Launching an Author Platform: 11 Steps to Creating a Professional Website

Starting an author platform? Author website building can be simple. Get your platform up and running in no time with these straightforward tips!

Authors turn to digital channels to market their books and connect with readers as the publishing landscape changes. While many authors still rely on brick-and-mortar bookstores and other traditional marketing channels, an increasing number are using the Internet and social media to reach a wider audience.

Photograph of Belinda D'Alessandro. Belinda is wearing a red jacket over a red dress and a string of pearls. She is standing in front of windows with shitters
Belinda D’Alessandro

However, the sheer nature of social media makes it fleeting. People only glimpse a small percentage of the posts shared by those they actively follow, and it blows by like leaves in the wind. Having your content seen by new followers is even less likely than it is by your current followers. This is nothing new for social media, but the degradation rate is skyrocketing. Who thought trusting wealthy young men with our primary means of communication would be a bad idea? This is where a website comes in.

As an author, your website is one of the most essential tools in your arsenal. It is your primary platform for controlling your online presence and branding. Your website is the first stop for anyone looking to learn more about you and your work. A well-designed author website can help you build your brand, connect with readers, and sell more books.

A professional author website should be well-designed, easy to navigate, and packed with information about you and your books. It should be the central hub of your online activity, with links to your social media accounts and other author platforms.

Creating a professional author website is not as difficult or expensive as you think. We will walk you through the steps to creating a professional author website to help you build your brand and connect with your readers.

1. Why do you need a professional author website?

A professional author website is one of the best ways to control your brand identity and make a lasting impression on readers. It gives you a platform to showcase your writing, including your latest books, blog posts, and personal appearances. Having an author website helps establish you as an author and creates trust and credibility with your audience. Furthermore, your website can function as a great marketing tool, helping to increase book sales, promote events, and connect your readers with your upcoming projects. With a professional website, you can go beyond simply listing your books on Amazon and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your own marketing.

Creating a blog section on your website allows you to engage with your readers and build a community around your work. Additionally, you can use social media integration to further promote your website and reach a wider audience. You can also use your website to build an email list of interested readers and send newsletters with updates, exclusive content, and promotions. This can help you establish a loyal fan base and engage your readers with your work.

You can also monetise your content by offering exclusive perks to your fans, such as early access to new content, personalised merchandise, or even one-on-one interactions with you.

2. Your website should reflect your brand

As we mentioned in our first post on our refreshed blog, you want to ensure it accurately reflects your brand and appeals to your target audience when creating your author’s website. So think about what kind of message you want to convey and how to visually communicate it.

Choose your design elements, like fonts and colour schemes, carefully. Ensure your website is consistent with the branding you’ve used on other platforms like the book covers for your books or your profile image for social media.

This will help create a cohesive look and make it easier for readers to recognise you across platforms. Brand consistency is critical to building a solid author platform and increasing brand recognition. Maintaining a consistent look and feel across all platforms allows you to establish trust with your audience and make it easier for them to connect with you.

3. Choose a domain name that’s memorable and easy to spell

Your domain name is one of the most critical aspects of your online presence. It’s how people will find you on the web and how you’ll build your brand. So, it’s crucial to choose a domain name that’s memorable and easy to spell.

There are a few things to remember when choosing a domain name. First, make sure it’s short and easy to remember. People will more likely remember a shorter domain name than a long, complicated one. Second, make sure it’s easy to spell. People will be more likely to remember a domain name that’s easy to spell than one full of convoluted spelling. And finally, make sure it’s meaningful and relevant to your brand. A domain name suitable to your brand will be easier for people to remember and help you build your brand identity.

Alternatively, if you’re independently publishing your books, consider an imprint name first. An imprint is a trading name under which a work is published. It can be an effective way to establish your brand and gain recognition as an author.

4. Keep your design simple and clean

As we mentioned in another post, maintaining a consistent level of quality throughout all aspects of your business is essential to gaining recognition in your field and distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack.

When it comes to design, it is best to keep it simple and clean. Cluttered designs can be off-putting and make it difficult for readers to find the information they want. Instead, stick to a design that is easy to navigate and focuses on the content. Avoid using too many flashy elements or complex background images.

When we initially updated and relaunched our website, it was really a no-brainer. We wanted our “shop front” to look and run best. We wanted a clean, professional website that provides a succinct journey, clear communication, and calls-to-action for a user experience, with key content signposted and instinctive navigational structures. We also wanted our colour palette and typography, and imagery to be consistent and cohesive.

Consistency and simplicity are two of the easiest things to get right. If you have a logo for your business, ensure it’s on your website, email signature, social media profiles, and business cards. If you want to go above and beyond, make sure that some of your core messaging is consistent as well – use phrases like “We believe in blah blah blah” or “We help solve your problems, rather than I fix your problems”.

5. Make sure your website is responsive and easy to update

Responsive design is essential for any website in today’s world. A responsive website will render correctly on any device, including mobile and tablet. That way, readers can access your website no matter what kind of device they are using.

It’s critical to provide visitors with up-to-date content and allow us to make updates quickly and easily. If you’re on a budget, it will also be essential to minimise the need to have a developer on hand for day-to-day updates and support and have complete control over the content. In addition, it would save money on monthly costs and increase flexibility and lead time when making significant updates, such as blog posts or content creation of campaign pages on our website.

To enable us to make regular updates or create new pages (for SEO reasons), we updated to a solid, dependable, and simple content management system (CMS) to handle the job. In addition, we’re currently using a combination of two website builders: Mobirise for static pages and Nicepage, to enable us to deploy WordPress sites and HTML sites.

Additionally, if you decide to monetise your content, you’ll need to include a “policies page” and be able to update it quickly. We’ll discuss that in further detail shortly.

6. Include an “About” page

One of the most essential pages of your website is the About page. This page should include a short biography and a description of your writing. Make sure to have a professional headshot and a few examples of your writing. Your bio should highlight your relevant experience and achievements in writing. Additionally, the writing samples you choose should showcase your versatility and skill as a writer.

7. Include a “Policies” page

If you’ve monetised your website, rather than just use it as a form of marketing, you must include terms and conditions of use, privacy and cookie policies and other disclaimers.

A website owner needs to jump through a lot of hoops. This may include content restrictions, data security, disclosure of information, or another type. To regulate how visitors use a website, the legal documents listed below are imperative. By including a policies page, you can ensure that your website is functional and compliant with the law, protecting both your company and website visitors by limiting your exposure to lawsuits and guaranteeing that it complies with consumer protection laws and other legal requirements.

Your trading terms will cover additional issues not otherwise included in your Terms of Use, such as payment, refunds, delivery and use of the goods or services. Therefore, they are more specific to selling your goods or services than just using your site.

When your website’s visitors can easily see the guidelines they must follow, they feel more secure. For example, even though adding the link to your page can be as easy as doing so in the footer, a website visitor will see this and know you take your business and the tools you use to conduct it seriously. You must have numerous brief interactions with your audience to build trust with them. Increase your audience’s confidence in your offer by demonstrating that you follow the law and conduct yourself ethically.

8. Use engaging imagery

Your website should be visually appealing and engaging. Use imagery, such as book cover art, to connect with your audience and convey your message. Images are also a great way to draw readers in and create a connection with them. Additionally, it is vital to consider the quality and resolution of the images used to ensure they are clear and visually appealing.

High-quality images can enhance your website’s overall design and professionalism or promotional materials. Both Mobirise and Nicepage include access to royalty-free image libraries.

These image libraries offer a wide range of options, allowing you to find the perfect image to complement your design and convey your message effectively. In addition, Mobirise and Nicepage allow you to upload your images for a more personalised touch.

9. Add social media buttons

Adding social media buttons to your website is a great way to increase engagement with your readers. It allows readers to connect with you and your content on other platforms. Social media buttons are easy to add and can be placed anywhere on your website. Adding social media buttons can increase your online presence and reach a wider audience. This can also help to promote your brand and increase engagement with your readers.

Social media buttons allow your readers to easily share your content on their platforms, leading to more traffic and exposure for your website. Additionally, having a robust social media presence can improve your search engine rankings and help you connect with potential customers or clients.

10. Have a blog

8 WordPress logos in varying colours lined up in cogsA blog on your website is a great way to create an ongoing dialogue with your readers and build community. This is an excellent platform for you to share your thoughts, experiences, and insights. It can also be a great way to promote your books and upcoming events.

Whether you are an established author or just starting out, this platform can help you connect with your readers and build a solid online presence. With its user-friendly interface and broad reach, it offers endless possibilities for networking and growth.

11. Make sure your website is secure

Making sure your website is secure is essential. You don’t want your readers’ information compromised due to a lack of security. Make sure you use a reputable hosting service and have an up-to-date SSL certificate, particularly given that Google prefers sites that use HTTPS via secure SSL Certification. (As a part of our hosting service, our hosting provider, Vodien, includes an up-to-date SSL certificate.)

An SSL certificate ensures that the data exchanged between your website and its visitors is encrypted and secure. This protects your visitors’ sensitive information and helps improve your website’s credibility and trustworthiness.

At the end of the day

Creating a professional author website is a great way to take control of your brand and grow your audience. However, there are many steps to ensure your website is optimised for success.

Some of these steps include choosing a user-friendly platform, creating high-quality content, and incorporating effective SEO strategies. Additionally, regularly updating your website and engaging with your audience can help to build an effective online presence.

It’s important to remember that your website is a reflection of your brand, so investing time and effort into its development can pay off in the long run.

Final Thoughts

By following the 11 steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to establishing a professional website that accurately reflects your brand and engages with readers. Remember to regularly update your website with fresh content and stay up-to-date with the latest web design trends to ensure that your website remains relevant and practical.

Dedication and persistence can make your website a valuable asset for your business or personal brand.

Have you successfully incorporated some of these ideas into your own website? What other thoughts do you think would help us build better websites?

Please let us know in the comments section below!

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