Over the last few decades, the way that authors promote their work has changed tremendously. Long gone are the days of just hoping to sell your books in a local book store and watching the sales roll in. Now more than ever, the Internet is a must-have for your marketing strategy.
Having a strong online presence is crucial for authors who want to share their work, reach their readers, and make a name for themselves in the writing world. If you’re an author, there’s no way around it – you need a website.
Whether you’re an experienced novelist, an aspiring poet, or an up and coming non-fiction writer, this comprehensive guide will show you how to create and improve your author website to help you find success in the online literary world.
Looking for help creating a website you’re proud of? Reach out to our Red Bird Social team today to chat right here! https://redbirdsocial.com/free-consult
Setting the Foundation
In today’s world, having a dedicated author website is not just a luxury but a necessity. Your website serves as the central hub for your online presence, helping you connect with your audience and nurture your literary career. With a website, authors can shape their online identity, presenting themselves and their work in precisely the way they desire. It’s a platform where they can share their backstory, showcase their books, and engage directly with readers, fostering a sense of community and personal connection.
An author website also helps to enhance discoverability. With a well-optimized site, authors can improve their visibility in search engines, making it easier for potential readers to find them. Adding an email list to their website allows authors to maintain direct communication with their fan base, ensuring that their latest releases, events, or news reach their most dedicated followers.
A good author website will act as the digital cornerstone of your brand and a powerful tool for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the publishing industry.
1. Choose a Domain Name
Selecting the perfect domain name that aligns with your personal brand as an author is a pivotal decision.
First, aim for simplicity and memorability. A domain name that’s easy to spell and recall ensures potential readers won’t have trouble finding your website. It should ideally incorporate your name or a variation of it if possible. Name is already taken? You can also explore using a middle initial, a relevant keyword, or even your genre or niche to make it distinctive.
Choose a domain name with a timeless quality that will stand the test of time and won’t become outdated as your career progresses. Always opt for a .com when possible, as it is widely recognized and trustworthy. You may also want to do some research to ensure your chosen domain isn’t trademarked or infringing on someone else’s intellectual property.
2. Get the Right Web Hosting
Along with your domain name, you’ll also need to pay for website hosting. Website hosting is like renting space on the Internet to store and make your author website accessible to the world. It’s an essential service for authors because it ensures your website is live and available to readers 24/7.
Some well-regarded website hosting companies for authors include Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator. Each company offers user-friendly platforms, good customer support, and competitive pricing, making it easier for you to establish and maintain your online presence as a first-time author.
3. Nail Your Website Design and Structure
Think carefully through the design elements on your website. Your site layout should be clean and uncluttered, with a focus on user-friendly navigation. Make sure your name and your book titles are prominently displayed on the homepage, and include a high-resolution author photo to connect with your readers on a personal level.
Choose a cohesive color scheme and fonts that reflect your brand’s personality. Organize your content into logical sections, including an ‘About Me’ page, a page dedicated to your books, a blog section, and a contact page. Then don’t forget to add in social media links and a newsletter sign up form!
Lastly, you’ll want to ensure your website is mobile-responsive, as an increasing number of readers access websites from smartphones and tablets.
There are lots of places online where you can find affordable website layouts, including Creative Market and Etsy. If you’re looking for something a little more customized, we can help! You can reach out to our Red Bird Social team about website design.
4. All Things Content Creation
Your website is officially up. Now what are you going to put on it?! Content creation is one of the biggest parts of having an author website that you can be proud of. So make sure that each page on your website is informative, easy to read, and SEO optimized so that you’re easy to find online.
Here are a few of our recent blog posts that will help you create a winning content strategy for your author website.
5. Think Blogging and Content Marketing
Maintaining a blog and creating a content marketing plan will elevate your online presence and your career. Try to update your website with regular content from you, whether that be new resources, blog posts, podcasts, etc.
By consistently creating high-quality content related to your genre, writing process, or literary interests, you can cultivate a loyal audience, build credibility, and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. A well-structured content marketing plan will help you to not go crazy in the process!
Here are two articles that can help you get started with a blogging strategy and content marketing:
6. Integrate Your Social Media
As an author, you can harness the power of your social media accounts to effectively integrate and promote your website. Start by ensuring that your website link is prominently displayed in your social media profiles and bios.
Then, regularly share blog posts, updates, and exclusive content from your site on your social platforms. This will drive people back to your website where you can share more about your work!
7. SEO and Online Visibility
As you get your website up and running, you’ll want to also familiarize yourself with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is like a roadmap for search engines to find and understand your author website. It will also help more potential readers find you!
To optimize your author website for search engines, start by conducting keyword research to discover what words or phrases your audience is using to find authors and books like yours. Then, incorporate these keywords naturally into your website’s content, including in your blog posts, book descriptions, and author bio.
Also, don’t forget to include meta descriptions and alt text for your images! This can help them to show up in search results, too. By following these steps, you’ll improve your website’s visibility and make it easier for readers to discover your work.
Read this next: 3 Tips for Great SEO On Your Website
8. Make a Plan for Email Marketing
Authors can leverage the power of email marketing by offering a lead magnet on their website. A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content, such as a free e-book, exclusive short story, or a writing tips guide, that they give to website visitors in exchange for their email addresses. By enticing readers with this valuable content, you’ll be able to build an engaged and dedicated email list.
Once you have subscribers, you can regularly communicate with your audience, sharing book updates, promotions, and more straight to each reader’s inbox. It’s a powerful tool for authors to nurture their reader community and drive book sales.
You can learn more about lead magnets and how they can help you right here: An Intro to Lead Magnets
9. Don’t Forget Analytics and Tracking
Understanding how your readers interact with your website is essential for success. Fortunately, there are various tools and methods to help you track website traffic and user behavior. Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that gives insights into who visits your site, where they come from, and what they do while they’re there.
Heatmaps and user behavior tracking tools like Hotjar or Crazy Egg can show you where visitors click, move their mouse, and how far they scroll down a page. By using these tools, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior, identify what works, and make improvements to enhance your website’s effectiveness.
10. Maintenance and Updates
Once you’ve got your author website up and running, don’t let it just sit there and develop cobwebs! A website that stays updated regularly with new content is most likely to get seen and help you bring in new readers and followers.
First, regularly update your blog with fresh content, whether it’s writing tips, author interviews, or book reviews. This not only keeps your readers engaged but also signals to search engines that your website is active and authoritative.
Secondly, make sure all the information about your books, including covers, synopses, and release dates, is up-to-date. Remove any outdated content to prevent a clutter and regularly check for broken links. Lastly, interact with your audience through comments and social media to create a sense of community. A well-maintained website not only enhances your professional image but also encourages readers to return for more.
Remember, having a website is not just about showing off your writing skills; it’s also about using your website to connect with your audience and grow your fan base.
Now, take what you’ve learned here, and start building a website that your readers will love and that you can be proud of!
Need help or not sure where to start? We can help! Reach out to our Red Bird Social team anytime for your free consultation right here.