MacMillan Design

Things All Good Author Websites Need to Include

two people viewing an author website

According to the latest social media studies, Pinterest is the ideal platform for driving traffic to your author’s blog while LinkedIn is a top platform for non-fiction writers.

This is great, but when it comes to developing a solid marketing strategy to ensure that your latest book succeeds on the market, it all begins with a great website.

As an author, you might not think that author websites have much pull or importance, but they’re increasingly more valuable in a digitally-based world.

Here are all of the things that your author website should include in order to help propel you to success as an author.

Websites for Authors Always Include an Author Biography

Let’s start with perhaps one of the most important aspects of all the best author websites – the author biography!

Your author website is like your company. As a writer, you are always promoting yourself just the same as you would if you had a small business. This means that you need to treat your website in the same manner.

While you might find it easy to write stories, it can sometimes be hard to write a biography about yourself. This is actually where many authors seem to fall short.

Include things like:

  • Why should they read your books?
  • Who are you?
  • What or who has been a part of your influence?
  • Who do you admire?

If you write books that seek to inform others, then you’ll want to pay special attention to your biography.

Ensure that you’re giving the readers enough information regarding your credentials and experience. This is crucial in building trust and credibility.

Design a Great Author Website with Book Pages

Each of your books should have its own page. These pages look best if you show them your book, not just tell them about it.

You’ll need to ensure that you include a high-quality image of your book cover but also a great synopsis. Remember, don’t include any spoilers! The goal is to give them just enough to leave them with the undeniable desire to buy your book, now.

When it comes to on-page SEO, creating a well-organized site is really important. So, you’ll want to ensure that you had a separate page for each book that you have written.

This helps ensure that when people search for you online, they’ll search for “Jane Smith, A Journey into the Wild” and a web page will appear with that exact URL.

If you have your book pages all lumped together in one page, it’s going to hurt your search engine ranking and it will also be harder for your fans to find what they’re looking for!

How to Design Book Website Pages for Fiction Writer

If you’re not a fiction writer, then you can skip down to the next part. If you are, then you definitely need to keep reading, as your author website design is going to look a little bit different when it comes to the book pages.

Fiction fans love details, as we’re sure you know. So, if you’re a fiction writer, then include extra details on your book pages.

Think about including character profiles, maps, or illustrations of the settings where you take your readers in your book.

If these characters and settings are part of a series, then you can provide them with general details about the series as a whole.

Author Websites Always Need a Blog

You’re a writer, so when someone visits your author website, they’re going to want to see that you can, in fact, write!

However, as an author, your blog should look different than that of a business or an online store.

To really enhance your blogging efforts, you should focus less on answering questions and building authority and more on creating a community and providing backstories.

Take the space and turn it into a place where your readers are going to constantly want to tune in for more updates. Ask them to subscribe to your blog at the end of each post and truly give them quality updates.

How? Write short stories that allow you to dive more into the back or side stories of your actual books. Or, create character sketches for your readers’ most beloved characters.

It’s okay, and recommended, to take creative breaks here, though. You can also use your blog as a way to talk about changes in the publishing industry or to give tips to other blossoming writers.

The main goal in creating a great author website blog, though, is to work towards building a community and forming a connection with your readers.

To do this, you must always ensure that you’re interacting with them in the comments and answering the questions they have.

Include Author Information About Speaking and Events

If you do speaking engagements, then you definitely need to add a speaking engagements page to your basic website.

The great thing about modern-day website builders is that you can often find these pre-made pages that come with organized calendars and everything.

If you do add this page, make sure that you constantly update it regularly with new information and that you’re monitoring to check that there isn’t any irrelevant information still on it.

This means that if a conference date changes, immediately change it on your page as well.

If you don’t do speaking engagements, then you can think about attending events or even holding your own writing workshops.

If you’re even the slightest bit interested in speaking engagements, then it helps to put a page on your website for it. This lets visitors know that you’re at least open to the idea or looking for events to speak at.

You never know, before you know it, your schedule could fill up with requests just because people saw your page. It doesn’t hurt your website to at least include the page.

Dedicate Space for Media and Reviews

Sure, people can easily access reviews of books on places like Amazon, but why make them go through a few extra steps and clicks if they’re already on your website?

Because your products are books, websites for authors should always include reviews about those books.

If you have a PR team working for you, then you might want to dedicate a section of your website to a Media & PR page. This is where you’ll put things like media contact information or press releases regarding your most recent books.

This is also a great space to include any links to articles that have been published about you as an author or about your books.

While it might seem self-promoting, it’s really not. Businesses do this all of the time when they show off their awards and achievements.

If you’re just trying to gain more traction and sell books online, then your author website can include book reviews on each book page.

Connect Amazon to your website in order to sell directly through there, or link to your publisher’s site. Regardless of how you do it, you should be able to install a widget that shows off various of your top reviews.

This is a good place to really sell your book. Include links to purchase pages and sign up for affiliate programs if it’s possible.

Both Amazon and Barnes & Nobles have affiliate programs. By including their link on your page you can increase the amount of money you earn on each sale.

The Best Author Websites Are Social

In the modern-day digital world, simply having a website isn’t enough. You also need to work towards cultivating a presence on social media. This includes linking to your social media accounts on your website.

Make sure you’re constantly updating on all of your social media accounts, too. Tweet, like, selfie, and vlog as much as you can to keep the conversation going with your readers.

This is especially important if you’re working on a new book that you’re about to release.

Giving your followers updates on social media is a great way to build hype before the release. Give them teasers of what they can expect or a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing process.

In general, it’s important to put time and effort into always exploring new social media options. Figure out what your target audience is and find out which social media platforms they use the most.

According to industry reports, most YouTube users are between the ages of 16 and 24, while users who actually spend time interacting on Facebook tend to be older and over the age of 40-50.

Keep this in mind when updating your social media accounts and cater your content towards your audience. And, always be sure you’re updating regularly.

Author Websites Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to author websites is the fact that writers seem to think that they can simply publish a website and then never look at it or edit it again. This simply isn’t true!

You need to always work towards keeping your site up-to-date while focusing on providing new content as well.

Imagine walking into a physical storefront that never changed. After a while, you’d probably stop visiting because you know there’s nothing new for you to see. This is the same with author websites!

Make sure your pages look fresh, work on creating new contently on a weekly basis, and update old information with new stats and dates.

Another mistake to avoid is being scared of giving away too much information. While it’s important that you don’t provide visitors with any spoilers, you still need to ensure that you’re enticing them with a little something extra.

After all, that’s part of what your author website is about, isn’t it? If you didn’t want to give your readers any additional information, you could simply rely on an Amazon blurb.

Link to samples of the book in a way that makes sense, and optimize this strategy by always including a purchase link at the end of the sample.

While you’re giving your readers a little something extra, it’s important to note that you should avoid making the mistake of handing out your personal email address. However, you definitely should include a contact page.

Give readers and potential work partners a way to access you easily. It’s important to note that if you provide a contact page on your website, then it’s your responsibility to respond to these messages in a timely manner.

Basic Website Design Tips for Author Sites

If you’re a wordsmith then chances are that you’re also pretty visually creative as well. This likely means that you have a lot of ideas when it comes to the design of your website.

However, if you’re at a loss, then stick to these design tips:

  • Include opt-ins everywhere on the site. This is a good way to build an email list that can help you sell your next book.
  • Keep your website clean. Cluttered sites aren’t easy to navigate and they feel really disorganized.
  • Put everything in its place. This goes along with staying organized, as there should be a place for every small category on your site.
  • Make sure your site matches your genre. If you write romance novels, then you don’t want a dark and moody website.

Overall, think about the persona you give off as an author and what kind of style your books give off as well. If they’re light and playful, then create a similar website.

Keep this in mind when choosing your fonts, colors, and website images.

Ready to Create Your Author Website?

It takes work to be unique in today’s competitive world, especially in the publishing industry.

Great author websites really provide writers with space to not only introduce themselves but also a space to connect with their readers and provide lots of great extra information that can help them sell more books.

In order to be unique, however, you’re going to want to have a custom website that nobody else has. And, unless you’re an outstanding writer and a pro web designer, this requires working with a team of qualified web professionals.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. Get in touch with us to learn about how our team can guide you through the process of creating the perfect author website for your style and needs.

Trust us, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve done this with other authors before. We’ll help you stand out and engage your audience in a way that no pre-made website can do.

Related Posts:

Robert "how come I don't have a nickname" Bowers

Head of Client Services

In an industry as rough as ours, sometimes you just need a West Point graduate on the frontlines. That’s where Robert comes in. As our Head of Client Services, he’ll help you articulate who you are and what you do so our creative teams can “get” you – as close as possible to delivering your brain to ours (without the awkward parts). Robert insists that he is not purely decorative.

Joanna "The Oracle" Ortega

Chief Content Editor, Most Patient Person Currently On Earth

Cracking the figurative whip of words and wielding a deadly red pen, Joanna can tell the future of any piece of writing. From emotionally driven microcopy and product/service pages to SEO-crushing blog posts, The Oracle will strike down faulty phrases and passionately craft the perfect prose. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Cody "Cory" "Toby" Bentley

Head of Development, Chief Minion, Problem Solving Extraordinaire, Lifetime Employee of the Month

When it comes to transitioning your website from design to implementation, Cody is your man. He makes sure all the promises made during the design phase actually come to fruition, even if you can’t remember his name. While Cody will deliver a fully-functioning powerhouse website launch for you, don’t expect any pretty words. We leave that to Joanna.

Kishor Negi

Head of Operations, "The Godfather", "The King's Justice"

Don’t let his mild-mannered demeanor fool you. Kishor will keep even the most severe case of ADHD on task because….SQUIRREL! Because when you’re managing a team of cutting-edge design and content creatives, staying on-task and on-schedule requires a grounded head. Kishor uses fear to keep our team from getting lost in their visionary clouds. He is also one of the Directors of our sister company, MacKish.

Matt MacMillan

CEO & Chief Janitor

The founder and brains behind MacMillan Design, Matt MacMillan, has over 25 years of experience in advertising, marketing, and SEO. He uses his obsessive nature to dive so deep into your business we sometimes have to throw him a life preserver. You can expect a jaw-dropping level of diligence, a scary level of effectiveness, and a series of bad dad jokes from Matt.

Affordable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Packages

Our SEO Packages go way beyond traffic.
We build audiences that buy.

Female business owner who found success with affordable SEO