Every author needs a website. Your blog serves that purpose whether you choose to blog books or blog about the topic of your books. To create an effective author website, however, your blog needs some key elements.
1. An author bio
You want visitors to your site to know who you are. If they know, like and trust you, they will more likely purchase your books. Typically this bio is written in the first person and is placed on the “About” page of your site. It should include pertinent information about you and your books, such as:
- what makes you an expert in your subject area (if you write nonfiction)
- why you write
- anything interesting that gives your readers insight into who you are
- why they should want to read your blog or your books.
Tell them a story about you. And don’t forget to include a photo or two or three. Also, purchase a URL with your name, and even if you don’t use it for the whole author site, direct it to your “About” page.
2. A blog.
Duh. (Right?) Some people still do create websites, even using WordPress, that don’t contain a blog. However, that misses the point. Your blog is what drives traffic to your site. It’s the place where you continually and frequently add content that gets cataloged by Google and the other search engines, which makes the site, as well as you and your book(s), discoverable. If you and your work aren’t found, no one buys your books. You must have a blog, and you must blog.
3. A sales page (or pages).
It’s easy to feature your book or books on the home page of your site and provide a link to Amazon. However, a sales page will do a better job of getting people to purchase the book, even if the buy button takes them to Amazon. Create a sales page for each one of your books. This page should feature the book cover, describe the book, list its benefits and features, and provide testimonials, or blurbs. If you also offer other products and services, each one of these needs its own sales page, too.
4. Social media buttons.
Make it easy for visitors to your site to both follow you on social media sites and to share your blog posts and your books with their communities. Do this by including links to all you social media sites on all your site pages. Encourage visitors to follow you. Also add sharing tool to your blog, which makes it easy for readers to share your posts. Don’t forget to have sharing tools on your sales pages!
5. A media page.
Your author site is meant to attract both readers and journalists. Therefore, you need a media page to make it easy for radio and television journalists and online journalists like podcasters, Google Hangout on Air hosts and even bloggers, to easily grab the information they need about you and your books. If you need to know how to create a media kit, check out this one from Joan Stewart.
6. A contact page.
Make it easy for your readers, the media, and potential customers and clients to get in touch. Create a page that contains a contact form. There are plugins that easily create these for you, such as Contact Form 7.
7. A sidebar.
The area on the right or left of your website can be set up as a “sidebar.” Here you can feature any number of things:
- your social media icons
- books covers (with links to purchase)
- your courses
- a blog-subscription call to action
Don’t forget to design your blog with this valuable real estate available for use!
8. A subscription call to action.
You don’t want people just to show up on your site and go away, never to return. You want them to show up, commit to returning, and leave you some contact information. To make this happen you must have some call to action that gets them to subscribe to your blog feed or to your mailing list. I suggest you create a subscription to either blog or mailing list through a service you manage. That means you must sign up for an email marketing service, such as Aweber.com. Then feature a form on the sidebar of your site asking visitors or blog readers to subscribe. The best way to accomplish this is with a strong call to action, such as a gift of some sort. (Blog a sort e-book and give it away!)
9. A search function.
Make it easy for your visitors to find the great content you provide. Install a search widget, which will appear on the sidebar of your site and allow them to type in search terms or phrases. The widget will then search your site for the information they seek.
10. Social proof or testimonials.
Last, but not least, let visitors to your site know how wonderful you are…but not just with your bio. Let other people tell the. Include testimonials from happy clients or customers or logos from the fabulous blog sites, radio and television shows, or print publications where you and your work have appeared. You can put this information in the sidebar or the banner of your site.
The Final Element: Branding
There are many other elements you can include on an author website, but these ten essentials give you a strong foundation for success. As you plan your site, keep in mind how you want to brand yourself. How do you want the site to look—what colors express who you are and what your books are about, what design (theme) helps you get your message across, and what tagline describes you? Also, what URL will you purchase that will make it easy for readers to find you and your books and speak to that brand?
Spend time on the most essential element of all: your site banner. It should carry out your branding. Visitors to your site should know in seconds who you are and what you do or write about based on the name of your site and the tagline you choose. The colors, theme, and all the other elements should synch up with this to provide a cohesive picture of you: the author.
Do you want to learn how to write bestselling books and create a career as a bestselling author? Be one of the first to get details about my new premier coaching program, Six Months to Your Bestselling Author Career, when you enter your email address in the form below. Watch my new new educational video series on how to create your career as a bestselling author. The first video explains how to write a bestselling book.