Without a website, an author is unknown.
Without a website, an author sells fewer books.
Without a website, an author has limited web presence.
Without a website, an author has limited media presence.
Without a website, an author can’t maximize his or her creativity, expertise and talent.
You get the point. An author website is crucial. But too often, authors are simply told to set up a website, yet rarely are they given specific tips on how to make it AMAZING. This article will offer several key elements for successful author websites, in addition to various links to existing author websites that personify those elements.
But before you begin designing your website, remember WHY authors create websites:
*To sell books and/or products
*To be viewed as experts
*To accumulate fans
*To maintain a baseline of all marketing communication
*To be easy to get in touch with
*To maximize their web and media presence
While there are many other goals specific to each author, each of the above goals is paramount in ALL author websites. And if you want to accomplish these goals, consider some of the following tips.
Obtain a domain name such as www.yourname.com or www.yourtitle.com. It should be easy to remember and, more importantly, consistent with you and your work. Also, when you get the website up and running, use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything else doesn’t look professional. And for the love of God, don’t use an AOL or Yahoo account.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #1: www.sethgodin.com.
Let’s face it: people judge books by their covers. In fact, according to Amazon.com, customers are four times as likely to purchase books if they can see the cover art. So be sure to include images all over your site. And, include a few high resolution, downloadable pictures of YOU, as well. Book buyers love putting the author’s face with the book. And this will make it easy for other people to cut and paste those pictures on their sites and promote you, your work and your website.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #2: www.gitomer.com.
Make sure your books are available for purchase on Amazon.com. Even though the friendly people at Amazon take a whopping 55% of every book you sell, there IS a credibility issue there. Customers like the idea that your book is available on Amazon. Also, consider having Paypal or a shopping cart as additional payment options. It may seem repetitive, but it does make your books easier to buy.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #3: www.antion.com.
Most authors write articles, special reports and other publications related to their area of expertise. On your site, make these publications FREE to the public for reading and downloading. Be sure to include a quick byline and reference to your books at the end of each publication. Now, many Internet experts will disagree with this idea. They say ‘never give anything away for free.’ I say: give value first, show people your work is incredible and turn them into fans. Then you will keep them around forever.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #4: www.hellomynameisscott.com.
You need to create community via your website. This is the number one way to accumulate fans. Publish a blog, ezine, a newsletter, message board or link exchange on your site. And make sure people see a link to your ‘community builder’ on every page.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #5: www.bob-baker.com.
This page will include most of your downloadable pictures, biographical information, press releases, media appearances, personal FAQ’s and possible interview questions. The purpose of this page is to make it easy for people from the media to interview you, promote you and write articles or reviews about your work.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #6: www.parapublishing.com.
Have you ever purchased a book solely based on a review? I know I have. And third party endorsements show – don’t tell – that your work is valuable to the reader. So, try to spread these testimonials throughout the website, or even consider having a whole page of just reviews.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #7: www.jeffreymagee.com.
Readers like the idea of emailing, calling or contacting the author personally. Even if you can’t respond to every single inquiry, it’s still important to be accessible. Too many authors are stereotyped as being unapproachable. So, make this contact information visible in the same spot on every single page.
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #8: www.drphil.com.
Excerpts from your books and sample chapters are perfect ways to share your writing with people who come to your site. This is an especially effective way to sell books, because after reading a snippet of your work, people will want more. I suggest offering the first chapter or two of your book(s) as a downloadable PDF. And don’t forget to include a short note with a link to the sale page at the end of the sample!
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #9: www.fredgleek.com.
Most authors are also speakers, workshop leaders or seminar hosts. This occurs for several reasons. First of all, books don’t pay the bills (unless you’re JK Rowling). Secondly, speaking validates the author’s expertise and promotes his or her books. Thirdly, speaking has the potential to pay significantly more money that writing; especially if your work is well known. So, spend some time organizing your writings into modular speaking programs that offer additional value beyond a book. Then position those speaking services on your site on a page called ‘Speaking Engagements’ or ‘Public Appearances.’
AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE #10: www.life-after-college.com.
It’s a lot of work to create an amazing author website. But the bottom line is, if you don’t exist on the web, you don’t exist at all.