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In the world of indie publishing, an author is responsible for almost every aspect of marketing their book (and if you’re like me, that’s a major part of the indie author appeal). One major part of your marketing plan as an indie author should be an author website (read more here).
I am still 100% a believer that WordPress is the way to go. I know WordPress can seem scary, but I’ve recently discovered a WordPress theme that takes all the scary coding of WordPress and takes it away. If you haven’t heard of Divi by Elegant Themes, I highly suggest checking it out (I’m currently running the Laura Teagan website on Divi).
Much like a blog, there are some pages that you need for your author website. Some of these will be similar to a blog, but others are different. So, let’s start at the beginning. As we break down these pages, I’ll use my own website as a reference.
1. A Home Page
A home page is a key part (and it’s really where you should start), as that’s where most people will land first on your website. A good homepage will have a few things – some marketing (maybe a slider or news about a book), a link to at least one book (the first one in a series will work), and some blog post links if you choose to have a blog.
Like a blog, you want to grab emails for your author website. Emails are one of the most valuable things you can have as an author – these people are your fans. So, below the slider, the first thing I have is a sign-up form. You can’t see from this screengrab, but the slider features information about my books. If you’re uncomfortable about using a slider, you can add information about your books somewhere else on the home page.
In the past few months, I’ve been focusing more on content on Laura Teagan (though I have failed pretty miserably these past two months), so I added a widget that shows my latest blog posts.
The template I used from the Divi theme also included a counter on the page, so I had fun with it. Is it necessary? No, not really. But part of a good website will show a little bit of humanity, and I think the numbers are a great way to add a little bit of personality.
Building your own author website? Here are some key things you need to include! Click To Tweet
With the pictures at the bottom, I’m subtly reminding people that this is a website about books (which you can also see in the slider and in the menu).
2. An About Page
While I’m a firm believer that bloggers should have bios in first person, I think an author website can get away with a third person bio. While blogs are meant as a very personal, and often informal experience, this website will be your official front as an author. Also, admit it, we all sound a little cooler in third person, right?
3. A Page for Your Books
To help with SEO, it’s best to have one book per page (you can have a series page that links to each individual page if you write those). So, The Assassin and Double Played each get a page.
If you’ve already published, there are three things you should definitely have:
- Reviews of your books (Mine are in the slider)
- A buy link to take people to buy your book
- and if you’re on a Goodreads, add that on there, too
If you aren’t published yet, those three things are really relevant. The two things you do need regardless of publication status are a book cover and a blurb. If you’re feeling extra awesome, add a link to have people read the first chapter or two on your website as a PDF (note to self, add this to your website).
You want this page to like a lead page for a course – tell people why they need to buy your book now!
While those are the three most important pages you need, a few other pages that are important are:
- A Contact Page
- An FAQ page (especially as you gain traction as a writer)
- A writers’ resource page (this is on my list to add)
- A press page of all the great places you’ve talked about your books (think other websites, podcats, magazines)
If building your author website is a little intimidating for you right now, don’t worry! In the beginning of 2017, I’ll be launching my first course: all tailored for helping you build your website with the Divi theme! Think that sounds interesting? Be sure to sign up down below so you’ll know exactly when the course goes live.