When was the last time you checked on your own author website? Hmmmm…that long ago? Then it’s time to take a look and determine if your site is still delivering a pleasant, informative, efficient experience for your visitors. Or has it become static, outdated, and just plain dull?
The experts at Web Design Relief know that website trends, advancements, and plugins are continually evolving. So there can be real consequences for letting your author website go stale—including sinking search-engine rankings and bored, unimpressed readers, editors, and agents who quickly bounce off your site.
Make sure your author website is still working effectively and engaging your audience with these annual spring cleaning website updates:
Update Your Author Website Home Page
Does your landing page say “Just Released” about a book that was published a year ago? Have you included all the reviewer blurbs you’ve worked so hard to gather? Is it time to change the purpose of a landing page from promoting a new book to building newsletter subscribers? Does your home page include all the essentials along with very clear calls-to-action?
Update Your Author Photo
The New York Times best-selling author Susan Wiggs once said that if you’ve been in this business long enough, your greatest fiction will be your author photo.
Was your publicity shot taken more than eight years ago? It might be time to update it so that your fans recognize you at the book signings you’re hoping they’ll attend.
Update Your Author Bio
Has the number of books you’ve written increased since you last wrote your author bio? Do you have new accolades to crow about? Or perhaps your author bio reads like a curriculum vitae and it’s time to get more personal to encourage readers to care.
Update Your Social Media
New social media platforms are being launched all the time. Have you recently joined Snapchat? Started a YouTube channel? Have you included a link to your BookBub profile to encourage people to follow you there? Have you taken down your links to defunct services like Vine? Are social media icons clearly visible on every relevant page to encourage readers to join you on social media platforms?
Update Your Website Design
Are you tired of your website’s color scheme or design? Is there a better way to bring across your author brand with different website elements? Could your header use a tighter, more relevant tagline?
Update Your Books
Even if you’ve included all your current books on your website, consider whether you’ve updated them for the awards they might have won, or the great reviews or blurbs they’ve received, or soaring review numbers on Amazon.
Also add any up-and-coming books or works-in-progress so your readers will have something to look forward to.
Update Your Links
Annual website maintenance should include testing every link on your website to make sure none of them are broken. Nothing can kill a potential purchase more quickly than a link that doesn’t take the reader directly to the sales page.
While you’re testing links, consider starting new income streams by updating vendor links with affiliate tags. Authors can sign up for multiple programs including the Amazon Associates Program, the iTunes Affiliate Program, and the CJ Affiliate Program for Barnes & Noble.
Is your website design mobile-friendly? More and more people are surfing the Internet on their phones, so having a website that adapts to small screens is important. Have you included a pop-up to ask for newsletter subscribers? If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, have you included plugins that will allow readers to see your scrolling posts without leaving your website?
Update Your Author Website Security
Is your website safe against hackers? If you use WordPress, are your platforms and scripts up to date? Have you considered additional security plugins like BulletProof? Is it time to update the passwords that access your website? If you’re taking credit card orders, shouldn’t you invest in an SSL Certificate?
Making website maintenance an annual task is a smart way to keep your author website fresh and up to date. Readers, editors, agents, and search engine machines will all notice the difference.
Question: What’s the first page you go to on a new author’s website: About The Author, Book List, Contact Page, or Blog?