The key to online visibility for an author/writer is a superior website. It is the foundation on which to build your writing career. A quality website can bring notoriety, popularity, respect and brand recognition. Conversely, a poorly-crafted URL may give you little notice in the digital world.
Following is a list of the ten items a writer’s website needs:
- Biography of the author
- List of books written by the author
- Calendar: dates where readers can meet and interact with the author
- Photos of the author, plus past events, appearances, speeches
- Links to purchase books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other websites
- Subscribe to e-newsletter
- Links to the author’s Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest fan pages
- Link to book trailer(s)
- Author’s blog
- Contact page: where readers can write a fan letter or request an appearance
Some authors like to have their latest book or a main character take the lead on their website, like Lee Child (www.leechild.com), whose character, Jack Reacher, is the focus, or “The Passage” book trilogy, by Justin Cronin (www.enterthepassage.com). Others opt for a themed website, like Janet Evanovich’s (www.evanovich.com) site, that exudes a decidedly mysterious feel, or Kansas Writers Association’s own B.D. Tharp (www.bdtharp.com). Ms. Tharp writes hen lit, or adult women’s literature, and her website is warm, homey and female-friendly.
Your website doesn’t require an artsy design; however, it must have solid content. A basic template with great information will draw your readers in. “Your website is like the frame around a picture. Many authors spend more time on the frame than they do on the picture,” according to Thomas Umstattd, Jr., CEO, Author Media.
Purchasing the latest version of Dreamweaver does not guarantee you will be up to the job of URL architect. Website builders don’t come cheap, if you’re hiring one. There are some economical ways to do it, if you aren’t married to a computer genius. Helpful sites like (www.AuthorWebsites.com) and (www.elance.com) offer ranges of services to construct and host your ideal site.
A simple, well-kept author website can build a loyal following, as well as your own confidence. Researching like-genre sites may help you find ideas to use (or not!) as a template. The most important thing to remember is focus on your readers.
“When you type in an author’s name, his/her website is first thing that comes up. To be the first result that pops up in a Google search is reason enough to have a website.”–Annik LaFarge, author of The Author Online: A Short Guide to Building Your Website Whether You Do It Yourself Or You Work With Pros