When it comes to finding success as a writer, there are few elements (outside the actual writing, of course) more important than a website. This post shares eight essential elements for writer websites to find more success.
#1: About Page
Believe it or not, the “about me” page is commonly the page with the second most traffic on author websites (after the home page). And it shouldn’t be a surprise, because people who search you out or who end up on your website will naturally want to know more about you.
So be sure to give the “about me” page the love and attention it deserves. Many successful writer websites use this page as a way to tell their story while also pointing folks to relevant parts of the site.
It’s indisputable: All authors must have their own website. It’s critical for effective marketing (online and offline), as well as long-term career growth. Even unpublished authors can benefit greatly from establishing a starter site. Why? You work through the learning curve, you build online awareness, you make contacts in the writing and media world, and more opportunities open up to you.
In Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less, writers will learn 5 simple (and free) services that help your create a codeless website, how to add multimedia to your site, how to integrate social media sharing tools, what site upgrades or additional features that might be worth further investment, common mistakes and pitfalls (and how to avoid them), and so much more!
#2: Contact Info
My two most important rules for building a platform: 1. Be easy to find, and 2. Be easy to contact. Make sure your contact information is easy to find on each and every page of your website. It’s the best way to receive speaking opportunities, publication opportunities, and even fan mail.
Who doesn’t want that?
#3: Social Media Links
If your website is your online headquarters, your social media accounts are your storefronts. Not that you have to sell things on social media; I’m just trying to butcher a metaphor.
Your social media accounts should all link back to your website, and your website should link to your social media accounts. After all, it’s one more way in which people can find and contact you (remember my two rules?).
If you just can’t blog, then fine; don’t. But I have to share that writer websites with active blogs get significantly more traffic than those that don’t.
The main reason for this is that blogs give folks a reason to make return visits. And people who make return visits build a relationship. And people who build relationships are invested. And they’re invested in that writer, which can come in handy when you’re trying to sell books, find speaking opportunities, and land freelance assignments.
#5: E-mail Signup
Want a super cheap and effective way to reach people who want to buy and even help sell your books, products, and services? Welcome to the power of an e-mail list.
To start building a list, many writers offer a free PDF of a mini-book, tutorial, white paper, or some other “freemium” that has intrinsic value (even fore a complete stranger) that hopefully meshes with what you write.
As part of the signup process, let potential readers know how frequently (or infrequently) you plan on sending e-mails, what they’ll cover, and more. If you have testimonials about your e-mail newsletter, include them.
#6: Links to Your Stuff
Of course, I mentioned linking to your social media profiles. But if you have a book, link to that as well. If you have webinars/tutorials available, link to those. If you offer other services, link to those.
A writer website is nice, but remember that it’s a tool to help you find more success doing whatever it is that you do as a writer, whether that’s writing books, speaking, teaching, freelancing, and/or so on.
If you do freelance work for businesses and/or write nonfiction, straight up testimonials, especially from the right people can work wonders on people visiting your site–as far as building up the trust factor.
If you do fiction or poetry, then linking to publication credits in online magazines and journals can work as a sort of testimonial page to show who believes in your work enough to publish it.
#8: Press Page
More and more successful writers refer me to their press pages when I need an author bio or head shot. Often, these writers offer a few variations of their bio (for instance, 25-word, 50-word, and 100-word bios) for different editorial needs.
They also include a few author head shots in variable image sizes with any other information needed (like photo credits, if necessary).
Bonus Element: Appearances
If you make author appearances, share them on your website. Two good places to include this information is on your press page and/or testimonials page. Or make a page specifically dedicated to this–if you speak often.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits the Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market books, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, maintains the Poetic Asides blog, co-hosts a podcast for writers with Brian A. Klems, speaks at conferences, leads online webinars and tutorials, and so much more.
Robert is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection published by Press 53. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s been a featured poet across the country at poetry events in Austin, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and more.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.
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