How to Build a Website for an Author

By Writer

  • Overview

    When it comes to building a website for an author, the technical aspects of HTML and web design are assumed. You will either use an established web-page designer program (like Front Page or Dreamweaver) or hire someone to do it for you. The actual design of a website for an author takes a little forethought before HTML is uploaded. These steps will walk you through the process of designing an online platform that features you and your books in a good light.
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    • Step 1

      Design the front page to be an attention-grabber. Remember that is the job of the front page, because it acts like the front window of a store. If it doesn't invite visitors to click through, your website will not do its job. For freshmen authors, be sure to feature your published work prominently on this page. You'll want the book title and your name to be featured in at least three different places so search engines will pick up the information.
    • Step 2

      Create satellite web pages that click off your front page. Feature a menu that is accessible from any page on the site. The "home" button should return users to the front page immediately. Provide links to places where your book can be purchased. If you offer sample chapters for reading, be sure to link that PDF to a "Sample Chapters" link; put it next to a link that allows visitors to purchase the book.

    • Step 3

      Think like a fan for a moment. What would you want to know about the author you are looking up? Create a FAQ or a page that answers the following questions: What other books has the author published? Is the author's work available elsewhere online? If you are a frequent blogger or are featured on social-networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook), be sure to include links there. What books are coming up next? Author Patricia Briggs maintains a website that features book covers, book synopses, sample chapters, notes on the writing process and a news page that lets her fans keep up with her process (see Resources). The design is simple, and straightforward; it's a great author website to get ideas from.
    • Step 4

      Add a media page. Include a short author bio (you can use the one you included in your "About the Author" page), a photograph and a list of your published works (usually in order of publication). This media page should be a quick snapshot any book reviewer or website manager can visit to grab pertinent data to link to you or write about you and your books.
    • Step 5

      Be professional. At all times, your website should reflect your personal image. While you might share amusing anecdotes from fan encounters or details of research that took you from one end of the country to the other, your website will be read by other professionals as well as fans. You want it to reflect your professional personality and not what you did when you got wasted last Saturday night.
    • Step 6

      Remember that your website is your online platform (see Resources). It's how you reach your fans and keep them in touch with what you are writing. If you write urban fantasies, you may host message boards that let your fans interact. If you write business materials, you may provide articles and tips on business-related topics. Your author website is your public portal to your professional work, and it can be the difference between a successful career and a mediocre one.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: Think clean and simple when building your first website.
    • Tip: Avoid making the site look like everyone else's.
    • Tip: Always include links to Amazon or Barnes and Noble Booksellers with your books.

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