Here at Web Design Relief, we often get the following question: Should a writer create a website that focuses on a particular book or on the work of the author in general? As with so many elements of Web design, there’s no singular answer that will work for everyone. To discover whether to focus your website on yourself as a writer or on one of your books or novels, check out the advantages of each strategy below!
Designing A Website That Focuses On You As A Writer
Encourages readers to establish a relationship with you. When your readers become attached to you as a writer, they may be more inclined to buy each of your books when they come out because their loyalty is to you and everything you write (as opposed to one book or series). Your author website can tell a compelling story about you as a person and show off your likablility factor. In this age of social media, it counts big! Learn more: 5 Ways To Help Readers Get To Know You Better.
Shows the big picture. Your author website can encompass many books, poems, essays, or stories that you’ve written. You can post excerpts of your writing or link out to sites on which your work appears. Often, writers will include information about their newest book on their homepage, then include other books on their “Books” page.
#1 – For example, Brad Thor’s website is dedicated to him as an author in general, but his homepage always prominently features his most recent releases and book-related products with specific, bold calls to action.
Allows for flexibility. At some point, many authors decide to tweak their genres. To change their branding. To try something new. By focusing your author website on yourself, you’re not tied into promoting a single book in a single way. In this case your author website may have more longevity than a website that focuses on a single book.
Doesn’t require multiple websites for multiple books. Everything can be in one place. And if you do want to create a website for a single book, you can always link to it from your author site.
#2 – A great example of this is Neil Gaiman’s website. Since Gaiman writes everything from novels to children’s books to TV show episodes, his website neatly categorizes his different writing ventures on a specific “Neil’s Work” page. The rest of the site is then dedicated to his blog, biography, public appearance schedule, and fan message board so his fans can always stay up-to-date and connected with him.
Designing A Website That Focuses On A Single Book
Emphasizes a clear call to action. When you focus your author website on one book, you make one call to action very clear: Buy this book. The message isn’t diluted and readers won’t be distracted from your website’s one single goal. It can be a powerful and effective statement.
Promotes Searchability. People are more likely to find your book on search engines than just your name, especially if you have a name like “John Smith.”
Links series books. If your book is part of a well-branded series (one that has strong continuity and perhaps similar titles for each book), your site can be the hub for all of those books and characters. This is especially great if you’re planning to have forums where fans can chat about their favorite books. Book-focused sites can have great branding.
#3 – Take, for example, Erin Hunter’s Warriors series website. Not only does it have information about every one of the books in this popular series, but it also includes extra information about the world of the series and the characters therein. This creates a well-rounded browsing experience for visitors seeking to learn more about the series before they start reading.
Places less emphasis on the author. If you’re especially camera shy, focusing on a single book might make you feel more comfortable. You’ll still need an “About” page, but your website doesn’t have to put your writerly self quite so front and center.
Think Hard And Choose Well
Once you’ve made a decision about how you want to brand your author website, it may be difficult to change your mind later on—especially if you’re locked into a URL like “authornamehere.com.” It’s difficult to get readers to make the shift with you.
Also, readers tend to prefer to go to a single, obvious website, rather than having to choose how to get in touch with you. With multiple websites, readers will not feel certain of whether or not they signed up for the “right” mailing list, or if they’re missing something on a site they’re not monitoring.
Whatever decision you make, we recommend that you think about your long-terms goals. But even if you do change your mind, it’s not the end of the world! Web Design Relief can help.
QUESTION: Which type of author website do you prefer?