What Is The Purpose Of An Author Website?
Author websites are designed to promote the author and their books or works to their audience. There are two types of authors and most will fall into the second category.
The first type of author is the celebrity author, who has hit the big-time. These are people like J.K. Rowling, Anthony Horowitz, David Walliams, E.L. James, Stephen Fry and many others. Big name authors do not just promote their latest works; they are brands in their own right and they have the dual need to promote both their works and their own names.
The second type of author is the category into which most authors fall. They are not household names, but have books to promote. For these author websites, the promotion of the book is more important than the raising of the visibility of the author and building their brand - at least at first!
See How An Author Website Could Transform Your Book Sales
How Should A Website For Authors Be Laid Out?
The layout of a website for authors is an important consideration. It should reflect the look and branding of the book itself. You will have spent months writing your masterpiece, having its cover designed, editing it and finally having it published. However, that was really just the start of the journey, as you need people to actually buy the book.
This is where your author website comes into its own. For the majority of authors, you will want to place your book in the spotlight. The website will be styled to show off the book to its best, whilst reflecting the nature of the book and your own character.
Author Website Styling
In our experience, author websites should not be too "busy" in appearance. Less is more, in most instances. Blank space or background images, behind the image of your book, can speak much more than words in getting a message across. That said, text must not be neglected. Your website has two audiences - lovely human beings like you and invisible bots sent out by the search engines to trawl your website and index it accordingly. Whilst we want humans to be coming to author websites in droves, the invisible search engine bots are at some level more important. Without them your website would never be listed in the search results.
Therefore, we need to give the bots information they can work with. That means text. Search engines use text to build up an impression of your website and will see patterns in the words of the text, which are used to rank your website in their search results. This text should be carefully constructed to feature the keywords you want your webpage to be found for. You should plan to provide at least 300-600 words of text for each page on your website.
Make Your Author Website Work For You
Ask yourself, how can I make each page work to reach my audience and sell my book.
You will need to write down your aims with the website for authors. Why do you want the website and what do you want the it to do for you? In most cases you will want to sell copies of your book. However, you may have other products to sell and the book is just the enticement to upsell your visitors to another product. In this case, you may even be offering the book for free and expecting the visitor to climb into your upsell funnel.
Whatever your requirement, it will invariably mean that you need calls to action (CTAs) on each page. A call to action could be a simple "Buy Now" button which redirects your visitor to the book's sale page on Amazon. It could also be a sign-up form where you are offering a free few chapters of the book, whilst adding the visitor to a mailing list. How you can use calls to action on your author website is down to your personal preferences, but so much is possible!
Summary of Author Websites
Finding the right mix of visuals, videos, text and CTAs is what will make author websites successful. If the best tactic to sell your book is the "kick in the shins" type of selling, then the website will be full of calls to action and bright buttons. Most authors will use a much gentler approach with their website and mix style with enticing calls to action.
At Cotswold Websites, we work closely with you to find the best solution to promote your book. Using images from the book itself, where possible, is a great way of keeping a constant message and branding across all platforms. We would be delighted to discuss your plans for an author website and to help you make it a reality.
Should An Author Website Be A Single Page Website?
The question 'should an author website be a single page website' is one which we are asked regularly!
There is no right or wrong answer to the question, BUT the response will depend upon what you need the website to do for you.
Questions you should ask yourself include:
- Am I promoting a single book?
- Am I promoting multiple books?
- Am I promoting myself as well as a book?
- Do I want to dedicate areas of the author website to specific topics - author profile, contact details, buy here details, other books, chapters in the book?
When To Create A Single Page Author Website
Our advice in most cases is to avoid single page websites - the reasons are below.
The main reason to use a single page website is when you want to promote a single book, intensively, but have no reason to promote yourself or anything else.
Why Do We Not Recommend Single Page Author Websites?
In the world of web design for authors, there is a simple maxim to be kept in the forefront at all times. "One topic, one page".
Why You Should Ideally Use Multiple Page Author Websites
As we have seen above, most authors should have a website with at least four pages. Each of these pages will be dedicated to and optimised for a single topic, with one exception - the homepage.
- Homepage - the main landing page and the place you give your visitors a taste of what they will find across the website - with links to those pages
- The Book - a page(s) entirely dedicated to the content of the book
- The Author - a page dedicated to the person behind the book - You - and your backstory, which people love to read
- Contact - How visitors can get in touch with the author, agent, publisher and anyone else involved with the book. These contacts are especially useful for guiding the Press to the right people, assuming you want your book featured in the media.
Everyone of the pages listed above will be optimised in style and content to leave the visitor in no doubt about the purpose of the web page. Calls to action will be strategically placed next to content which is likely to cause the visitor to take an action. If you have Press mentions, articles or reviews, these should be placed prominently on the appropriate page. The same goes for any video content relevant to the author or book.
In many cases, the website can actually be an extension of your book and so somewhere you encourage your readers to visit to receive more of the experience of your book.
Multiple page websites give you better exposure to your intended audience. With four pages, you have four times as many chances to be found in Google's search results than with a single page author website.
How To Create An Author Website
With the book written and about to be published, how do you now go about creating a new author website to help sell your book?
An obviously simple method is to create the website yourself! There are plenty of self-build template web platforms out there, or you could use an open source web platform. However, be aware, do you really have the skills to make the author website both look beautiful and be found amongst the thousands of other author websites on the Internet?
We recommend getting specialist help from ourselves. We build all our websites on the WordPress platform these days. WordPress websites tend to be indexed by Google better than others. You also have the ability to blog about your book in-built to the website. It is also an easy platform for you to make minor changes to your website as and when you need to. Why not get in touch and find out more in a FREE, no-obligation telephone consultation. 0117 230 0570