A website is essential when creating your author brand. A well-designed author website will act as an information hub where readers can check in to keep up with your new projects, and potential readers, editors, and literary agents will visit to learn more about you and your writing. But once you have an author website designed by pros like the experts at Web Design Relief—how do you keep it relevant and running? Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in computer science to maintain your author website. Simply focus on developing these 6 skills, and your website will stay functional and relevant.
Skills That Will Help You Maintain Your Author Website
Reliability: The success of your website hinges on your readers enjoying the visit and returning again and again. Posting new content on a consistent schedule keeps your website interesting and encourages visitors to return for the latest updates. An author website that sits for months or years without being updated will be considered abandoned by anyone who stops by for a look. Your author website is a great place to post details about your upcoming events and releases, and having a blog allows you to share more information with your fans.
It’s also important to be reliable about updating the technical aspects of your author website when it’s needed. Your hosting site, theme, and plugins can all have updates that will affect the way your website functions. Regularly reviewing your site’s back end will ensure everything keeps running properly.
Flexibility: If you decide to make changes to your site’s design, whether it’s something as complex as restructuring your home page or as simple as adding an image, you’ll need to be flexible and patient. Sometimes making a web design change requires a certain amount of trial and error. Even if you’re familiar with how websites work, the elements you want to add may not interact with your existing site design as you thought they would. Don’t let that discourage you! Keep moving the pieces around and try, try again.
Your website’s flexibility and adaptability are important too! Once you have everything on your website set just the way you want it, test it on both desktop and mobile devices. Different screen sizes can affect how your page displays, and you want to make sure your author website looks great whether it’s on a phone or a 4K desktop.
Spam Management Know-How: It’s an unfortunate aspect of today’s Internet: If your website has a contact form or your blog has a comments section, you’ll probably receive some spam. In order to curate a friendly experience for your audience, you’re going to need to monitor your blog to reduce any spam and delete any Internet trolls.
Graphic Design Flair: If your website is created by professionals, the designer will have made specific aesthetic choices to ensure the overall appearance is pleasing to your audience. Before you attempt to make any updates on your own, take a moment to consider how the change will affect the overall aesthetic and functionality. Does adding an extra sentence bump down an image? If you move a block of text, will that upset your column structure? Just because you can fit everything and the kitchen sink onto a web page doesn’t mean you should—the result could be a disconnected mishmash that leaves visitors confused and more likely to bounce.
Research Expertise: What do you do when there’s a syntax error in your HTML, or suddenly none of your images are loading, or maybe your whole home page won’t display? Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and put on your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap—it’s time to go investigating! Whatever problem you’re having, someone else has probably already dealt with the exact same thing. Even experienced coders search the Internet to find solutions to difficult problems.
Search tips: Did you know that typing “-[search term]” in the search bar will exclude that term from your results? You can also use a colon to search for results from a specific site. Learning all the hacks and tricks for your preferred search engine will help you streamline your search so you can quickly make any necessary fixes.
Knowing When To Delegate: Even if you’re comfortable with doing the technical tasks yourself, managing a website can take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, you can hire a website administrator to handle the day-to-day upkeep for you, or sign up for a service like Web Design Relief’s hosting care package to monitor your website and keep everything up-to-date. This way, you can free up your time for other things—like writing!
Question: What skill do you think is most useful for maintaining an author website?