An author website is a crucial part of your overall business. Having an author website is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Ten years ago your author website could have been very simple; serving much like an online business card.
Today, author websites have become much more complex. Authors are now using their website to sell books, attract media attention and much more. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed trying to create your author website, you aren’t alone. In this post we will discuss the 10 essential components of an author website. Make sure your author website includes all of these components before it goes live.
1. An Author Bio
Who are you? Visitors to your website will certainly have this question and you need to make sure that it is easy for them to figure this information out. Before you worry about anything else on your website, make sure you create an author bio you are proud of.
A general best practice is to have a short bio on your homepage that consists of a professional headshot and a short blurb about who you are. This short bio can then link to a separate page where you can include a more detailed author bio.
Some of the topics you should cover in your in-depth author bio are:
- Why you write
- Interesting facts about yourself
- Why they should read your books
- A way to subscribe to your email list
2. A Sales Page
Your books should be visible on your homepage, but dedicated sales pages will allow you to showcase each book in greater detail. Depending on how many books you have written, you may want to create separate sales pages for each book. Each sales page should include:
Unlike Amazon and other online marketplaces, you have full control over your sales pages. Make sure you take your time to create pages that will convert your website visitors into paying readers.
- The title of the book
- The cover of the book
- A description of the book
- Testimonials from readers
- Quotes from the book
- A link to purchase the book
3. A Blog
Think of your blog as a giant magnet. When you write about topics that your target readers are interested in, they will have a reason to come to your website. Having an author website is great, but only if you can attract people to it.
A blog is the easiest way to generate consistent traffic. Much of the information on your author website will remain static for months at a time. Your blog gives you a place to consistently add new content to generate traffic.
If you are trying to figure out what to blog about, answer the following question:
Who is my target audience and what are they interested in?
4. Social Media Information
All authors should be active on social media. Let me repeat- all authors should be active on social media.
Your author website should provide links to all of your social media accounts so your visitors can connect with you on social media. A lot of authors stick their social media buttons at the bottom of the page. I recommend making them more prominent to encourage more social connections.
5. A Contact Page
If people visit your author website and decide to contact you, you have won. Direct contact is the holy grail of any website, as it allows you to create relationships and find new opportunities. Make sure it is immediately clear for visitors how to contact you.
There are plenty of contact form plugins that will allow you to set up a contact form in a few minutes.
6. A Media Page
There are two types of visitors you want to attract with your author website:
Your media page will be optimized for journalists that are interested in you and/or your books. This page should include a contact form and any information you feel is necessary for media related inquiries. It is ok to repeat some of the information you have on other pages, since many journalists will immediately go to your media specific page.
7. A Subscription Option
What separates good author websites from great author websites is the ability to attract repeat traffic. Statistically speaking, almost all of your website visitors will only visit your author website once. One of the best ways to encourage repeat visits is to offer a subscription option.
This is done by collecting email addresses of your visitors. A few proven ways to build your email list are:
Though building your email list might not have an immediate impact on website traffic or sales, over time it will give you a consistent audience for your blog content and your future books.
- Start a blog newsletter
- Offer a discount in exchange for an email signup
- Give away a free eBook in exchange for an email
8. Social Proof
Including social proof on your author website will help build your credibility. On your homepage there should be testimonials and reviews from your readers and/or media outlets. Without social proof, your website visitors are very unlikely to purchase one of your books.
9. A Direct Purchase Option
At EditionGuard we create tools to allow authors to sell eBooks directly from their website. Though you are probably selling your books on Amazon, you should include an option for your website visitors to buy books directly from your website also.
Setting up an online bookstore on your website is very easy and can be done in an hour or less using EditionGuard. Once live you will have another place to sell your books. The best part is you can keep more of your profit and have great control over how your books are sold.
10. A Free Giveaway
Do you offer any of your books for free? What about the first few chapters of one of your books? Many authors hate the idea of giving away their hard work for free, however, the benefits of doing so are huge. When you give away part or all of one of your books for free, you have the ability to gain many new fans.
If you can’t afford to giveaway an entire book for free, consider offering the first few chapters for free. If readers enjoy the first few chapters, it is very likely that they will purchase the rest of the book.