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Congratulations! Your new book is complete. You’ve spent countless hours researching, writing and rewriting it and now you’re finally ready for the world to see what you’ve created. But how are you going to get people to read your self-published book, let alone find it within the millions (yes, millions!) of books published each year? 

The answer is simple: Your author website

But just because you’re an expert in your field does not mean you know the first thing about building a website. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

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Dos and Don’ts of Building a Website for Writers

Author Website Dos:

1. Keep it consistent.

When you’re building an author website, make sure you have a cohesive brand guide to keep all the components (fonts, colors, imagery) of your website looking like they were created by, and for, the same person. An experienced designer can build a brand guide that captures you and your work, allowing readers to get a true understanding of who you are and what you have to offer.

2. Keep it simple.

As authors, it’s easy to get bogged down in the wordiness of things, but it’s important to consider that keeping text blurbs short and sweet allows readers to understand quickly who you are and what you (and your book) are about. Instead of using large paragraphs of text, try bullet points and short, concise sentences to express your ideas. Readers will get the long-form version of your writing when they buy your book!

3. Keep your primary call to action abovethe fold

Want people to buy your book? Or learn about all the additional services you offer? Or maybe you want to send folks to a sign-up page on your website for a workshop you’re offering? Whatever your intention, make sure to keep the most important point above the fold, also known as the top portion of your website pages. 

4. Keep building your list & offer a freebie to those who sign up. 

Everyone needs an email list so fans can reach you outside of your social media channels. It’s also a great way to offer exclusive content to those who have really taken an interest in your work. The best way to get your list started is to add a subscription form on your website where readers can provide you with their email address in exchange for a free offer.

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Author Website Don’ts:

 

1. Don’t include large blocks of text.

We mentioned this above, but it’s so important we want to mention it twice. When people come to your website, they want to skim your site and quickly understand who you are and what you’re offering. Attention spans are so short these days that a quick glance at your website needs to draw readers in and have them take action shortly thereafter. Large blocks of text can overwhelm viewers, causing them to navigate away from your site. 

2. Don’t forget to resize your images.

Don’t you hate it when you go to a website that seems to take forever to load? Large image files can really slow your site down, preventing people from sticking around and experiencing what you have to offer. A seasoned website designer will know how to remedy this but sites like tinypng.com can help you keep your files small and manageable, allowing readers to experience your site without running the risk of losing them because your site speed is too slow.

3. Don’t forget your privacy policy.

An experienced website designer can help you with this very important (and often overlooked) component of your site. A privacy policy spells out what you will and won’t do with a person’s information on your site. Privacy policies and cookie notices are becoming increasingly common (you may have noticed that almost all sites you visit these days give you the option to “Accept Cookies”). Posting a privacy policy also helps you stay in compliance with applicable state and global privacy laws.

4. Don’t forget site security.

An SSL certificate will allow you to safely capture a reader’s email address or sell your book directly on your website without the fear of compromising you and your readers’ privacy. Without an SSL certificate, your site becomes more vulnerable to hacking, and visitors will be notified that your site is not secure. Also, Google penalizes sites not using SSL protocols, which could diminish your ranking on Google, thus, resulting in fewer visitors and sales. You can purchase an SSL from your web hosting provider for a small yearly fee.

5. Don’t forget your contact form.

Make sure you have a form on your website, or at the very least, your email address (or both!) so that readers and proponents of your work can contact you easily.

Finally, an author website is essential to building credibility with your audience, directing and closing sales and acting as a hub for all of your offerings. It’s a place where you can keep your readers updated on your work, providing them with an easy way to contact and interact with you on a regular basis. And the best way to drive traffic to your site once it’s up and running is through social media, interviews and links to other posts. Working with a knowledgeable designer can go a long way in building your platform and assuring that all the do’s and don’ts of building your author website are covered.

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