Have you created an author website, only to realize you have no idea what you need to include on it? What is it that people want to know when they visit your website, other than what your book is about? Whether you have a well-designed website already or are planning ahead, this list should clarify what you really need.
Most Important Elements
Homepage: order links and book cover
When anyone visits to your website, it is important that they are immediately met with what is most important: the book cover for context, and order links. (Have you heard of burying the lede, or am I being a journalist?) People have very short attention spans, especially nowadays, so making it as easy as possible for anyone visiting your site to order your book is the best way to go. If your book isn’t out yet, that’s okay too, you can add preorder links. If you don’t have those yet, a body of text that says COMING SOON will do in the meantime!
We also usually recommend that authors give their readers multiple retailer options to order from. A link to your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop or Indiebound usually does the trick! That way people can order from their favorite indie bookstore.
It is also important to have your book cover front and center on your homepage so people know what they are ordering. If you are an author of multiple books, you can include your newest book on the homepage, with a tab on the website to all of your other books. You can also include a brief description of the book (25-100 words) on the homepage. I wouldn’t recommend a long description on the homepage, because again, short attention spans!
About page: author information
This is usually where visitors go to learn more information about the author: you! It makes the most sense to include your author headshot and your professional bio in this section. (Check out our blog post on the importance of headshots if you’d like more info!)
Your bio can be around 300 words, and are usually written in the third person. It’s okay to brag on yourself here, people are going to this section to learn about you, so let them learn!
This tab is also great for adding social media links. Whatever platforms you are on, even if you aren’t super active, I would recommend adding here. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, even TikTok if you have it, can go in this section! It’s always great for readers to be able to find you on social media, because they are more likely to keep up with you via those platforms rather than regularly visiting your website. If you aren’t active on social media, that’s okay (though I do recommend you create some accounts)!
Contact page: who are people contacting?
This is usually where we recommend our authors add our information, but if you don’t have a publicist, you can add whoever is fielding queries for you! Some authors add their agent here, their publisher’s information, or if you are handling all inquiries, you can add your contact info! The best form of contact here is email, or a contact form.
You can also add social media to this tab. Don’t be afraid to double up on information when it comes to where readers can find you. I know I keep saying it, but since people do have short attention spans, they may be coming to your website only to find your social media links. If they can’t find it quickly, they will probably give up. So put it everywhere!
Book page: all about your books
This is what we are all here for, right? The BOOKS. This tab is the perfect place to include your book cover with a longer description about your book, usually your back cover copy! If you have multiple books out, you can include them all on this tab, or have separate tabs for each book!
Other elements to consider
Blurbs: People like to see that other people like your book. So, if you have some great blurbs from other authors, or even just a really great quote you can take from a reader on NetGalley or Goodreads, put it on your website! I think it’s great to just sprinkle these all over your website, and definitely on your homepage so people can see right away that others are loving your book!
Newsletter: If you have an author newsletter that you send out, you can definitely include a sign up section in your About tab, or Contact tab!
Blog: Do you have a blog? This isn’t mandatory, but I know some authors have their own blog that they regularly write. If you have a blog, I would include a tab dedicated to your blog so it’s easy for readers to find and access! If your blog is on a separate website, I would definitely consider consolidating, but you can link to it in your About tab!
Media: If you already have some coverage coming in about your book, that’s great! You can also include that on your website so visitors can go to those links and read what people are saying about your book, or see where your book is being featured. Where on your website you include this information is up to you! You can include it in your About tab, your Books tab, or create an entirely new tab specifically for coverage you’ve received. It sort of depends on how much coverage you have!
As you can see, there is a lot of information to put on your website, but don’t be overwhelmed! It is most important to make sure people know what book you are promoting, how they can buy it, and where they can find you. So, if you’re new to this, start with that! The rest of these key elements will fall into place as you begin to craft your website, and make it your own!
Links used: https://www.janefriedman.com/author-websites/