In this post I’m going to talk about all the things an author website should have. These are all pretty obvious and yet I see authors in all stages of their careers that are missing one or more of these things.
You should have a BOOKS tab; someplace where you have a list of all your books. For each book you need to have the cover, the blurb, and buy links. Those are absolute musts. If you’ve won any awards or been nominated for any awards for a book, then be sure to add that as well. An excerpt from the book is optional, but I would suggest adding one because it allows people to see a sample of your writing. Another thing to consider would be quotes from reviews, along with a link to that review.
You should also have an ABOUT ME or BIO page. On it you should have two versions of your bio; the long one you use in the back of your books, and a shorter version. If you use an author photo, I would suggest having it on your bio pages, along with all social media links, and your email address.
When it comes to social media links, make sure they are sites you actually use. If you have ten different social media accounts, but you only use two, then there’s no sense in listing the others. The point of having a list of social media accounts is so readers can find you.
Speaking of finding you… I suggest having a CONTACT page. This will allow for readers to easily ask you questions or rave about how much they love your work. Most templates have a premade form for that kind of thing. If your website template doesn’t, then on your contact page it should have a way for readers to get in touch with you. I suggest writing out your email address. email(at)mail(dot)com
If you have a blog, then make sure it’s easy to find, and updated on a regular basis—even if that means once a month. The same applies for anyone who has a FAQ page as well. I check my FAQ page every few months to make sure nothing has changed.
Newsletters are something a lot of authors use. If you have a newsletter, then be sure there is a sign up sheet on your website, or a link to your sign up sheet.
For authors who do a lot of public appearances, like book signings or conventions, then make sure you have a designated place on your website to list all the places you’re going to be appearing.
The main thing to keep in mind when designing a website is this; readers are going to visit your website to find information about your and your books. Make it as easy on them as possible. If they have to go hunting through pages and pages in order to find the information they’re looking for, odds are they’re going to leave without finding it. All information should be able to be found within a maximum of three clicks. Things should be clearly labeled and easy to read.
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it must be functional. Otherwise, what’s the point of having one?
And the last piece of advice I can give you is to do routine maintenance on your site. Check for things like broken links and that all your information is current.
If you have an questions about designing your website or how to improve your website, please feel free to email me at lynleywayne(at)gmail(dot)com, use the contact form on my website www.lynleywayne.com, or leave a comment on this post.
Lynley was a 2014 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. She published her first book in September of 2012 and hasn’t looked back. When not writing she can found reading or coming up with creative ways to avoid housework. While Lynley Wayne may be a pen name, the woman behind it is very real and believes everyone is entitled to their own version of happiness. She looks forward to the day when who, or how, we love is no longer an issue.