What Makes a Successful Author Website?

Building an author website that is separate from my writing blog is something to be approached both professionally and carefully. When I first delved into the prospect of self-publishing, I knew I needed a blog/website. The initial goal was to connect with potential readers but the unexpected bonus was getting to know other authors and learn, learn, learn about the ever-changing publishing business. Blogging is also a great outlet for writers. We get to WRITE even if it’s not specifically related to our current project. Topics can be whatever you think is relevant at the time. My blog will be two years old early next year and I’ve been able to write about favorite books and well-known authors, hosted some very talented writers, and spouted a few opinions along the way. How fun is that?

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.00.58 AMCreating an author website, however, is something different. A professional author’s website is more stagnant and focuses almost exclusively on the books or works that readers might be interested in. There is a bio, news, and contact information. Many (but not all) will also include a link to the author’s blog. Who doesn’t blog? Well, some that don’t are very famous and very successful so maybe I don’t blame them. Selfishly though, I think blogging serves multiple purposes. The link to my blog will be in. But, I do still have a few questions:

  • Can I build a site myself that will be professional in appearance? (I’m just okay with technology and everything probably takes me much longer than someone more skilled)
  • Some sites are very flashy while others are simple and streamlined. Which would be most appealing to readers in my genre?
  • Should I add in a newsletter? I think the answer here is probably yes. Is a quarterly newsletter enough?
  • Two other tab possibilities are a Q&A tab and a For Readers tab. I’ve seen these done effectively and in a fun way. Certainly something to consider…

So much to think about. I have also spent some time reading other authors’ blogs about “building a better author website”. One I really like is Jessica Khoury’s “How to Make Your Own Killer Author Website.” The most important question, however, is what do readers like? How do you create a professional AND engaging site for readers looking to learn about you and your book? After scanning several author sites in my genre, from Baldacci, Brown, and Lippmann, to Santorelli, Eisler, and Konrath, I’ve realized that not all sites are created equal. I know it’s subjective, but some are far more appealing than others.

What do you look for in an author site?

2 comments

  1. Hey Kellie,

    I wonder how many authors think about this. I know I have recently. I’m getting a lot of hits on my blog, but from search engines. It’s hard to figure out how to reach readers…

    I’ve been debating if I should add an author website. I’m definitely going to keep blogging (like you said, it’s fun 🙂 ) but I don’t know if it’ll be too time consuming to keep up with that and add content to a website. Things to think about…

    It’s nice to know other people are in the same boat as me, regarding how to market/promote effectively.

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    Like

    1. Yawatta,

      I’ve decided to sort of combine the two (lower maintenance). It’s already underway but not yet final. You may already notice a few changes on my site. Just as you’ve mentioned, time management is an issue. Hope all is well!

      Kellie

      Like

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