Creating a Writer’s Website

Important Elements of a Good Writer’s Website

  1. Home Page:
  2. Bio: Brief background about the author including basic personal details (if married, general area where live, children), education, prior interesting work history, hint of hobbies, etc. Short history of writing career. Keep it brief and interesting.
  3. News: Announcements of book releases, appearances, book signings, reviews, events, and any other public relations news.
  4. Books: All books with brief excerpts, ISBN, where sold, and covers. If you write more than one genre or sub-genre, categorize the list by genres. Include a complete printable book list, especially if books are part of a series. If there are continuing characters, include a brief list with their relevance to the series. Each book listing should contain the title, penname, book publisher, ISBN number, list price, and where the book is sold.
  5. Social Media Links: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn
  6. Blog: Either on the website or linked to from the website.
  7. Links: Favorite authors’ websites, writing market links
  8. Contact: Email information, PO Box, or social media links. It is never wise to include your home address or a personal phone number.

 

Additional Elements to Possibly Include on a Website

  1. Photo Gallery: Personal photos that fans would appreciate, or from book signings and other appearances.
  2. Newsletter: e-newsletter or print newsletter, include a sign-up page.
  3. Contests: Have a contest for your fans or to entice new readers. It should somehow relate to the book being promoted. Give away a signed book, a promotional item that ties in with the subject of the book, bookmarks, etc.
  4. Guestbook
  5. Book Trailers
  6. Promo Items Selling: Café Press items
  7. Shopping Cart

 

General Tips for Creating a Website

  1. Domain Name: Try to get the penname that you are using for building your brand and name recognition. (my example: Starla Criser http://starlacriser.com)
  2. The website should show the “personality” of the author.
  3. Provide interesting content relevant to the genre of the author. Keep it easy to read.
  4. Use a simple background that won’t distract from the content.
  5. Do not vary the content font size and style excessively. Make the text large enough to read. Increase the line spacing for easier readability.
  6. Make links a different color.
  7. Graphics used should be eye-catching and relevant. Do not overload the pages with graphics.
  8. Do not make the pages too wide so the reader has to scroll left and right to see it all.
  9. Make the site easy to navigate, use menus or a table of contents. Link each page to the Home page.
  10. Test all links, including whenever you make changes to the website.
  11. Use a spelling checker on the content of each page.
  12. Do not use distracting animation or sounds that annoy many website visitors.
  13. Do not use scrolling test, unless it can move slow enough to be read with ease.
  14. Do not use pop-up windows.
  15. Do not use heavily loaded graphics (such as 200k) that takes forever to load.
  16. Do not type more than a few words in all CAPS.
  17. Do not underline words if they aren’t links.

 

Promoting the Website

  1. Submit the website to search engines for free at http://www.dmoz.org/add.html.
  2. Keywords: Use at least three main keywords or phrases in the text of the home page to help search engines locate your website as often as possible. Create description tags and keyword Meta tags for every page.
  3. Create a descriptive title for each page, making sure it is marked as “title” in the html code.
  4. Send out email newsletters.
  5. Promote the website everywhere you can, at conferences, in your email signature, on business cards and on all promotional materials.

 

Examples of Great Writers’ Websites

  • Christine Feehan: www.christinefeehan.com
  • Kay Hooper: www.kayhooper.com
  • Madeline  Baker/Amanda Ashley: www.madelinebaker.net
  • Dean Koontz: www.deankoontz.com

 

© 2011 Starla Kaye

The Smarts

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This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.