build author websites

Why and How to Build an Author’s Website?

These days, with more and more people being online, it is crucial for authors to have a good online presence. One of the key features that accentuates their online presence is an author website. Previously, readers used to visit libraries, bookstores, be a part of offline/local book clubs, etc., and that is how they get updated about the new books on the market. However, in the recent times, selection, purchase, and review of books are done online. Even the book clubs have gone online these days. Bibliophiles, these days, prefer to check book reviews on pages like GoodReads, Amazon, etc. Also, social media is the new word-of-mouth; in this tech-savvy age, you need to be omnipresent on the Internet to capture your readers’ attention. Here are a few suggestions as to why and how to build an author’s website.

Why should you have your own website?

While many might think that having a personal website is narcissistic, if you are an author, having an author website is an altruistic act as you will be sharing your knowledge and works with your audience. Some of the benefits of having an author website are as follows:

Brand Building:

Brand building is necessary not only for consumer brands, but is crucial for your books, too. Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat, Preeti Shenoy, Amish Tripati, etc., have built a brand name through their author websites and social media. Once you build a good brand image, you and your works get instant recognition on a global platform.

Fan Base Creation:

Gone are those days where many authors adapted to pen names and wrote in disguise. While the idea of writing in disguise seems intelligent and interesting, the truth is that your face adds a lot more value to your works. Readers of the current generation prefer to know the authors through their websites, social media channels, etc. The better the reader knows that you are real, the more are his/her chances of becoming your fan.

Direct Selling:

When you have a well-established author site, it allows you to sell your books directly. Although Amazon, Flipkart, etc. are great portals to sell your books, you can increase your revenue by direct selling. Also, if you don’t want to get involved in selling, you can leave that to your publishers, and you can concentrate on providing more and more information about your book on your website, which is a great marketing strategy.

Important elements your website should have:

Use a slick design – it creates a lasting first impression:

Design is the first thing that your readers notice about your website. The design should be slick, sleek, and subtle. While fun, fantasy, or quirky elements in the design do make your website look unique, it is always the professional yet simple-looking websites that catch the readers’ mind.

Include an author bio & contact information:

A brief bio about you and your work is the most mandatory thing on the website. It doesn’t need to be flashy or quirky, but it must be prominent, unique, and interesting. Writing the author bio from a third person’s point of you definitely helps in making it look more eye-grabbing. Also, make sure to leave hyperlinks to all your social media platforms, and specify your e-mail ID as well.

Update as often as possible:

Your author website is actually obsolete if you don’t update it often. Include new reviews on the testimonial page of your site. Also, you can conduct giveaways on your website. Some of the authors even conduct contests on their website about their new books. These methods ensure that your website gets good traffic and views. Additionally, mention about all your offline events and press coverages on your author site.

Have a blog on your author website:

No matter if you are a blogger-turned-author or just an author, having a blog is useful at various levels. Firstly, it helps you to connect with various blogs around the globe. Also, it helps you to communicate regularly with your writers. You needn’t necessarily always write about books; you can also write on general topics or public issues.

Add social media feeds:

To showcase your social media activities on your website, place Facebook, Twitter, and other social media widgets on your website. Many WordPress hosted websites have this option inbuilt, so it can be easy to incorporate this. One of the biggest benefits of having this on your website is that apart from enhancing your design, it also increases your credibility among your readers.

Add mobile responsiveness:

In the recent times, people search and browse most of the online information using their mobile phones. According to a research, on an average, people, especially young adults, check their smart phones for about five hours each day. Therefore, it is necessary to add mobile responsiveness feature to your website.

A brief UX audit on famous author websites:

We handpicked few Indian and international author websites and did a brief UX audit on the same. If you are looking to create your own author website, this gives you an insight on what really works for these famous sites and what are the things that needs to be avoided.

Amish Tripathi

What works?

The design theme is related to his literary flavor and it might interest his target audience.

The sliding banner in the second half of the page, which showcases his works, is informative.

Latest news from social media is embedded with the website and it is highly useful to follow all the updates from the author in a single page.

What could’ve been better?

Forthcoming events could have been elaborated on the homepage to engage users immediately. Having banners or a special section for it in the homepage might have been more useful.

When people are visiting an author’s page, they would like to see more information about the author; currently, this is placed in the footer, which is not very appealing. Instead, a separate webpage about the author and his works with a menu button for it in the home page might have been a better choice.

Ravi Subramanian

What works?

The clean design of the website with no background distractions is very user-friendly.

Having a blog on a writer’s personal page is an excellent idea because it covers most literary updates and activities by the author.

What could’ve been better?

On most pages, there is very less content. As the target audiences are avid readers, having more interesting and engaging content elevates the user experience.

Preeti Shenoy

What works?

The excellent banner design with the latest news on activities and books of the author keeps the visitors well informed.

The section about the prominent projection of her famous literary works gives new visitors a hint on which books to read next.

The website has a very well-organized menu with all the information that a user needs; this definitely improves the user experience.

What could’ve been better?

Lack of text on the home page can be a disadvantage for SEO purposes. While her fans might find the home page interesting, it can be ambiguous for new visitors as there is no text on the home page.

Chetan Bhagat

What works?

The menu has very nice information hierarchy; it has a set of common information categories that users generally look for in an author page.

The Fan Café section seems to be an interesting feature as it garners user engagement.

What could’ve been better?

The home page has just a video promoting his latest book and no other information. This is a huge setback for this website.

Amitav Ghosh

What works?

The information hierarchy is good and prominent.

The website provides a lot of information on the works released by the author, unlike any other author websites.

The website is sophisticated and professional just like the author’s works.

David Baldacci

What works?

The home page clearly showcases the offers and promotions for his books.

There is a fixed bar with the list of his books, which leads to webpages of individual books by the author.

There is also a section called recent news on the web page, which provides news and updates about the author’s professional life. This is very useful for fans to know about the events that he attends.

The menu is very well organized with various aspects that will interest fans as well as new visitors.

Stephen King

What works?

Since Stephen King is an author with numerous literary works, the library feature that has a search utility to find his books is useful and great.

There is a clear organization of content across the home page as news, updates, and events.

Being a well-known and unique writer, his website has a unique and different design that suits his genre of work.

J. K. Rowling

What works?

Author of the famous Harry Potter series wields a magic not just with her words but also on her website with the magical design.

The timeline view of recent news and updates is visually appealing.

The website has pleasant colors and unique paper background with handwritten font style. This will definitely appeal to her fans.

What could’ve been better?

The site is not user-friendly when viewed through mobile.

Scrolling down options in a couple of web pages has glitches.

Dan Brown

What works?

One of the best designed author websites.

The website is themed around the literary genre of the author.

Image dominated theme makes the website look visually stunning.

The vertical scroll through design not only makes the website look appealing, but it also makes the website very user-friendly.

From the UX Audit, we can learn that some of the best authors have the best websites, and they use it effectively to reach out to their audience. No matter if you are a debutante, budding, or best-selling author, having an author website, which is useful to your fans, will definitely make your books sell more as well as increase your fan base.

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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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