I’m about to redo my website again, and I’ve been looking at a lot of websites for ideas. I’m starting a new series, and I’ve outgrown the format my techie savvy friend, Michelle Diener, and I created almost two years ago. In my current design, there’s no room for all my books, short stories, and even articles in two anthologies. I’m waiting for my new covers, and then we’ll start the redo.
I won’t tell you how to design yours. Design is personal and subjective. Nor will I tell you what pages you need to have. Or anything about branding. You know what fits you and your books. But there are certain things that every author’s site should have. Here are what I consider to be Must Haves:
Buy links for the individual books. You should have a buy link in an easy-to-find place for almost every e-tailer where your book is for sale (though I don’t put up all the Amazon Europe links; perhaps I should). I’m sometimes shocked when I go to a website and can’t find the buy links of a book. If I can’t find buy links on a friend’s website, I’ll email her about it.
Buy My Books links for your author page. This should take the reader to your author page that lists all your books for the different e-tailers: Amazon, B&N, Sony, Apple bookstore, etc. (Mine aren’t up yet, but I plan to add this in the redo.) I learned this from Jennifer Estep. You can see hers on her right sidebar.
Excerpts. Excerpts sell books. I’m sure there comes a point when we’ll have so many books that it would be ridiculous to have that many excerpts up. But until then, it’s a Must Have. Or at least a link to an excerpt. A friend posts her excerpt on her blog, and then links to the blog. That works, too.
Blurbs. Again, that should be evident.
Quotes from reviewers. At the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention, Barbara Vey said to put quotes by reviewers on the main page of your site. I have some quotes on book pages, but not on the home page. I plan to add quotes t0 the home page when I redo my website.
At least one or two of your newest or coming up covers on the home page. In my opinion, the most important thing on your page isn’t a welcome message – it’s your books. If you want to do both, that’s your prerogative. But you should at least have your latest book cover up. Your books are your best message.
Newsletter sign-ups. I have my newsletter sign-up on every page. Also my Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook places to follow. I’ve been on sites that don’t have a Newsletter sign-up, which is also shocking to me. Your newsletter subscribers are golden.
That’s all I have. Can you think of any website Must Haves that I missed?
There is one other thing that I consider a must-have: link(s) to the landing page of your authors’ group. Cross-marketing can be a powerful tool, especially for indie authors.
Annemarie, I do have a link to my Magical Musings group and the How To Write Shop on my About Edie page. Good one!
I think Amy Atwell might have said this, but a Press page. You should have a Press Page with your picture and a short professional bio.
You are SO right about the buy links.
I agree with you about the landing page. I need to redo mine site…maybe tweak it is the right word.
I need to bookmark this blog for helpful hints
Cyndi, perhaps because I’m an indie author, I didn’t think about a press page. But I should. Thanks for the advice!
Great ideas, as always! I’m putting the review quotes on the front page now…
Mary, you’re faster than I am! I’ll do it this week. I shouldn’t wait until the redo for that.
It would be easy to update your website if WordPress was more user friendly. And the new blogger. I still haven’t figured out how to do the new template feature.
Here’s some other stuff you might want to put on your website:
Book trailer, good content, and contact information.
Great post, Edie. Perfect timing since I’m working on a website for myself right now. Thanks for some great advice!
Jamie, my pleasure. I’m still fiddling with my website. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do.