The Benefits of Having an Author Website
Do authors need a website?
Just this morning, one of my clients asked me if he needed an author website. I told him he doesn’t NEED one, but if he has enough money in his budget (or he could learn the skills to create his own author website), then it would be a worthwhile excellent investment. I went on to explain why having an author website is a great idea, and I thought I’d share it with you too.
First, let me explain what having an author website means for you in its day-to-day reality. If you have an author website, you can:
- drive traffic to it from your social media platforms (and get people to take action – join your subscriber list, buy your book, leave you a review etc)
- show off your writing skills with your blog – what better place for potential readers to see your talent?
- sell author copies of your books (and make more profit by cutting out the middleman)
- get more eyes on your author brand – creating more pathways for potential readers to find you can only be a bonus, right?
Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I think so too. But before I get ahead of myself, let me explain a few things about creating an author website.
What’s the point of an author website?
Think about the purpose of any website. Basically, it’s your shop window for current and potential readers to find out more about you and your books (and purchase them from you directly).
Additionally, it’s a simple way of capturing future readers and building relationships with them, so they buy your current books and jump on your pre-order when it’s available.
What should an author website include?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Even a one-page author website is enough to cover all bases. Ultimately, I’d suggest you have the following sections/pages on your author website:
- Home page (inc contact, social media details and a newsletter sign-up box)
- About page (bio)
- Books (inc reviews and links to buy)
It really can be that simple.
An author website promotes your books 24/7. It’s your virtual sales assistant who never stops working.
Author Website Domain Name and Hosting
Without getting overly techy, I just wanted to explain how to get started on your author website if this is an option you wish to pursue. You’ll need to buy a domain name and some hosting. Make sure your domain name is easy to remember, searchable, professional and represents you and your book’s genre. For example, I worked with a fab author last year whose website is www.cornishcrimeauthor.com. Cornish Crime Author is searchable and easy to remember. It represents the author’s brand, enhancing her reputation as a professional author, and as the old ad once said: ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’. If you love crime thrillers with a smattering of domestic noir, be sure to check out her books; they truly are first-class. Julie Evans Cornish Crime Author.
Word of warning … don’t choose your book title as the domain name, especially if you intend to write more books or a series of books.
The About Page/Section
Share some personal snippets here, along with a photograph. It’s the perfect opportunity to hook your potential readers, build up the know, like and trust elements of your relationship with them, and let them see the face behind the brand. Please don’t go overboard here; your life story is not required. Just provide enough details to pique your web visitors’ interest.
The Books Page/Section
Obviously, this is where you need to add your books with a link to buy (a call to action). I particularly like how Mark Edwards (one of my favourite domestic noir writers) has his books set out on his website with the options to buy direct from him or from his publisher. This type of presentation may work for you, particularly if you have several books to display on your site. If you’re in the early stages of your author career, simply add a high-quality image of your book (or a snazzy 3d version) and its blurb along with a ‘buy now’ button.
If you have some good book reviews, add those to this page/section. Think of them as your 24/7 virtual sales assistant who sells your books while you sleep.
And don’t forget to add your ‘coming soon’ books too. This is a good marketing tactic to create a buzz around your forthcoming title, AND it’s going to make you accountable (so you can’t keep swerving your publication deadline).
The benefits of having an author website
- You’re in charge. Social media is a great starting point for promoting your book and building up a following, but it can be a prickly and precarious place. So don’t rely solely on it for capturing, entertaining, and engaging your readers. If you have your own website, you’re in charge. No algorithms to frustrate you, no ads to pay through the nose for, and no possibility of losing all your content because your page has been closed down (for a random reason).
- You’ll attract more readers. If you are consistently marketing and driving traffic to your website, you’ll get more readers in the long term. Of course, you’ll also have to ensure you’re encouraging your web visitors/potential readers to take action (ie to buy your books, sign up for your newsletter, leave you a review or comment on your blog posts), and in doing so, you’ll boost your book sales.
- You can showcase your talent. And what better excuse than your blog to demonstrate how beautifully honed your writing skills are?
- You can make more money. Selling your books from your site is a great way to make money for yourself. All you need to do is purchase your author copies from whichever printer or print-on-demand platform you’ve used and then sell them signed copies directly to your buyers with a little extra for postage and packaging.
- You’ll look like a professional author. Imagine having your own website to send potential buyers, bookshops, and local media to. It just oozes professionalism, doesn’t it?
A little recap about author websites
If writing and publishing books are a long-term vision and you’re serious about your author brand, I’d say an author website should be part of your book marketing strategy.
A recap of the benefits of having an author website:
- driving traffic to it from your social media platforms
- showcasing your writing skills
- having a separate place to sell your books to the public on your terms
- getting more eyes on your books
- capturing the email addresses of potential readers who want to subscribe to your newsletter
And aside from the practicalities, it’s great fun watching your website grow and evolve. It’s another wonderful outlet for your creativity and it’s something you will become very proud of as your author journey progresses and your confidence grows.
I hope that’s given you ample food for thought. Having a website is a superb investment for your author business. Like the rest of your marketing efforts, however, you need to tend to your website to increase your traffic (the people who visit it) and turn them into readers, so blogging, primarily, will need to be a regular task.
If an author website sounds like the perfect marketing tool for your book business, but you don’t want to create it yourself, feel free to get in touch. My trusted team and I can do everything for you, from creating the website to setting up the hosting and writing the content. Prices for a one-page website start at £350 and include these sections:
- Author bio
- Book link
- Contact section
- Email list builder
- Video tutorial to teach you how to update your website after it’s gone live
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