Unless you plan on being a J.D. Salinger-style recluse, author websites are for every author, not just household names like Stephen King or John Grisham.
Just like we expect our favorite celebrities, food brands, car manufacturers, video game makers, and furniture craftsmen to have some kind of online presence, readers expect to be able to go onto a computer, phone, or tablet and find a website for a book that they love.
Why Are Author Websites Important?
If someone wants to know more about a topic, what’s likely their first instinct? Google it!
At its most basic level, a website is a repository of information that lets readers know what books you’ve written, where to buy them, and who you are. But websites for authors can be so much more.
Your website can tell you who is searching for you. By going through the analytics, you can find out whether someone found your website by typing the right phrases into a search engine, clicking on a link on a social media post, typing in a URL directly, finding your site linked on another site, or from an email newsletter.
When you have a website, you can connect with your readers by creating an email list to share news and updates or even special promotions.
Even if you sell your books digitally on marketplaces like Amazon, you still need to self-promote via your website.
There are over 6 million eBooks on Amazon right now, so having a website for a book helps readers to find your content far more easily.
By showing readers you’re a real person who responds to them and values their thoughts, you’ll create an engaged, enthusiastic following for the content you create!
Author Websites Allow Publishers to Create a Brand
Your brand is more than just your name. Your brand is the image you project. Websites for authors are the same as websites for soft drinks or clothes in this respect.
The more you cultivate your brand, the more readers know what to expect from your work. And because you’re building your own website, you get to decide what that brand will be.
Key Features Author Websites Should Include
Authors are supposed to be creative and unique, so saying that there are standard features that should be on websites for authors might feel a little strange.
But if you want to create a website that’s simple to navigate, while giving readers the best possible experience, you’ll want to pay attention to these features.
Catalogs and Point of Sale Systems
Set up your website so that new readers and longtime readers will be able to find their way around.
Have sections called “books” or “merchandise” so you can guide readers to the right places and leave room for expansion. Readers should also be able to buy directly from your website or a partner, like Shopify or Amazon.
Want to make things extra easy on your readers? Allow them to make a purchase using a built-in point-of-sale system. Don’t want to be responsible for credit card numbers and other personal information? You can always set up your site to accept payment through Paypal or other third-party providers. It will cost you a little more money, but the trade-off just might be worth the extra peace of mind.
Reviews carry weight, especially with people who aren’t yet familiar with your work. However you feel about critics, if a reader sees a trusted name that has reviewed your book, they may be more likely to read it.
With this in mind, highlight endorsements, but also feature reader reviews! Making readers feel like they have a stake in your success will keep them engaged with your content. You may get more page views as they tell their friends to check out their review on your site.
Got a review from another author? Link to any author-to-author reviews for a cross-promotional opportunity. If authors see that you’re driving traffic to their site, they may link back to you.
Ways to Subscribe
In short, you want subscribers. These are people who want notifications about your work. Email subscriptions are often effective because they carry more weight than social media followers.
So how can you get subscribers to sign up for your content? You can go about getting subscribers in a few ways.
You can create a form on your website where people can sign up to receive your newsletter. Make sure the form has the fewest number of fields possible. The more fields, the more work it is to fill out, so people might “bounce” before they finish.
Blogs are another excellent way to get subscribers. Any time you post a blog, include a link where interested readers can subscribe for regular updates.
Want to get even more creative? Craft tie-in material to your books like companion stories that are only available to subscribers. That way, you’re giving readers value for their subscription.
Keep in mind that your subscription content needs to be something that people will look forward to getting in their inbox. If you spam your subscribers or fail to post interesting content on a regular basis, they’ll start to unsubscribe.
Author Bio and Contact Details
The details you include in your bio are meant to connect you to your readers. You also need to include contact information, which is usually an email address.
You should have several email addresses anyway, each separated by purpose with clear names like “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Make it clear what the purpose of each one is and what people can expect when they send messages. If you want to set up an answering service or don’t mind giving out your personal phone, you can even include a phone number!
A Blog to Share Information and Updates
Of course, the main reason websites for authors should have a blog is to make it easier for those websites to show up in search engine rankings. But you can also use them to provide additional content for your readers.
Just like your newsletter, you want to blog on a set schedule and use relevant terms that interested readers might be searching for in your posts. Make sure to link back to your blog in your newsletter and on your social media posts, too.
Author Websites Pull in More Readers – Print Bind Ship Helps You Keep Them
Once you have your readers engaged, you have to have something to send them! Print Bind Ship makes this easy because we print, bind, and ship books! As a high-quality third-party logistics (3PL) company, when people order a book from your website, we make the book, warehouse it, and send it out to the customer.
Ready to make self-publishing a reality? Contact Print Bind Ship today to learn more!