5 Tips for a Perfect Author Website

23 Jan


In a survey, commissioned by the Romance Writers of America  41 per cent of all readers visited authors’ websites and 20 per cent more planned to do it.  This means almost two third of readers visit author websites eventually – while only 18 per cent ever visited authors’ Facebook pages.
It shows the importance of a visitor-friendly and regularly updated site.  Website visitors often decide in 5 seconds or less, if they will scan your content or if they click away from your site.
Before you or your web designer start creating your website make a plan that should cover at least these points:

  • Easy to Read
  • Easy to Navigate the Website
  • Easy to Use Links to Other Sites
  • Contact Form for Visitors
  • Sales Page e-Commerce for Your Books

Writing for the Web
Web design consideration: In what pattern do people scan (not read!) your website?  Your first two sentences of each web page must convince the visitor to stay on your page.
Learn how to write for the web: from most important on top to less further on.  Keep your text short, use lots of paragraphs, sub titles, bullet lists and to make your web page appealing, add lots of images and graphics.  Here are some samples of author websites:  Check out these websites from famous writers too:


Easy to Navigate
One thing, with many websites have in common, is lots of clutter which hide the key messages. It’s almost as if some people want to put everything on one tiny page. Removing some of the clutter, particularly from the main page or what visitors can see, without scrolling down, can help to deliver the key messages. Ask yourself: Is my site easy to navigate, and does it have some empty space to make it easy to read?

Links to Other Sites
If you have links to other sites: what happens when the visitor to your site clicks them? If they are taken
directly to another site in the same window, and they find something more interesting, you have lost them.  All your external links should be set to open in a new window, leaving your site still on view.
SEO: To move up to the top of the search list, you need to have lots of links from other web sites to your page; submit your web pages to various sites that deal with your topic and encourage them to link their readers to you in return of the favor. Get lots of tips how to get more inbound-links. 

Contact Form
Set up a comments box on your site for visitors to communicate directly with you through email.
Ensure your visitors, that their email addresses are only used to respond to messages, and not being
sold or used for any other purposes.  Don’t place your email address on your site, to avoid getting junk emails.

Maximize Your Web Traffic and Sell Online
Improve your visibility on search engines by using clear and accurate keywords in your web site title, description and body text. 
If you are selling your books directly from your site:  is it fully secure, from the buyers perspective? Any web pages which require sensitive customer details, need to be fully encrypted. If your web page has no https in the address bar, it shows that it is not secure.  Read also how to get lots of visitors and book lovers to your website.

Usability as Common Courtesy – Why People Really Leave Web Sites:
Want to learn more about a professional author website: this is the most important and useful book, you should read before anything else:  Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability  2nd Edition, by Steve Krug

Web Design and Best Practices Videos:



1 Comment

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Marketing, Website & SEO


Tags: , , , , , ,

One response to “5 Tips for a Perfect Author Website

  1. seanmunger

    January 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I think this is very good advice for the extremely technical aspects of web design, but what’s missing is the number one element that gets people reading author websites: interesting content! No one wants to read an author website that is nothing more than lavish pictures of their book covers (more often than not, whooshing by from right to left at the top of the screen) and with no other content than author bio and a bunch of “click here to buy” links. 41% of readers may visit websites like this, but they won’t stay. You’ve actually got to have something to read there other than “buy my book.”

    While I don’t have the same sort of quantifiable numbers as RWA does with a survey, what I hear anecdotally from people who read books is that author websites are almost universally boring. That’s the word I hear most often–“boring.” I think the best advice one can give an author for a good website is, make one that’s not boring. Easier said than done, but there it is.


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