You've written book, are writing a book, or are shopping a book around to agents and publishers, so guess what? You need a website!
Your author website doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it can be a basic one-page site or a multi-page site with a blog and lots of extras. Regardless of how extensive you want your website to be, there are some elements that are a must.
This one is obvious. Whether you have one book or a large backlist with more to come, the website should showcase your books at their best.
For each book you should have the minimum items:
Title and Subtitle
If you can provide more info, then definitely include:
Series Name and No. (if applicable)
Each book should ideally have a dedicated page so you always have a direct link to share.
Your bio is a must, and it should be professional. You can still incorporate personality into your bio, but leave out the names of your kids, your pets, or your favorite foods. Those little extras are best saved for social media or an extras section.
Short Bio: Used for book jackets, back of book, and media.
Long Bio: This can be several paragraphs long, and may showcase more of your personality, but you still want to keep it professional.
Author Photo: Not every author wants to share their image, and that's okay. If you're with a publisher, chances are they'll want one, but if you're an indie author, you make the rules. If you use an author photo, keep it professional. If you don't want to use a photo of yourself, consider having a nice logo created.
Events: If you attend events, then your About Page is a good place to list those. If you attend events frequently, then a dedicated section or page is a good idea.
Mailing List Sign Up
It doesn't matter if you don't want one, set it up. There are free options if you're just getting started, but you want to give readers a way to keep in touch. At the very least, have a new-release newsletter.
What about social media? Can't readers just follow me there? Yes, of course they can, but they may not see your updates.
What about readers who don't like to subscribe? There are plenty of them! Share your links to your BookBub, Amazon, and Goodreads pages so they can get notifications when a new book releases.
These three elements are the most important, so if you want a minimalist website with as little content as possible, then you need at least these.
If you want to punch things up a bit, consider including the following elements:
Give readers a way to contact you. This could be with a direct contact form or an email that goes to your author assistant, publicist, or publisher.
Avoid putting your email address (use a form), phone number, and physical address on your website. If you want to include an address, invest in a PO Box.
Blogs are a great way to share updates with your readers or build a reader base if you're just starting out. They don't have to take a lot of time either, and if you don't want to blog, consider using the blog as a way to share book updates and book/author news.
At the very lease, a blog keeps your site relevant, which makes search engines like Google happy. Will it skyrocket you to the top of the rankings? No, that's not guaranteed, but if you publish interesting content that readers will enjoy, search engines see this, which in turn can help with your website's ranking.
If your goal is to use the blog as a news source, then you already have your content. Share new book releases, teasers, book trailers, links to other blogs and sites where your book is featured, and more.
If you want to do more with your blog to showcase your personality, or just have fun with it, then they sky's the limit. Share recipes, photography, short stories, and more. A lot of authors share these things on social media, but if you're not a fan, then a blog is a great alternative.
Media Page / Press Kit
Your media page should include author photos and book covers to download, and perhaps links to your online social pages, and be sure to include a link to your contact page or form.
Some authors may consider links to their social pages as a must. However, not all authors are on social media. If you are active on social media, then include those links in the footer of your website or on your About or Contact pages.
Still want more?
A website is a constant work in progress, and can be utilized as little or as much as you want. At the very least, it's your online home that you control (which can't be said for social pages) where readers can learn about you and your books. When you give your readers more with extras and frequent updates, chances are they'll keep coming back for more.
Never forget that an author's best form of marketing is their writing. Write great books and keep writing.
The cost of a new website will roll around in your head several times before you decide to move forward or put the site on hold.
A good website is an investment in your writing career, but the price tag doesn't have to terrify you. Whether you have $200 or $2,000 to invest, an author website is possible. If you need to start with the lowest possible budget, remember that your site will grow as your career grows, and you can increase your budget later.
Do you need an author website? Contact us today about affordable pre-designed templates for Wix, advanced custom websites, or quick-to-launch Wix and Squarespace options.