If a query catches my interest and a website link is included in the email signature, I will click on the link. If there is no link, I’ll search for the writer online and try to find a website. There are certain things I expect to see on an author website and other things that add to the experience. Whether you’re building a website from scratch or are planning to update a current one, here is my list of ten things that should be included.
#1. A PHOTO
The photo on your website should be a step above an Instagram selfie. A first impression is still a first impression - even if it’s online. If you don’t want to pay a photographer to take professional head shots, search online for photography tips: it won’t take much to get a great headshot.
#2. TWO BIOS
The author bio is a crucial part of your website – and two bios are even better than one. Write a short bio with only the most important information. Then, write an even longer bio for those of us who are too curious for our own good and need to know everything.
#3. INFO ABOUT YOUR BOOK
As an agent, this is the section of your website that I’m most interested in. Include brief descriptions of your completed manuscripts (and maybe even your work-in-progress). This is an easy way for agents to know what you’re working on (especially if you write different genres and/or categories). Having book information on your website also entices potential readers early on. If you’re already published, then you’ll want to include links to where your book(s) can be purchased.
#4. CONTACT INFORMATION
This is so important and often overlooked. Include an email address that you check on a regular basis for professional inquiries. Tell your fans how they contact you. Include the name and contact information of your literary agent (if you already have one).
#5. A PUBLICITY PAGE
This is where you link to interviews, guest blog posts, or any other type of publicity you’ve taken part in. It’s an excellent catch-all page to promote your smaller work.
#6. AN EVENTS CALENDAR
If you’re a social butterfly, let people know what events you’ll be attending. Listing conferences and other writing events shows that you are dedicated, willing to learn, and eager to network with others in the industry.
#7. SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
I think it’s safe to assume that one of the reasons you have an author website in the first place is because you want to promote your work. Easy links to your social media accounts encourages potential readers to follow you whichever way is easiest for them. These should be accessible on the main page of your website, but you can also include them on your contact page.
#8. A SIMPLE DESIGN
Don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in the design of your website. Clean and simple is best. Let the content shine.
#9. RECENT BLOG POSTS
If you’re going to have a blog attached to your website, make sure it is updated on a regular basis. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a blog link only to see that it hasn’t been updated in fourteen months. It’s best not to blog at all than to only write one post per year.
#10. SOMETHING FOR YOUR READERS
Remember that it won’t only be industry folks visiting your website. You get digital bonus points for having something special for your readers. It’s up to you to be creative and decide what you have to offer.