What content should an Author put on their website?

Welcome to the latest in our series of articles helping Authors get started with designing and building their websites. In this post we’ll take a look at the common sections an Author should include on their website (aka Author Websites Content).

First up… it’s the Biography section

Author Biography

Arguably one of the most important sections on your author website will be your author biography even if you’re only deploying a small and simple book campaign page or microsite.

This should include at the very least your name, a short biography, and a photograph of you. Now some authors are more outgoing than others and are happy to plaster their websites with all sorts of photographs of themselves but if you are more of the shy type don’t let this put you off. Start off simply and you can always come back later and add to your author biography section as your confidence and fan base grows.

The more information you provide the better of course – remember that you’re not only providing this information for your fans who will be keen to find out more about you, but also to potential readers and future book buyers who are checking you out before taking the plunge to read your latest book.

Things you may wish to include:

  • where you grew up
  • the area you live in now
  • your educational background
  • teachers who inspired you (or put you off writing for years)
  • authors and writings that have inspired you
  • subjects that interest you

It’s not an exhaustive list but it gives you a flavour of what some authors choose to include in their biographies. And remember that just because it’s on that list doesn’t mean you have to include it in your own. The trick to a good biography is that it feels real and represents you accurately. It’s not a CV for a job interview, but likewise it shouldn’t be a novel in its own right.

Books, Books, Books

This is where the fun starts and it is so very easy to forget that the main purpose of your website is to help you get more readers for your book(s).

For your author website’s content here’s what you almost certainly need for each book:

  • Book title
  • a short summary (akin to the bit on the back cover that gives a reader a flavour of the story)
  • Buy now links (or download links if you’re giving away your own ebooks)
  • a longer description – very useful for you to really encourage the unsure readers to take a closer look
  • Extracts – a lot of authors are now providing pdf or text extracts of some of the first chapter to hook readers. Others are creating SoundCloud files where readers can listen to you the author read some of the first chapter to them.
  • Covers, covers, covers. If you’ve had covers designed (which we’re sure you have) then please do feature them on your book pages. If you’ve got different ones for different countries or different languages show them too – and add those Buy now links to each one as collectors love to collect all the variations if they can.
  • Characters. You may also want to consider adding sections within your book pages for specific characters from within your book.
  • Related books or other books that a reader may be interested in. This is so important once you ahve more than one book published. If you’ve done your SEO properly then you’ll get traffic from readers who want to find out more about that book of yours that they’re reading right now or have just finished reading. This is where you get to up-sell them to your other books because the adage says that it’s a lot easier to sell to an existing customer than to get a brand new customer.

Social Media links

If you don’t have your social media channels set up yet then it’s time you got started. Not every social media channel is appropriate for every author so take the time to look at which other authors and publishers are using the channels you’re thinking of. Business focused authors seem to do well on LinkedIn – Children’s book authors not so much.

Getting to grips with social media can be a challenge, especially if you’re not used to it, or if you just don’t have the time, so make sure you invest your time and resources wisely, especially if you’re self-promoting.

There’s a couple of other things to consider about social media to consider before you leap in:

  • Beware of the red dot… if you add your social media channels to your website and people click off to the social media channel to like you, to follow you, or to check out your latest tweets and instagram photos then it is hard to get them back to your site there an then. We call it the red dot danger because people are little tinkers and once they’ve clicked through to Facebook they can be easily distracted by what their friends are doing or that little red dot that tells them they have notifications.
  • Some social media channels can seem like they’re really getting you some attention but you should keep an eye on your google analytics to check whether traffic from these channels are actually interacting with your website. High bounce rates are very common, especially with Twitter, and an investment for you of time and resources may end up being counter productive. Of course some authors swear by Twitter and it works well for them; just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Other Suggestions for Author Websites

Well the list can go on and on but so long as you have the sections we’ve outlined above then you can’t go too wrong.

Once you have those basics in place then it’s time to think abut building your newsletter section, perhaps a blog, and depending on your audience and knack for it; your video and audio channels.

And remember: you’re not alone; we can help. Not only do we provide a simple and easy to use author website builder but we also provide marketing services for authors. Get in touch with one of our author care team and we’d love to help.