An author website is a personalized online platform created by a writer to showcase their work, engage with readers, and provide information about themselves and their publications.
In this guide, we will explore how to create an effective author website step by step. Whether you’re an aspiring writer looking to start your online strategy or an established author seeking to impress new readers, you will learn how to design a professional website, its benefits, and how much it costs to build a website.
- Utilize WordPress for creating an author website due to its user-friendliness and popularity
- Consider other platforms like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace based on personal preferences and technical skills
- Ensure the author bio is concise, engaging, and provides a glimpse into the author’s background.
- Incorporate personal branding in domain name selection
- Keep domain names simple, memorable, and relevant to the writing niche
What Domain Name Should I Choose for My Author Website?
On an author website, your domain name is your digital address on the web, and it plays an important role in being found by your readers and clients. To choose the right domain, you should consider three main elements:
Opting for your author name or a recognizable pen name as your domain name is a strategic move. It reinforces your personal brand on your author website and makes it easy for readers to find you online.
Your name is your identity, and aligning it with your website creates a direct connection between you and your work. It also helps in authorship recognition, enhancing your credibility for potential publishers.
Relevance and Niche
Your domain name should reflect your writing niche or genre. This provides an immediate sense of what readers can expect from your website.
If, for example, you specialize in romance novels, including keywords related to romance (such as “love story” or “happily ever after”) in your domain name can attract an audience interested in that genre.
Think about the themes, topics, or styles that define your writing and try to incorporate them creatively into your domain name.
The choice of domain extension matters. While .com is the most common and widely recognized, it may not always be available with your desired author name. Consider alternatives like .net or .expert if .com is unavailable.
If your readership is primarily local, using a country-specific extension like .uk or .ca can be beneficial. Ensure that the extension you choose aligns with your target audience and the global or local reach you intend for your author website.
Additionally, be cautious about potential copyright issues when selecting your domain name. Ensure that it doesn’t infringe on existing trademarks or copyrights, as this can lead to legal complications. Perform a thorough search to verify the uniqueness of your chosen domain name.
|DO utilize your pen name or author name||DON’T incorporate complex or unconventional spellings, hyphens, or special characters|
|DO integrate keywords or terms relevant to your writing niche or genre||DON’T depend on contemporary trends or slang that might become obsolete|
|DO maintain simplicity and select a concise, easily spelled, and memorable name||DON’T select a domain name that could limit your career’s expansion into other genres|
|DO verify that your selected domain name doesn’t violate existing trademarks or copyrights||DON’T choose a well-known name that might lead to confusion with another author|
If you are looking for more information about custom domains, we have a complete guide about What Is a Custom Domain: Benefits (& How to Get One), that will teach you everything you have to know in order to choose yours.
10 Steps To Building an Author Website
Building an author website demands practical tasks that demand technological and creative steps. Here are the top 10 essential steps to create an author website that captures your unique writing and engages your readers:
Step 1: Install WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular and user-friendly content management systems (CMS) available, making it an excellent choice for author websites.
Creating an author website on WordPress is easy. Begin by signing up with a hosting provider that offers one-click WordPress installation.
After securing your hosting, log in to your account and locate the “Install WordPress” option within the control panel. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided by the installation guide.
Once WordPress is up and running, you’ll have access to your website’s dashboard. This central hub empowers you to manage both your content and design elements effortlessly.
Step 2: Self-hosted WordPress Site Platforms
To choose the right website platform, assess your specific needs and technical skills.
We just mentioned WordPress, a great platform that offers extreme customization if you are comfortable with technology.
However, there are other options for your author website.
- If you prefer user-friendliness, explore Wix with its drag-and-drop features or Weebly’s intuitive interface
- If aesthetics are a priority, Squarespace provides stunning templates
Don’t forget to think about your budget, content needs, scalability, and support options, when making your choice.
Step 3: Author Bio
Your author bio should be concise and engaging while providing readers with a glimpse into the author’s background and expertise.
Begin with a brief introduction, mentioning your name, profession, and any relevant qualifications. Follow this with a personal touch, sharing hobbies or interests that humanize you.
Don’t forget to incorporate your writing style into the bio, as it maintains a consistent tone with your content.
A good example for an Author Bio on an author website would be: “Jane Doe, a seasoned horror writer, combines her love for adventure with captivating storytelling to transport readers to far-off worlds.”
Finally, ensure the bio is easily accessible on your website, typically placed on the “About Me” page or in the footer.
Step 4: Blog Page
A blog page is for authors what a concert is for musicians: the place where your art is divulgated.
A blog page is a vital asset for author websites, serving as a dynamic platform to engage readers, showcase expertise, and build an audience.
To make it effective, authors should create valuable, relevant, and consistently updated content. You could share insights about your books, personal experiences, or in-depth analysis related to your niche (such as reviews).
Incorporating multimedia elements like images, videos, and infographics can add a multidimensional aspect to your stories, encouraging interaction through comments and social media sharing.
For example, a science fiction professional author might write blog posts exploring futuristic technologies or discussing the creative process behind their latest novel (with a sci-fi playlist), all while inviting readers to join the discussion.
Step 5: Contact Page or Form
To set up a contact page for your author website, don’t forget to include fields for name, email, subject, and a message box while maintaining a user-friendly design. It should be easy for readers and publishers to contact you!
Besides that, implementing spam protection measures like CAPTCHA will save you time, ensuring a secure communication channel with your audience (not robots/hackers).
Step 6: Recommended Themes for Author Websites
To make your author website look good and be easy to use, it’s important to pick the right theme or template. Below are some suggested themes that are designed specifically for authors.
- Astra: A theme designed specifically for authors, offering a clean and professional look.
- Ultra: Known for its versatility and customization options, Ultra allows you to create a unique website.
- Presence: A lightweight and highly customizable theme suitable for authors who want a minimalist design.
To create your author website, you can start with these themes as a strong base and personalize them to fit your branding until the day you are able to hire a professional web designer.
Step 7: Customizing the Opt-in Form
Customizing the opt-in form for newsletter signups can help increase engagement on your website, creating a new channel to spread your content.
Start by selecting a form style that complements your website’s design, choosing colors and fonts that match your brand. Then, create a compelling copy that emphasizes the benefits of subscribing (what are your readers getting on your newsletter that they won’t find on your website?). You may even offer incentives like a free ebook or an exclusive chapter.
In order to get subscribers, don’t forget to place the form in a prominent location, such as the header, sidebar, or pop-up, to make it easily accessible to visitors.
Continuously testing and optimizing the form will improve conversion rates and align it with your website’s goals, building a loyal readership.
Step 8: Set Up Your Email List
If you are interested in tips to improve your email list, begin by selecting a trustworthy email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit, that will make it easy to send your emails without worrying about technical issues.
Then, it is time to focus on your content and periodicity: daily, weekly, or even monthly, your newsletters can include news, writing tips, and customized recommendations on what to read.
For example, let’s imagine you are an author specializing in mystery novels.
You decide to set up an email list using Mailchimp and create an exciting sign-up form offering readers a free, exclusive short story that’s a prequel to your latest book. Every week they receive a new chapter.
Over time, your email list becomes a thriving community of mystery enthusiasts eagerly anticipating your next book release, boosting both reader engagement and book sales.
Step 9: Create Your Author Website Header
To create your header, you should start by incorporating your name or pen name in a legible font that aligns with your genre and style. Don’t be afraid to make it visible!
You can also add a high-resolution, eye-catching image that reflects your author persona or book themes, followed by a concise tagline that showcases your writing voice.
For example, a fantasy author might use an ornate font, a mystical forest image, and a tagline like “Weaving Dreams, One Tale at a Time” to captivate visitors and establish their enchanting brand.
Finally, don’t forget to make navigation easy with a clean and intuitive menu that includes essential links such as “About,” “Books,” and “Contact.”
Step 10: Using Your Author Website to Market Your Books
Your author website is a vital marketing tool for promoting books effectively. Begin by creating an engaging book showcase on your homepage, featuring a compelling photoshoot and clear purchase links.
It’s essential to cultivate reader engagement on the author platform, which can be achieved through regular blog posts sharing insights and behind-the-scenes stories. Furthermore, actively encourage book reviews and proudly display reader testimonials on your website.
For example, J.K. Rowling’s website masterfully combines book showcases, exclusive thematic content, reader reviews, and a newsletter sign-up, forming a strong book marketing hub that keeps readers engaged and informed even when she is not marketing any new book. That is your goal!
How To Design an Effective Author Website
Here are a few important elements that need to be considered while designing an impressive author website:
Social Media Links
- Include links to your social media accounts
- Enables direct communication with readers
- Enhances online visibility and book promotion efforts
- Build a stronger connection with your audience
Book Marketing and List of Works
- Create a dedicated book marketing section
- Showcase book covers prominently for visual appeal
- Include concise and intriguing book descriptions
- Display reader reviews to pique visitor interest
- Share media-related content, including author interviews, press releases, and media mentions
- Add videos or podcast episodes to provide a comprehensive media hub
- Attracts those interested in your media presence
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Optimize your website for search engines
- Use relevant keywords naturally in content and metadata
- Compress and label images for better performance and visibility in search results
- Improve search engine ranking, attract organic traffic, and make your books easier to find
Traffic Source Keywords
- Understand how visitors discover your website
- Analyze keywords used by visitors to reach your site
- Gain insights into audience interests
- Tailor content and SEO strategy based on keyword analysis
- Optimize your website for popular search terms to attract more targeted traffic
How Much Does an Author Website Cost?
The cost of an author website can vary from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the level of customization, graphic design, and desired features such as a blog, mailing list signups, social media integration, video and audio, interactivity, etc. Hiring premium hosting services or a professional web designer makes it cost more.
You can also upgrade your website by focusing on individual elements. For example, domain name registration typically costs around $10 to $20 per year, and web hosting platforms can range from $3 to $30 per month.
If you opt for a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, there may be additional fees for premium themes or templates, usually ranging from $30 to $100. Custom web design and work can significantly increase costs, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
To budget effectively, consider free or open-source tools for website development, saving on design costs. DIY website creation platforms like Wix or Squarespace can be affordable alternatives. Even when you pick paid services, annual plans offer discounts that make your author website a cheaper project.
Choose The Best Hosting Platform For Author Website
Selecting the right hosting service platform has several options available:
It is affordable and suitable for beginners, sharing server resources with multiple websites. However, it may suffer from slower speeds and limited control.
It offers more control and resources than shared hosting, making it ideal for growing websites. It’s moderately priced but requires some technical proficiency.
It provides exclusive server resources for your site, ensuring high performance. It’s costly and best suited for large websites or those with high traffic.
Tailored for WordPress websites, it offers speed, security, and expert support but can be more expensive.
Consider your needs, technical skills, and budget when choosing the best hosting platform. For example, if you’re just starting and want a cost-effective solution, shared hosting may be suitable. However, if you anticipate rapid growth and require more control, VPS hosting could be a better fit.
As an author, your website is more than just a platform to post on a personal blog.
Take the time to define your goals, understand your audience, and make the right technology choices. A well-planned author website can be a game-changer for your writing career.
No doubt, having an author website is essential. It serves as a crucial step in your digital marketing strategy, guaranteeing your website will amaze your potential readers more, increase book sales, and improve your publishing performance.
Lastly, if creating a website is a priority for your writing career this year, our curated list of the Best Website Builders for Authors is a must. Use this knowledge to provide a reading experience as impactful as the stories you plan to tell. Apply it!
Next Steps: What Now?
If the idea of having your own author website for your digital marketing intrigues you, here are some practical next steps to consider:
- How to Create a Sitemap: Understand how to design a sitemap that supports search engines in discovering your content.
- Find the Most Popular Domain Extensions: Compare the TLDs that will suit better your author domain name.
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