Creating Author Websites: The Definitive Guide

creating author websites

If you want to be discovered as a writer, there’s an important question you need to consider.

Can agents, publishers and readers find you?

The bitter truth is, if you can't be found, nobody can discover you.

In this post, you'll learn how to be found by creating an author website. 

I know about being discovered first-hand. Three weeks after I had published a few articles on relationships on a website some years ago, I was contacted by a publishing house and was invited to write Learn to Love, a book later translated into 7 languages. 

Author websites

I tell you, being discovered was a mind-blowing experience!

Read on to find out how YOU can secure your future success as an author. ​

INTRODUCTION

What’s your most important task if you want to become a published author: Practice writing, plan a book or create an author website?

Experts suggest creating an author website is one of the most important tasks for aspiring writers.

After all, your biggest problem as an aspiring author isn't a lack of skill or the competition of other writers; it's obscurity.

Obscurity is the disease; building an author website is the cure.

Click to Tweet
Tom MorkesTomMorkes.com

The most important function of author websites is to serve as your platform; the place where people can find you, your books, and your writing. Tom Morkes, TomMorkes.com

Whether you plan on writing a novel or a nonfiction book, you need to cultivate your audience before you write your book.

This holds true whether you want to self-publish or want to attract the attention of a traditional publishing house.

Agents and publishers look for authors with a builtin audience.

Click to Tweet

Here’s what the heavy-weight publisher Penguin Random House has to say about author websites:

A website gives authors credibility and acts as their home on the web, directing information-seekers to where they can buy the book, connect with the author on social media, or book the author for a speaking engagement. From: 10 Tips For a Successful Author Website.

Unfortunately, most aspiring authors don’t understand that you need to create an author website before you need it. It's crucial to build it as early as possible.

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. These tips will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

Joel FriedlanderTheBookDesigner.com

The key things to consider when building an author platform are the persona you plan to inhabit; consistency of message, branding, and tone; and focusing your efforts on the places and methods of communication your specific readers prefer.

Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com

But what to display on your website, and what to write?

Read on and you'll never run out of ideas for author websites. Promise!

The One Thing That Makes Your Writing Career Take Off

Author websites work well for both nonfiction and fiction writers.  Below, you'll find some great ideas on how to create author websites that build a raving fan-base.

Before I go into the details, let’s take a quick look at two different websites to see which one is immediately more attractive, and why.

Imagine you've  browsed through Amazon and have downloaded a free Kindle book by a new author. You like it!

What’s the next thing you’re going to do?

Most likely, you’ll try to find them on the Net and then look at their website.

What would make you spend time on their author website?

The answer is simple: If there’s something to read.

Unfortunately, most author websites are as boring as bat’s piss.

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. They will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

Would you be keen to dig around in this website and read praise for Eric Rickstad

author websites

Or would you rather read this about Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl?

I was not a nice little girl. My favorite summertime hobby was stunning ants and feeding them to spiders. My preferred indoor diversion was a game called Mean Aunt Rosie, in which I pretended to be a witchy caregiver and my cousins tried to escape me.

You can see her cheeky autobiographical details in the image below...

author websites

Gillian Flynn’s approach is a lot more interesting, right?

This is because she created her author website with readers in mind.

Dan BlankWeGrowMedia.com

When you consider an author platform, the center is not a thing. Not a blog, a website, a podcast, or a marketing strategy. The center is the person you want to connect with — the head and the heart.
WeGrowMedia.com

Let’s take a look at what exactly makes author websites work. First up are three websites by fiction writers and then we’ll take a close look at three nonfiction websites.

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. These tips will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

THE ANATOMY OF CREATING AUTHOR WEBSITES

A. Fiction Websites

Here are three fiction writers who have created excellent author websites. Just like the authors, each website has a unique character.

Example #1:   Brad Thor 

Brad writes thrillers. As you can see below, the design fits the genre. You’ll also notice a signup form for collecting emails.

creating author websites

This website has some interesting features. For example, when you click on Reader Experience in the navigation bar, you get to a section where fans can deepen their experience of each of his books.

For example, in the section about his book, Code of Conduct, Brad talks about his protagonist, Scot Harvath.

In CODE OF CONDUCT, we find Scot Harvath in places he’s never been before. When his mission takes him into the heart of the Congolese jungle, he brings a rugged laptop and a mobile satellite tower to ensure he stays connected on the job.

Brad then describes the gear Harvath is using. The images of the gear are linked to sales pages. This is an innovative way to monetize an author site! Brad also runs a line of clothes for his fans, and has linked a shopify site to his author platform.

Next up is a very different author,  Elizabeth Chadwick.​

Example #2: Elizabeth Chadwick

Elizabeth write historical novels. As you can see, the look of her website matches her genre. 

author websites

 

Check out her welcome message below. 

Please do come in and browse around. Here you’ll find the latest information about my novels and bonus pages taking you inside my research methods together with biographical information about the characters you meet in my books. The site will be updated and added to regularly so check in from time to time to see what’s new.

As you can see from the welcome message, this website is dynamic, which means that the site delivers regular, fresh content.

If I was interested in historical fiction, I'd track back to this site regularly. Wouldn't you?

However, this website lacks something very important:

A form to collect email addresses. 

We now come to our third example of a fiction writer's author platform.

Example #3:  Joanna Penn

Joanna has two author websites. One is for all her books and the other is for her thrillers.

Here is her general author platform: TheCreativePenn.com 

create author platform

As you can see, Joanna is a prolific writer. Not only has she published numerous thrillers, she's also turned her experience of writing into a row of books for writers. 

The author website for her thrillers, J.F. Penn, is quite different in character.

Take a look...​

author websites

The design mirrors her genre.

Joanna has focused her author website firmly on her readers. If you scroll down the homepage, you can find links to articles like “What I’m working on right now” with updates of her progress.

how to create author websites

On both her author platforms, Joanna offers attractive opt-in gifts to build her email list. For example, on her thriller website, she has the following form:

author websites

As you can see, Joanna Penn has found many different ways to attract and entertain her readers.

So, if you're a fiction writer,  what kind of content could you use on your author website?

Think of constructing your author website like the ‘special features’ section of a DVD. Offer additional information that the readers can’t get by reading your books.

Take a look at the following 10 tips for fiction writers. Some of these tips can be used right away, even before your book is written. Others work well once you’ve published your novel.

10 Tips for Fiction Author Websites

Tip #1: Publish deleted scenes and alternate endings.
There are always scenes that are cut out of the final novel. Readers enjoy reading them.

In his article, 10 Ways Proven to Draw Readers to your Novel's Website, Thomas Umstattd has this excellent tip: 

Thomas UmstattdAuthorMedia.com

Mention this at the end of your book: ‘You can find hidden chapters and deleted scenes on my website.’ This will make people curious to see what got cut from the book.  
Thomas Umstattd, AuthorMedia.com

Tip #2: Publish short stories.

If you’re a budding novelist, publishing short stories is a great way to begin. Consider writing short stories about some of the protagonists in your upcoming book.

If you've already published a book, you fans will love reading short stories about their favorite characters.

Tip #3: Answer reader questions.

Many readers have questions. Instead of answering them individually, create a page on your site with answers to common questions. If you are not yet a published author, you could create and publish questions that your friends or family members have asked you about your project.

Tip #4: Show the status of your upcoming book.

Let the reader know how your upcoming novel is progressing. You can even include a progress bar. Here are two progress bar plugins: Author Work in Progress and My Book Progress.

author websites

Tip #5: Preview your upcoming book.

Give your readers a taste of the book you’re writing. You can even publish a chapter or a scene and give it away as a download.

Tip #6: Promote email signup.

You need to display a signup box or popup on every page of your author website  to get readers to subscribe.

The most important function of author websites is not to sell books, it’s to grow an email list.

I’ll talk more about collecting emails in a moment. Here is how Lisa Unger promotes her email list:

author websites

Tip #7: Share research.

Readers love to be part of your creative project. That's why it's a great idea to share your research of locations or historic events. For example, you could show images of your chosen locations and write about why you chose them for your novel.

Tip #8: Offer book recommendations.

Consider recommending other books in your genre. Your readers will be grateful and the authors you mention may become your friends. You can create regular updates about new books while you're still writing your novel.

Tip: If you recommend books, make sure you become an Amazon affiliate so that you get a modest income from your author platform.

Tip #9: Create a podcast.

A podcast about your creative journey with snippets about your upcoming book can be an attractive feature of author websites.

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. They will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

Tip #10: Create a video series.

A video series on Youtube where you talk about your books or your creative process can be a drawcard for your fans.

As you can see from these ten tips, there are many ways to create an attractive author platform if you're a fiction writer.

Jane FriedmanJaneFriedman.com

Every author's platform is as unique as a fingerprint. We each have different backgrounds, resources, networks, and strengths to draw upon. Each author must consider what they can do on a long-term basis that is sustainable for them, that fits with their goals and standards of success.  
Jane Friedman, JaneFriedman.com

Next, let's take a look at examples of nonfiction websites.​

B. Nonfiction Websites

If you aspire to write a nonfiction book, running an author website is the easiest way to create your book. It also works wonders, once you’ve published your book.

The reason an author website makes it easy to create your book is because you can publish articles or posts on your website and then use them as a basis for your book. ​ 

In order to publish regular new content, you need a dynamic website built upon a blogging platform like WordPress.org.

Let’s take a look at three authors who started creating their books by publishing articles on their website. 

Example #1: Joy Bauer

Joy Bauer's website is about health and nutrition. 

create author website

In this author website, you can find a massive amount of information about nutrition and health. 

Whether you want to lose weight or want to know which foods to avoid if you suffer from arthritis, you can find the information here. As you can imagine, people who subscribe to this website will return again and again. And they’ll want to buy Joy’s books!

Example #2: Yuval Noah Harari

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. He pulls out all the stops on his website. 

crating author websites

Yuval's website is interactive. He poses questions and answers them in videos and short articles. For visitors, this website is a journey of discovery.

creating author websites

Once you've watched the videos and read the articles, you'll want to buy his book—which is the main purpose of this website.

Unfortunately, Yuval's website lacks email signup forms.

Remember, building an email list is crucial because you can start to build and nurture a fan-base. 

​Example #3: Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero is a success coach for women. 

creating author websites

Jen's book has catapulted her into the limelight. Her author platform is firmly focused on gathering reader emails. As you can see in the image above, she has a signup form right in the header of her website. 

Readers also see Sumome's Welcome Mat when they arrive at the website:

how to create  author websites

As you can see, each of the three authors above has created attractive platforms. Each website is unique, yet they all share common strategies. Check out the following tips for nonfiction authors.

10 Tips For Nonfiction Author Websites

The following tips will give you some fresh ideas on what to use on your nonfiction author platform.

Tip #1: Publish regular fresh content.

When you publish a range of articles related to your chosen topic, you’ll be regarded as an expert. Publishing fresh content regularly makes for a vibrant author platform.

Tip #2: Promote email signups.

Make sure every page on your website shows a signup form or a popup which encourages readers to sign up to your email list. Check out Joel Friedlander's post Why Building an Email List is Essential For Authors.

Tip #3: Create a Lead Magnet.

A lead magnet is a gift with which you reward new subscribers. The most effective lead magnets are tip sheets or resource lists. CLICK HERE to get the free report, Create a Lead Magnet in Less than 5 Hours.

Tip #4: Offer a quiz.

Readers love quizzes! Check out the successful quiz we created on WritetoDone on grammar tips for writers.

Tip #5: Answer reader questions.

If you look through the comments, you’ll find a wealth of reader questions you can answer.

Brooke WarnerWarnerCoaching.com

When publishers talk about authors who have great platforms, they are generally referring to authors who have great websites and/or blogs (meaning interactive, functional, and with a clear and easy-to-find sign-up form); authors with a high number of followers across various social media platforms; authors with previous publications (of either books or articles); and authors who already have a fair amount of media exposure under their belts—through a list of public speaking engagements, YouTube videos showcasing their talents, radio links, TV footage, and/or a media packet.

Brooke Warner, WarnerCoaching.com

Tip #6: Create roundup posts.

You can become a trusted authority about a topic by researching and gathering information from other writers.  Inform the authors you link to about your post and ask them to share it on social media.

Tip #7: Create challenges.

You can energize and motivate your readers by issuing challenges. For example, Are You Ready For The Great Writing Challenge 2016 got over 660 comments.

Tip #8: Create contests.

Contests are a great way to create buzz on your website. Make sure there’s an interesting prize at the end. You may need to ask for a small registration fee to fund your prize.

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. They will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

Tip #9 Show the status of your upcoming book.

Even if you haven't started writing you book yet, refer to it on your About page. You can say you are ...the author of the upcoming book [Title]  and give an approximate publishing date. This will give you authority and motivate you to complete your book.

Tip #10 Use multimedia.

You can incorporate images, videos, slide decks, or podcasts on your website.

As you can see, nonfiction writers have many options for creating an arresting author website.


But how to create it?

That's the question we'll explore in the following section.

CREATING AUTHOR WEBSITES: HOW TO DO IT

One of the questions I get asked regularly is: 'Should I create one author website for all the books I'm planning to write, or should I create a separate website for each book?"

​Nina Amir has some good advice (click to read the complete quote): 

Nina AmirNinaAmir.com

Build a platform that serves you and all your projects now and in the future. Create a career plan that includes all the books or blogs you plan to write. Then build an author platform with this in mind.

As you can see from Nina Amir's quote, the best thing you can do is to create an author website as a container for all the books you might want to write in the future.

The following sections explore which domain name to choose and what kind of website to create.

What Domain Name Should You Choose?

The answer is simple: use your own name or your chosen pen name as your domain name. 

This is a valuable long-term strategy. 

Your goal should be to create a brand around your author name.

Click to Tweet

In a moment, I'll show you how to get a free, personal domain name.​

Tim GrahlTimGrahl.com

A web search is the first place people go when looking you up and you want to make sure they find a website that you own and have control over. It allows you to put your stake in the ground and own your own little corner of the internet.

Tim Grahl, TimGrahl.com

What Platform is Best For Future Success?

There are a lot of free options out there. You can use WordPress.com or other free website platforms. 

However, it's important to remember that all free options have a crucial downside.

You see, if you build your online platform on a free blogging service or on Facebook, the platform doesn’t actually belong to you.

You can gather thousands of subscribers on a free blogging platform or collect numerous 'Likes' on Facebook, but all your work can be wiped out overnight because the online platform belongs to someone else and they can change the rules at any moment.

All aspiring authors need to own their own domain.

Click to Tweet

I've seen quite a few authors caught out because someone else grabbed their domain name ahead of them and now get a lot of the traffic.

Buying a domain costs under $10 dollars, and you can even get your domain for free from some hosting companies. It's very important to use a reliable hosting company that is good AND cheap. 

Hosting costs are only about $6.95 a month. I think it's a small price to pay for ownership of your virtual real estate!

How to Get  Author Websites Up and Running in Under 4 Minutes

After working with a raft of hosting companies, my pick is SiteGround. Watch the video below to see how to get your author website up and running in under 4 minutes.

Siteground is an excellent hosting provider which offers free domain names.

They've made the whole process so easy, you can set up an author website in under four minutes (as you can see in the video above). 

Kimberley GrabasYourWriterPlatform.com

An Author Platform is a bridge between the work you create, and the people who are meant to experience it.

Kimberley Grabas, YourWriterPlatform

Think long-term when creating your author website. 

​As Joanna Penn confesses in the quote below, she made a crucial mistake early in her career. Read the complete quote to see what her mistake was and what she learned from it.

Joanna Penn
TheCreativePenn.com

Think long-term when creating your author platform, because you will achieve what you focus on. Consider what you want to be known as in 5 years time.

Joanna Penn: TheCreativePenn.com

Joanna Penn's advice to think long-term is excellent. You need to dream big and plan accordingly.

Which Kind of Design Works Best?

Here are some simple tips which make creating a stylish author website a cinch. Most importantly, the tone of your website needs to match the tone of your writing, like a good book cover. 

  • Theme matches your genre
    There are many free themes out there. If you use SiteGround, you can immediately choose some good, free themes to get your site up and running. 
  • Readable font color
    Use a dark font on a light background. You need to steer away from white text on a dark background because it's hard to read. 
  • Mobile-ready
    Most new themes these days are mobile-ready. This is important because over 80% of readers now use mobile devices to access websites.
  • Use of white space
    This is a design term which denotes space on a website that is empty of text and images.
  • User-friendly navigation
    Use a navigation bar under your header. As Lori Loren says in her article, 13 Steps to Creating an Author Website Readers Will Love:  'Make sure a drunk monkey could navigate it.'
  • Signup forms
    Use signup forms on every page so that the reader can subscribe. Make sure there is a form in the sidebar and also use a popup so that you get a high signup rate.
  • Social share buttons
    Social share buttons should show at the top and bottom of every piece of content. You can also ask readers directly to share on social media.

As you could see from the author platforms I showcased before, an author website can lead to having a larger platform which includes speaking engagements, podcasts, video series, and so on.

Trena White
PageTwoStrategies.com

When you’re thinking about building your platform, it’s important to consider the many different elements of platform (for example: speaking engagements, workshops you offer, articles you write), and figure out which of them are most comfortable and natural for you to expand.

Trena White, PageTwoStrategies.com

Once you have created your author website, you need to consider what kind of writing style to use. 

What Are Must-have Elements of  Author Websites?

An author platform needs four important elements.

1. About Page

This is a place where you introduce yourself to present and future readers. This is what readers want to know:

  • ​Who are you? What is your life like? What are you passionate about and what are your idiosyncracies?
  • What do you look like?
  • What do you write? What inspires you? What authors do you like?
  • How and where do you write? How do you get your ideas?
  • What have you written? If your first book is still a work in progress, give it a title and say, 'I am the author of the upcoming book [Title]'
Jennifer MatternAllindieWriters.com

The key thing you should consider when creating an author platform is your target reader. Everything else about your platform revolves around that audience. Everything you do when building your author platform, from participating in speaking engagements to building your email list, needs to be targeted to these people.

Jennifer Mattern, Allindiewriters.com

2. Contact Page

If you want to interact with your readers or with agents and publishers, or get speaking gigs, you need a Contact page. It's easy to set up, just use a free plugin like Fast Secure Contact Form so that you don't need to broadcast your personal email address. 

3. Book Page

Whether your book is still in the planning phase or is already published, you need to tell your readers about it. If your book is a work in progress, give it a title and talk about 'my upcoming book.' Use the title of your planned book a few times and offer some interesting information about it, as well as letting your future fans know the planned publishing date. You can find more ideas on creating your book page on Tim Grahl's site on building author platform.

4. Content Page

This is a page for regular, fresh content on which you publish articles, videos, podcasts or other kinds of content. If you use blogging software like WordPress.org, you can use this content page either as a home page or link to it in the navigation bar. You can refer to it as Blog, Articles, News, Writings, Updates, Topics or Stories.

Creating an author website takes work and dedication. But it's worth it!

Dave BrickerSpotGrafix.com

Creating an effective author platform can be done at little economic expense, but it requires time - time spent identifying reader communities, time spent creating content, time spent sharing that content, and time spent building relationships with readers. 

Dave Bricker, TheWorldsGreatestBook.com

What Writing Style Should You Use on  Author Websites?

Writing for your author website should be easy, right? After all, you're a writer, so where's the problem?

Actually, there is a challenge. And that is that you need to write differently on your website than in your books.

This is where​ it gets tricky...

If you are uploading fiction to your website, then you need to use the writing style your readers are used to. However, if you write articles for your readers about subjects related to your genre or your writing, you need to use a style that your readers will read.

People reading online have much shorter attention spans, so you need to adapt your style accordingly, using shorter paragraphs and other strategies to capture and hold your readers' attention.

Some experts suggest that finding your voice is one of the first things to focus on when you create content on your author website. Jeff Goins has something very interesting to say about this. (Click to read the complete quote below.)

Jeff Goins
Goinswriter.com

I think the most important thing for an author to do is find their voice. 

Some people will tell you to blog or start an email list, and all those things are great, but I wouldn't start there.

Yes. Do those things. Blog. Capture emails. Do the social media dance. But be careful what kind of tribe you attract without having first found your voice. If you build an audience without knowing what you have to say, then you're no good to anyone.

Jeff Goins, GoinsWriter.com

HOW TO PROMOTE AUTHOR WEBSITES

Once you’ve created your author platform and published some pages, it’s time to promote your site.

There are many different ways to do this. But the key factor is the same: you need to get other people to share your content.

Whenever someone shares your post with others, there is a multiplication effect. Instead of you sharing your content one-on-one with people you know, your content reaches people you’ve never met. The most exciting form of this multiplication effect is when your content goes viral!

Of course, a prerequisite for this to happen is to write share-worthy content. Click here for an infographic on how to create share-worthy, viral-ready content.

Anything you write for your website can be repurposed. You can tweak the content and write a guest post, or you can create podcasts, videos, slide decks on Slideshare or infographics with the same information.

10 Strategies to Promote Your Author Platform

1. Email 

Every time you create new content, send out an email to your list and let them know about it. Include a link for easy access and ask your readers to share your content on social media.

2. Twitter

One of the simplest ways to promote your content is to place social share buttons on your site. These share buttons need to be mobile-ready. 

I've tried many different share bars but each had its drawbacks. I now use Social Warfare which is an outstanding share bar. One of the best things about it is that it brings your Twitter share numbers back!

In addition to your social media share button, you can also set up tweetable quotes in your piece of content. You can use the free service ClicktoTweet.com to set up your quotes. This will heighten your Twitter shares for each post. 

With Social Warfare, you can quickly create special images for Twitter and Facebook for each piece of content. This means that your special images will appear automatically when someone shares your content. After all, the images you use on your website are not necessarily the right size for social media and tweets with images are shared twice as frequently as tweets with text only.

Kristen Lamb
AuthorKristenLamb.com

Remember, social media is social. It is all about forging a connection emotionally, which is what we do all the time in fiction. Readers bond with elements of who we are when they fall in love with our books. Social media simply allows us to recreate the feelings readers love and cultivate that emotional tether they crave.

Kristen Lamb,  AuthorKristenLamb.com

3. Facebook

One of the decisions you need to make is whether to use your personal Profile or a Page on Facebook. A Profile is for individual users, which allows people to either friend or follow you.

Experts like Jane Friedman suggest using the personal Profile as your 'author platform' on Facebook. However, Lisa  Hall-Wilson warns that there's a danger of breaching the Code of Service for personal profiles by being too promotional. 

4. YouTube

Talking to your fans via videos is just one of the many ways you can promote yourself on Youtube. Tell them about your writing process or about your protagonists. Your readers will love it!

Author Garrett Robinson goes a step further. He writes his novels live on Youtube and calls the process VlogaNovel.

Garrett RobinsonGarrettRobinson.com

 VlogaNovel is great! It keeps me very productive while I'm producing. Having my audience along for the ride is very fulfilling. And it's something unique, that not a lot of other authors are doing.

Garrett Robinson, GarrettRobinson.com

I asked Garrett, "What about copyright? Aren't you nervous that someone is going to take your idea and use it?"

Garrett said, "Not at all! I mean, I’m literally on record creating those words. If someone stole them and published them, I could sue the everliving pants off them!"

5. Podcast

Creating a podcast is a great way to deepen the connection to your fans. You can interview other writers in the same genre, share snippets of your upcoming book, or talk about your creative process. You can interview other writers in the same genre, share snippets of your upcoming book, or talk about your creative process. 

6. Republish on Medium 

​If you've created content and want more readers to enjoy it, consider republishing it on Medium. Check out the Guide to Blogging on Medium.

As author Cliff Watson says:

“Over the years, I’ve published my writing in dozens of places on the Internet. More people read a single Medium post than everything else combined.” —Cliff Watson
7. Republish on Pulse

Pulse is a platform created by LinkedIn. It's a great place to republish your content! The Beginner's Guide to Publishing on Pulse is a useful resource. 

8. Guest posts

Guest posting is a great way to spread your content. If you write regular guest posts, your email list will grow fast. Check out how to get your guest post accepted.

9. SlideShare

A great way to repurpose content is to create a slide deck and publish it on Slideshare.com. Check out how to get insane amounts of traffic from Slideshare.

10. Infographics

You can also repackage your content as an infographic. You can create Infographics in minutes with a free online software called Pictochart


As you can see, there are many different strategies to promote author websites. Think of each of the ten strategies above as a channel that attracts a certain kind of audience. The more channels you use, the more traffic your website will get. 

Your most important assets in your drive for success are the connections you make. Bryan Hutchison has an important message about this below. (Click to read the full quote.)

Bryan HutchisonPositiveWriter.com

The best advice I can give on creating author websites is to network, network, network from the get-go. Influencers are great, but you want to network with those who are in the trenches, just like you, trying to get noticed.

Bryan Hutchison, PositiveWriter.com

CONCLUSION

Now that you've read this article, you'll have a lot of new information on how to go about creating and promoting an author website which has traction and can secure your future success as a writer.

However, as Bryan points out in his quote above, the most important thing is the human element. Because you are not alone in your struggle for visibility. And, when you connect with your peers, helping them to promote their content, magic happens. 

As you can see in this article, experts all suggest creating an author platform. It may feel overwhelming. But it's easy to create an author website and stake your claim online. 

FREE BONUS:  Click here for 15 'Plug and Play' Tips for Author Websites. These tips will enable you to attract hordes of fans to your website with ease.

When's the best time to create an author website?

The best time is now. ​

What are your thoughts on this? Please share this article on social media. 

About the Author

Mary Jaksch is the Editor-in-Chief of WritetoDone. Check out her free training, 5 Powerful Online Writing Strategies for More Shares, More Subscribers and More Success. Mary has trained over 5,000 successful writers and bloggers. Boost your confidence and writing skills by joining her personal coaching program Guided Mastery

Summary
Article Name
Creating Author Websites: The Definitive Guide
Description
This excellent article is all about creating author websites. 20 top experts in the publishing field offer tips and advice about creating author websites.
Author
WritetoDone.com

Read below or Add a comment...

59 thoughts on “Creating Author Websites: The Definitive Guide”

  • Umesh Singh says:

    Hi Mary,
    Great post! This detailed post will be very useful who have author website.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Umesh.

      I’m hoping that this article is useful for writers who already have an author website and want to improve it, as well as for those who want to create one but feel overwhelmed.

  • This is one of the most comprehensive posts on creating author websites (and it’s free!) that I’ve come across. I appreciate how you contrasted the non-interactive, stagnate websites to the interactive ones like Gillian Flynn’s. Many times I’ll enjoy a book, or I’m selecting a book, and I go to the author website. Either I can’t find one or it’s a stagnant and old one.

    I also like the detailed “Must Haves” elements in an author website. One item I don’t like is when an author website has pop-ups coming at the reader every minute, sliding in from the side, top, etc. More than one pop-up has me clicking out of the site. A popup doesn’t prompt me to sign up, only good content.

    I’ve downloaded the ‘plug and play’ tips for reference and am bookmarking this post for future reference, as I’m a ‘pre-published’ author. Thank you for a most generous post.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Ha! I love your phrase: “Pre-published Writer”, Mona!

      I’m going to use that in future posts…

      Thanks for your kind words. I must admit, this article took a lot of work to complete. I’m grateful that the experts I contacted sent me some great quotes.

      I emailed someone who didn’t sent me a quote and he’s now rather put out that he missed out on being part of this article 🙂

    • Alan Porter says:

      I 100% agree with you about pop-ups. They are a real turn-off (one even interrupted this reply as I was trying to write it). If I want to sign up, I will. If I’m trying to read your valuable content and a pop-up gets in the way, you’ve lost me.

  • Sharon says:

    Best EVER, Mary!!! One question though….when do you suggest a first time novelist should put up a website? Thanks to your thoughts, my brain is popping with ideas I can build on, but since I haven’t even written one sentence it seems a bit, well, premature. I’m a freelance editor, so I have a website for that, but I obviously need to start thinking about the one for the books. Thanks!

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Good question, Sharon.

      I would get that author website up and running as quickly as possible — and do record those ideas flitting about in your brain about it.

      If you use your own name, the website can save for many different future projects.

      As a ‘pre-published author’ or ‘aspiring author’ it’s a good idea to create this thing, even before you’ve got a clear idea on what you want to write.

      Creating an author website will light a fire under your …. backside. 🙂

      • Sharon says:

        Thanks for your quick and helpful response Mary! You aren’t kidding about the fire under your backside part. I spent the afternoon brainstorming ideas for the website and suddenly the novel is more real and important and compelling than it’s been in months. And that was just the brainstorming part! Thank you for your hard work and your commitment to excellence. The examples were especially helpful and practical.

  • Mary this is the best article on author websites I’ve seen yet. You’ve brought it all together in one place, and the entire article shows how deeply you’ve gone into this subject. It will help many writers, and thanks for including me along with the other great authors here.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Joel.

      I think what has given depth to this article is the excellent quotes and suggestions from experts like yourself. I’m grateful to you.

  • Annie Sisk says:

    Great guide though you’re preaching to the choir here! 😉 One question – what is the name of that fabulous plugin that gives you the Quick Navigation table in the post? I’ve seen it a few times and always wondered. I think it’d be terribly useful for us non-fiction types with longform posts.

  • I love your clear, well-thought out way of explaining all of this. It can be quite overwhelming. I have published one book and have an established website, but these pearls of wisdom will certainly help me to spiff it up.
    I had not written for some time as my full-time job became very demanding. But, I am happy to say, I was laid off recently and now have the time to devote to my craft once again. I would love to make a living at writing, but am realistic enough to know that this may be a pipe-dream. However, I will give it my best shot now that I am blessed with more time to do it.
    Your article was just the push I needed to get back in the saddle!

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Hey Deborah, please write a new comment here when you’ve spiffed up your author website and add the link.

      I want to admire your spiffed-up site. 🙂

      I’m excited that you want to pursue your writing goals. If we only thought about the expediency of what we’re planning and doing, we wouldn’t ever live a worthwhile life!

  • It was a very successful article and very informative. I am glad to have followed you. Can I put this article on my website.

  • Husna Kassim says:

    Hi, my name is Husna and I just published my first book called “A Train To Catch”. Its a non-fiction and I am into travel-writing and photography. Wow, your article is superb but I get the sinking feeling that for a new author like me, its going to be a tough thing to get readership without a proper author website without spending a bomb. Is there a cheaper way of setting up an author website?

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Hi Husna, I looked up your book. It looks delicious! And Amazon even rated it Book of the Month. Well done!

      As to author websites, let’s take a look at costs. The real expense of a self-hosted site is about $95 per year for hosting and your domain. Everything else you can get or do for free. For example, you can use Mailchimp to collect emails which is free until you get to 2000 subscribers (as far as I remember). And you can get free themes for your website with which you can showcase your images.

      If that price is beyond you at present, I would create your author platform on a free hosted site, for example, WordPress.com. You can integrate forms in order to collect email addresses.

      An example of an author website on WordPress.com is http://davidhsafford.com/. It belongs to the lovely guy who wrote the comment just below.

      In addition, I would start posting your images on Facebook. But make sure they have a watermark with your name. You can create the watermark with a free service, called Picmonkey.

      Have you thought of offering your Kindle for free (at least for a time?). If you do that, you can get some reviews (for example from myself, if you contact me.

  • Mary, you are amazing! Thank you for sharing this eye-opening, mind-blowing, creativity-sparking course-in-a-blog-post with us!

    It’s both encouraging and forward-moving. I’m already doing a little bit of this, but now have so many more ideas, and not just any ideas, but direct advice from some of the most successful authors out there!

    Thank you so much and I hope you’re blessed by the fruit this post will undoubtedly grow in all of your readers!

  • Joe McGee says:

    I am very impressed with the information. Thank you

  • Ryan says:

    Wow. Great, extensive guide! Thank you for this generous article. There is much to learn for both writers and web designers.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Hi Ryan, I’m glad this is helpful. When I created this article, I didn’t think of being helpful to web designers, like you. But your comment has made me think that all of the suggestions I make have bearing on design. (By the way, I visited your site and like your designs).

      • Ryan says:

        Sorry for the delayed response. Happy to hear that your blog is even more helpful than you thought it was! Thank you for your kind remarks about my website. It’s a work in progress! 🙂

  • Wow Mary, when you create a guide you create THE guide! Awesome job and glad to be a part of it.

    Bests,
    Bryan

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Ha! Thanks for your kind words, Bryan.

      I was struck by your quote. Of all the wonderful quotes, your words had the most impact on me because for your focus on kindness, on helping others.

      Thank you for your inspiring words, Bryan. Talking of which, how can I help YOU?

  • Jan Reynolds says:

    I can’t help but feel so much of this isn’t helpful, doesn’t do much for you as an author. Having done most of this, already, some starting years ago, I honestly don’t feel it has made that much difference, and perhaps little to none. I really feel this way, I’m not just being sour grapes. I feel that perhaps, if you didn’t have a social presence, it could work against you, but going all out, or partially out, doesn’t really bring you forward, it just keeps you perhaps from slipping back.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Dear high-altitude woman, I’m sorry you feel this way. I had a look at your author website and I can see that you’ve published some very interesting books, Jan. Like the Book High Altitude Woman

      I have a few suggestions how make your website work better for you. If you send me an email via the Contact page, I would be happy to let you know what they are.

      In the meantime, keep on writing. You have much to give.

  • Hey Mary thanks for this lovely detailed article. It’s simply a perfect guide for upcoming authors. I would just like to share this with you.
    I have nor decided yet whether I will be able to write books or not (I do dream of composing best sellers and national best sellers) however I am going to start a website of my own pretty soon which will consist alot of stuff like book reviews, movie reviews, short stories, poems, and few more components. So whether a boom writer or not this article has helped me to create my on blog-o-website where I will be posting stuff regularly.. Thanks again yaa..

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Hi Kalyani, I like your plans. And I glad this article functioned as a catalyst to get you take the next steps toward your goals.

      Just remember, it doesn’t matter how big the steps are. Even tiny steps toward your goal are a victory.

  • Wow! You’ve touched on everything, and in such useful, workable ways…thank you!!

  • Mary Jaksch says:

    Thanks, Regina! I appreciate your kind words.

  • Jen Gabler says:

    Thanks for the post, Mary. I just started selling my first book last week, and have a simple shopify website for now, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm, even for indie authors. However, having my own sales option not only increases the return per book on copies bought that way, but also opens up other possibilities. For example, I’m thinking of introducing a prize of producing an illustration of a reader, selected at random from people who buy my children’s book – ‘Vinny the Vaquita’ – through my site. Would you recommend against this and suggest I scrap the ecommerce site and go with something a little more traditional? If so, why?

  • Eileen says:

    Dear Mary,
    You are, if you let me use these words “Special Gift for my Long Weekend.” I downloaded the article two days from Twitter and made time to read it today.

    All the information on Author Websites is very timely; I have written three Children’s Storybooks on Food 1. sketches almost ready, 2. Sketching begins in April, 3. Editing. I had assumed that the only things holding the publications from the publisher was the artist/sketches. Reading your informative piece has taught me otherwise:

    I already have a professional Website; your article has taught me that by now I should have turned it into my Author Website.

    The next most important information is on how and what type of Author Platform to create and what type of information I can use to introduce my upcoming books. Your article has awakened very many ideas in my head, especially to reflect on information I already have and could repackage and post on the Author Website.

    Your information on how and where to promote my Author Website is priceless.

    I have one question though; is it wise for me to continue using my current twitter handle (iLeenGreen) or generate a different one just for the Authorship?

    Thank you very much for the very practical information, if it was in my control, I would have cancelled my Easter plans; but then the small voice tells me a trip might give me an idea for my 4th storybook.

    Eileen

  • Neal Martin says:

    Superb post! Very helpful. Lots of ideas to incorporate into my author site. Thank you!

  • Carol H Cox says:

    Mary,

    Loved your article! Thank you for giving so freely of your time and expertise. I too am a pre-published author and am now psyched about getting started on my author platform.

    P.S. I too agree that popup signup boxes are sometimes a turnoff, but I must admit that I have filled them in on occasion if it’s from someone I’m truly interested in hearing from.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your article has fired me up to take action and build my website. I published my first book in October 2013. I was blogging, but was much more focused on writing and publishing. I did not realize how important it was to build an author website and platform and never got around to it. Middle of 2014 when I should have been revving up marketing and getting the word out about the book, my mother passed away. Everything stopped and life was one big foggy world. Well, I’m back and ready to pick up where I left off. I am taking Joanna Penn’s course on marketing as well as translated my book into Spanish. Now for the author website. You have given so much valuable information and clear insight into what to do. I have no excuse whatsoever. Thank you for laying it out in detail. Its time to KickFearNow and begin again.

  • Emi says:

    Hi Mary ,

    You’re right author website for any author who are publishing his work and has published any thing are need because it can give readers a place for reaching writere whose writing they are reading. I have noticed that some author does has website i do not why they does not has but they should have for building trust among their readers.

  • Phil says:

    As you can see, this article is horribly written. As you can see, the author needs an editor. As you can see, it is also superficial and trite, and offers no information that can’t be found on countless websites. “Whether your book is still in the planning phase or is already published, you need to tell your readers about it.” Does a person who writes books really need to read this post to figure that out? Really? Much of your advice is equally lame. As you can see, as you can see, as you can see, as you can see, as you can see. Definitive? Not so much.

  • Brian Robben says:

    The email list is by far the most important for fiction and non-fiction authors. What better way to promote your book, see what your readers are interested in you writing about, and get repeat customers for book sales and other products? I also like your quiz idea and want to implement that on Self Publishing X.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge