Your website is your face to the world. It’s your store. And no matter how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have, those social media sites will NEVER replace what your website can do for you as an author.
Social Media channels can broadcast your message, brand you, and be the way media “discovers” you or checks you out – but social media is not your home.
Let’s talk about what your “home” furnishings and decorations you need on your website. Every home is different but they all have the basic things in order to make it functional. I will outline 7 things every author site must have in order to do what it needs to do. You can check out the last post where I list five things an author site must DO – or why bother.
Author Website Checklist:
- About Me. The author bio. Yes, this is the most visited part of your site. So don’t make your bio boring. Make it snappy and tell your story. In my next blog I’ll tell you how to do that. But in the mean time, have a bio that shares your history, your reason for writing. Think about how you want your readers to feel about you. Let your personality show. And don’t forget to add how they can contact you! See my bio here.
- Photos. Great photos of you and obviously great photos of your book. If you have a book trailer, that’s even better. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10 thousand words. With your photos, show some variety here. Show the book straight on and in 3D. Take the typical head shot, but show a picture of you and your kid or your kitten. Loosen up. Be yourself – but keep it professional. No cell phone photos! Make a free video using something like Animoto.
- Blog. You’re a writer, right? So every site should have a blog. Besides showing off your writing style and flavor, blogging at least once a week will build traffic to your site and grow your email list. (Remember that’s what your site should do). Make sure your blog is clearly labeled in the navigation of the site.
- Newsroom or Media Page. If you want to build the buzz and get interviews, you better have your stuff together. At the very least post a press release, interview questions and fact sheet about your book in your newsroom. If the media have to search your site for details like the price of your book, how many pages or where you live – forget it – they’re on to the next thing. Having an EPK or Digital Press Kit for them to download would be ideal. I go over what goes in the press kit (EPK) in our mentoring program with templates. Oh, and make sure you add celebrity endorsements to your newsroom too! That matters if you want national media.
- Buy Links. Though it’s rare people buy the first time they visit an author website, you still don’t want them to search for the buy button. Make it large and if it’s easier – link it to Amazon for them – and always ask them to leave a review. Try using a button something like this —
- Social Media. Yes, you want to show the icons for sure – and you may even want to add the widget to show your Facebook posts and your Twitter Stream. It’s good to add Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest. Those are the main ones. If you have a business book, add your linkedin account and company page. (You do have one of those don’t you?) See mine here.
- Opt-in box. You need to have a way for the surfers to come back to you – so you need an opt-in box on the home page, above the fold! My recommendations are AWeber OR Active Campaign to collect this information. Consider an “ethical bribe” (free chapters, tip sheet, mp3) to collect more email addresses too.
Finally, make sure your website is mobile friendly. More than 50% of online users are using mobile devices. And lastly, it’s all about SEO. What’s the point of having a great site if it can’t be found by the search engines. So on your WordPress site use a SEO Plugin “add-on” to handle your Search Engine Optimization. It’s free. I recommend the ALL-IN-ONE SEO plugin.