Writing a book is a massive undertaking but it isn't the only thing you need to do as a writer. You also need to think about marketing and getting your work published. Part of that process is having an author website.
Having a website helps you connect with your readers, potential editors, and publishers. It gets your work out there and can help you build your brand.
What is an author website?
It's an online site that published authors can use to interact with their target audience. You can also sell books directly to visitors, include blurbs and testimonials, and expand your author brand. Nearly every author, whether new or established, needs an author website.
While you can also have a presence on social media platforms, it's important not to rely on them but direct your followers to your website.
With social media, you are at the mercy of third-party platforms. You don't have any control over the website, such as the design, your followers, or its function. And if the platform falls out of favor, you have to start again somewhere else.
Having a website helps mitigate those issues.
4 reasons you need an author website
Some of the best author website examples have a few things in common. They allow writers to reach their audience and grow their following.
Whether you're just starting out, have a few self-published books, or are an established writer, it's important to have a website. Here's why:
1. Gives you a professional presence
Having an author website gives you a professional presence. It makes your work stand out and shows potential editors, agents, and publishers that you're taking your life as a writer seriously.
A good website can help you stand out from all the other queries that editors and agents get each month. It also shows that you're up to date with technology.
Having an online presence is essential when promoting work and something that potential editors and agents will look for.
2. Keeps your readers informed
When you have your own website as an author you can use it as a platform to build your audience, whether that's an email list, blog, or podcast.
It's also a way to let readers know about up-and-coming books, tours, and other events they might want to know about.
In addition, you can use your website as a marketing platform and implement SEO to help you rank on Google.
3. Gives you artistic license
With an author website, you have control over what goes on it. You can present yourself however you want on your website.
You can build your brand in any format you choose. That can mean adding photos, essays, videos, or just keeping it simple. It's all up to you to decide how you want your readers and potential publishers to see you.
4. Can help you connect with press
Another reason to have an author website is that it can be a way to reach out to journalists and the press about upcoming books and events. You can even have a media page with downloadable images and a bio for journalists to refer to.
While it's not a guarantee of getting press coverage, it can help you stand out and make it easier for the press to get in touch with you.
What information should you put on your author website?
If you look at some of the best author websites there are a few things you'll want to make sure to include. Here's a short list:
A short bio
First, is a short bio. You should tell people who you are, what you write, any published books or upcoming publications, and any awards you've won.
Include a page that includes all of your books, with experts and any testimonials, as well as links directing readers to where they can buy them.
Mailing list and contact page
You should also have a mailing list along with a contact page. Make sure that your contact page is easy to navigate so anyone interested in your work can easily reach out to you.
Updated news or blog page
A blog page can include some extra writing work you've done, short stories, etc. On a news page, you can post your recent appearances, and it lets your website visitors know what's happening with you lately and your writing.
Last, you can include a media page for any journalists. This should include an extended bio, details of awards, and any photos that you want to be published in the media.
Author website examples
It's one thing to talk about what you should do and another thing to see it implemented. Here are some author website examples to take a look at and get an idea of what to include in your own website:
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Writer Taylor Jenkins Reid's website focuses on her work. Her latest book is promoted first thing, with information about the book and links to buy the book not just in the U.S., but internationally as well.
Afterward, readers are directed to her other recent books, with a clear call to action. Only then does she have her about page.
One thing that stands out with Reid's website is her color scheme. The site is simple, yet bold with a bright purple and beige background to make the purple stand out more.
She uses her website as a platform to sell her work and lets the book covers do the talking. She also has a clear call to action, links to events, her contact information, and a sign-up prompt for her newsletter.
Ijeoma Oluo is a New York Times best-selling writer and speaker. Her website is about her, with a clear photo and bio about her work. The use of white space makes her photo stand out. Her bio highlights not just her writing, but her other accomplishments as well.
If you go on her website you'll see that it's easy to navigate. It has clear signage for her books, newsletter, events, and speaking engagements. In fact, the first two tabs on her website are bolded in different colors and link to her two most recent books. She has clear links to her social media without it being too aggressive.
If you have a website, use Oluo's example to make your bio and photo stand out. Direct people to your most recent books and make your social media and newsletter easy to find without being in your reader's face.
Brit Bennet is the author of the book The Vanishing Half and it's clear immediately when you go to her website. She has opted to make her popular novel at the forefront of her website, with links to order, get a book club kit, and learn more about the book.
The background colors are neutral so the bright colors of her book stand out. She also includes testimonials from others to drive interest in her book.
She also has a bright blue heading so it's easy to navigate. One thing that especially stands out is that her contact page is linked with a bright red button so it's easy to spot. All these details make this one of the best author websites.
Make sure that your contact details are visible and easy to navigate from the get-go, so any potential readers or publishers can reach out to you.
As you may already know, our Clever Girl Author founder Bola Sokunbi (and Clever Girl Finance founder) is a 4-time best-selling author.
Bola's author website is simple and neutral with the top of her home page focusing on her books.
Her website also showcases her bio, where she's been featured, her other books, and how to book her to speak. With each of these sections, you can click to learn more details.
The simplicity and cleanness of the site make it easy to navigate and helps you get straight to what you are looking for.
One key takeaway from this site is that Bola also uses it to showcase herself as a speaker. If you have an offering that's tied into your books, be it speaking, workshops, consulting, etc, be sure to highlight it on your website.
Speaking of bright colors, novelist and storyteller Neon Yang really stands out with their use of neon green. While it is not everyone's color, it immediately draws your eye.
Their landing page is also the about page, with a short bio of their work and upcoming books. Their awards and genre are also noted, which adds to credibility and professionalism.
The takeaway? You can go bold with your color choice. Colors can tell us a lot about people.
But if you go bold, keep it simple. Don't use too many colors in your color scheme and make sure to use complimentary colors. Also highlight any awards you've received, even if it was just as a finalist.
How to set up an author website
If you do want to set up your own website it's very easy to do. Follow these suggestions to put one together quickly.
Use WordPress or Squarespace
You can use a free, DIY site like WordPress or also Squarespace to set up a website. There is a little bit of a learning curve but for the most part, these sites are user-friendly. You will need to pay for hosting services, but it's usually under $20 a year.
Design your site
If you have a specific design in mind, you can hire someone to design and develop a website for you, but that will cost you. It can cost as little as $1,000 or even $10,000 depending on the type of design, customization, and features you want to be included.
Or if you have some graphic design skills, you can design your own website.
Keep it updated
Once your website is published, don't forget to keep it updated. Update it with key dates, features, and more.
You can take things further by creating a blog where you share your life or career updates with your readers on a regular basis.
An author website is easy to create and can help your career!
Regardless of if you are an established writer or just getting started, it's a smart idea to have an author website with your domain name.
It can be simple or complex. But it should include basic things like your bio, links to your books, newsletter, blog, and contact page.
Remember, if you're unsure of what to include, you can refer to some of the best author websites to get an idea of how to set up your website.