As our CEO Becky Robinson likes to say, your website is the only place online that you really control online. For that reason, we consider it the essential foundation for building stable and influential thought leadership in your field.
For authors, having a website that effectively communicates with your readers and potential readers about who you are will help to build community around your book(s), engage your readership, and encourage sales of your books and other services.
There are a few different types of ways we help our authors develop “home bases” for their messages.
Custom Author Website
As the web projects manager, these are my favorite types of sites to work on, mainly because of how much the author’s unique personality and perspective shines through in a custom designed and developed site. What differentiates a custom site from a simpler templated site (see below) is the scope and complexity of the design and development. Well-made custom sites will feature:
- Unique design. A custom site will be designed with your perspective in mind. The more your “home on the web” can serve as a reflection of your personality, the more your site’s visitors will feel connected to you as an individual. Additionally, many clients will have their site designed in accordance with their existing brand to maintain consistency across the digital and printed spheres, a result not as easily accomplished when using a templated website.
- Custom pages and features. Typically, the site map will include key pages such as About, Book, Blog, Services, and Contact, though the specifics of your site map and the layout and content of each individual page depends entirely on your personal goals for the site. Some clients require special additional features such as an online store for products, a message board, events calendar, a press page, or a unique display of videos and/or articles, all of which can be seamlessly integrated into a custom site.
- Adaptable/scalable structure. When you opt to invest in a custom site, you are setting yourself up for easier integration of updates and changes to your website in the future.
A custom site also gives your audience a chance to connect with you on a personal level—and can serve as a primary driver for your other business offerings such as speaking, consulting, and training.
Templated Author Website
A simpler and more straightforward option, the templated site is a great choice for authors who want to maintain a blog and space for people to learn about their work without investing the resources or time associated with a custom site.
A well-executed templated site will feature:
- Clear and simple navigation. If using a templated site, your sitemap may be simpler and smaller than with a custom site, but can still contain all of the key pages that you need for your personal brand. As opposed to a custom-designed homepage, your homepage may be your blog page. This allows visitors to your site to immediately engage with your content by reading your posts, commenting, etc.
- A modern, clean look. You will still have the ability to customize colors and add custom images to make your templated site your own! A benefit of using a template is that users can often easily add/change images themselves with little to no knowledge of coding.
Check out Becky Robinson’s site—it’s built on a template and looks fantastic!
A book microsite is essentially a one-page site that is designed to share important information about your book. We have a specific formula for what information can go into a microsite, so customization is minimal. The main benefit of a microsite is that it allows readers to quickly learn about your book, learn about you, and learn how they can buy the book and share about the book with their friends. A book microsite is an incredible tool for book launches (note: as an alternative to a microsite, some authors opt for a Book page on their author website that contains elements from the microsite).
A book microsite includes:
- Navigation at the top of the page.
- Custom banner graphic.
- Option to download a sample chapter.
- Share graphics.
- Other ways to learn about author, book, purchasing.
Some examples of book microsites include: chessnotcheckers.com, leadlikecaesar.com, the-secret-book.com.
Whatever type of site you decide is best for showcasing your book and other work to the world, make sure that it includes:
- Easy Navigation – clear, intuitive menus with obvious buttons for clicking.
- Mobile Responsiveness – easily viewable in all formats – iPhone, tablet, Kindle, etc.
- Tracking of Metrics – to find out how people come to the site (i.e., by typing in the URL, searching, or via link or referral) so visitors can be turned into regular guests.
Interested in learning how we can help you develop your home online? Contact us to get started!
Image credit: kpgolfpro
Margy Kerr-Jarrett enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in nature with her husband and daughter. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Margy has been living in Jerusalem, Israel for the past three years.