. Then they have to read the whole sentence. “If you would like to see a list of the books I have written, click here.”

Consider instead this sentence. “Here is a list of books I have written.”

See how you did not have to read anything except the link text to know where it would take you? That is the proper way to use links in the body of text on your pages or blog posts.

I will now climb down from my soapbox.

Once you have your website content figure out, the next step is to start laying it out so it is easy to find.

Happy wording!


Writer, mother, coder, nerd. I have more than ten years of experience in software and web development. And I have a series of middle-grade fantasy books that I self-published. I am passionate about self-publishing and believe that anyone can do it. Elegantly Self Published is my blog dedicated to sharing my knowledge so that you can do just that.

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