The Perfect Website For A Book (and How To Build Yours)
When faced with creating a website for a book, most authors we meet have questions and doubts on where to even begin.
We’ve put together this all-you-need-to-know rundown of exactly what to keep in mind when building your author or book website. We’ve also created both affordable and premium solutions to this simple problem many writers just like you are facing.
The post will:
- Help you learn how to create the perfect website for a book
- Answer any questions you may have about this
- Show you great options to build or update your website
As An Author, Does My Book Need A Website?
Short answer: No.
Complete answer: If you don’t it’s a completely wasted opportunity!
Many readers, publishers and promoters are going to Google you. Do you want them to find whatever they can on the wild west of the internet? Or would you like them to find the exact online representation you’ve made especially for them?
This is just one good reason why you need a website for your books and as an author.
How Do I Build A Website For My Book?
When it comes to building a website for a book, there are two main options.
You can go the DIY route and build your own website or you can hire a professional web designer to create your ideal website.
The difference between these two comes down to a trade-off between time and money, depending on what you need and want. You will either spend more time learning how to build a website, or spend more money by having a professional do it for you.
Building a website may seem like a big, scary task.
Not to worry. We’re here to make it simpler for you.
Keep reading! We’re going to show you two very different ways to get your perfect author or book website up and running fast.
The Two Ways To Build Your Author Or Book Website:
1. The Do-It-Yourself Website Option:
There are, in fact, two types of DIY methods:
- The cheap, fully DIY website
- The affordable, mostly DIY website.
In general, the DIY route costs way less than the done-for-you route but takes much more work.
The ‘cheap’ DIY option involves learning new platforms to build the site and constantly working out how to do things cheaply. The problem with trying to build a cheap website is that you spend so much time working out how to cut costs and still end up with something that looks, well, cheap!
Remember, time is actually a hidden cost and you could be spending it making more money.
The ‘affordable’ DIY option allows you to still build the site yourself whilst having a proper template and guide, along with all the support you need. This is great as you’ll become more familiar with the platform and how to maintain your website.
An example of an affordable DIY option is AuthorSites’ pre-made websites for authors.
2. The Premium Done-For-You Website Option:
This costs far more than the other options, but will take far less time. Find a good agency to bring your vision to life and create a beautiful, creative online representation of you as an author. All you’ll need to do is send across files and documents, and you’ll have personalized support when you need it.
An example of this is Rocket Expansion’s author website design services.
We’ll go over these two main options in more detail and show you some examples of each later in the post.
Which Domain Name To Use?
You definitely want your own domain name like yourauthorname.com. This will not be free even if you’re using “free website builders”.
If you can’t get firstnamelastname.com, try firstnamelastnameauthor.com, you could also try things like yournamebooks.com, or something similar.
A Word On Website Costs – Time VS Money
There is no worthwhile way to build a website that is completely free.
Even a professional web designer will pay for:
- Good website hosting
- A personalized domain name
- Premium plugins or subscriptions.
The Reality Of A “Free” Site
A “free” site is actually not free.
You pay for it dearly in terms of the credibility you lose when people see:
- A cheap, trashy looking design
- A bad user experience
Remember, Time Is A Hidden Cost
As with cost, no website option will take zero time from you either.
Even if you get your website made for you, you’ll still have to work with the website designer to provide content, directions, suggestions and approvals.
Every option will cost you something.
Cheaper options will cost more time spent learning and doing. More expensive options will cost more money.
Professionally built websites from a website designer or agency can cost upwards of $3K and even into the $10K range depending on the quality and features you want on your site.
Website For A Book VS Website For An Author?
As an author, you may be conflicted about whether to create a website for yourself as an author in general or specifically one for a selected book.
The answer is, it depends. You may actually want both!
More likely than not, you’re going to want to create an author website.
This allows you to have a platform to showcase all your work and multiple books at a time, without limiting yourself to a single book. An author website allows for a wider focus and the inclusion of more general pages relating to you as an author and your work in a broader sense.
A website for a book holds the power of having a fully-focused channel of information surrounding a certain piece of work, which may be what you are wanting to concentrate on.
An example of the difference between these two website options is one of our own clients. We worked with Chunk Mui to create the author websites below. He then also requested a stand-alone website for his book A Brief History of A Perfect Future, also below.
While his website also very much focuses on the book it also shows a lot more about him as an author, speaker and consultant. The book website gives far more information about the book and the other co-authors.
What Your Book Website or Author Website Must Do
Keep the purpose of why you are creating a website in mind.
The purpose of your author website is to help readers or potential readers take action on what you offer. Whatever else you do with your website, there are two goals to focus on.
As an author there are two main reasons for having a website:
1. Sell Books
At the end of the day, the real content you want readers to get is your books. Make it easy to find the buy button!
2. Build An Email List
Not everyone is going to buy when they first discover you. By building an email list, you can nurture your relationships with future readers until they do become buyers.
An email list will also help you sell new releases far more easily. You can simply let your biggest fans know when new releases become available.
Make sure it’s really easy for website visitors to join your list. Offer them an incentive (like some free content or even a free book) to make it even easier for them.
Read more on author email marketing here.
Website Platforms – Wix, Squarespace, Or WordPress?
When it comes to choosing a website platform, there are two main ways of going about it.
These are either: online website builders that use drag and drop tools such as Wix and Squarespace, or creating a website directly on your own hosting using WordPress.
Some authors aren’t ready for (or can’t afford) a $3K custom-made premium author website. “Free” platforms like Wix and Squarespace simply aren’t the solution either. These types of “build-it-yourself” platforms are especially limiting long-term and come with a host of issues.
We suggest not using Wix, Squarespace or similar platforms. These platforms lock you into their systems and you can never move your site off of them.
The other disadvantage is that you don’t actually own your own website. You’re simply renting it from them.
Which Pages Does Your Book Or Author Website Need?
Essential Website Pages
When it comes to your site we suggest the following pages as must-haves.
This should be a summary of everything on the website. It should open with something that grabs attention and overall focuses on your books. Many examples are listed below.
Books (and Series) Pages
Each one of your books should have it’s own page. You should have an overall page for each book series as well which shows all books in the series. This helps with SEO. If someone is searching for a series name or book name it will make your website more likely to come up in search results on Google
Email Sign Up
As explained above, have a dedicated page for this, as well as many opportunities to join your email list throughout your site.
A place where readers can learn more about the writer behind the words. You should add details in your “about the author” page that are relevant to your work.
You need a way for someone to get hold of you. What if a top celebrity, publisher or promoter wants to feature you or your books?
Optional Website Pages
Then there are also other pages which we’d still recommend having.
A blog is a great way to share content with your community of readers and build a deeper connection and insight into your work. If you’re interested, here’s where to read more on why an author needs a blog.
Fan Resources Pages
It’s a great idea to offer website visitors something more when they come to your site. You should add links to this in your books.
These types of pages would be completely different depending on your genre or subject matter. For example, maps for fantasy authors, family trees for historical epics, business tools or downloads for business authors, colouring-in downloads for children’s authors. The possibilities are really endless!
If you’re planning on being interviewed on others’ platforms it’s always a great idea to have one page that has your bio, professional bio and other images of whatever may be relevant for an interviewer. If you have logos associated with your book brands you can add them here as well.
This makes you come across as much more professional. It really saves time when you only have to send a link instead of a whole lot of files and an email each time you’re pitching.
How To Build Your Own Website For A Book Or As An Author
We touched on this earlier, so let’s go over the two ways you could build an author website in more detail:
1. Using A Do-It-Yourself Author Website Template (Like AuthorSites)
If you want to go the website builder route, there is an affordable option we recommend.
It’s called AuthorSites and it’s 100% tailor-made for authors.
AuthorSites was designed to take the intimidation, stress, and confusion out of building a website. It’s an easy-to-use, low-cost route to creating a presence online as an author.
The AuthorSites website builder:
- Uses the most powerful website platform online (WordPress)
- Has super user-friendly website templates made specifically for authors with built-in, book-marketing features
- Includes a step-by-step help guide to make it even easier
- Includes premium support to do the technical setup, answer any questions, and provide website assistance if needed
What Makes AuthorSites Any different From Wix And Squarespace Then?
It’s built on WordPress, a completely free platform that doesn’t lock you in or limit your website options. Around 35% of all websites online are built with WordPress for exactly this reason.
How Does It Work? The AuthorSites Process:
- Choose and customize your starter template
- Sign up and pay with credit card or PayPal – 14-day money-back guarantee.
- Make it yours and choose your colors, fonts, logos, book covers, sign-ups, links and so much more
- Go live and launch. Make tweaks, add new resources and books and make changes anytime you need to. Have access to full support when you need it.
The customizable nature of the platform allows you to choose from a variety of professionally designed website templates to start off with. You can then make instant sitewide changes, such as choosing your font and colors to match your brand, genre, and persona as an author.
Along with constant support available, you’re able to build a great user journey to turn visitors into readers with comprehensive, built-in Calls-To-Action.
Examples Of Author Website Templates From AuthorSites
There is a great selection of starter templates for you to choose from, which are fully customizable to be built around your brand and work. You can check out the awesome options available below:
2. Getting A Website Design Agency For Authors To Make It For You (Like Rocket Expansion)
If you’re not wanting to go the DIY route and would prefer a custom-built, fully personalized website, then our author website design services are exactly what you’re looking for.
Our process of creating custom websites at Rocket Expansion comes down to:
- Information and Content: Fill out an inquiry form and schedule a call.
- Design and Build: Receive a website proposal with a design. If you’re happy, pay the deposit and begin website development.
- Website Launch: Within 4-6 weeks your website is live!
- Quality Control and Aftercare: For 30 days after the launch, anything that is not working perfectly is quickly corrected.
Examples of Book and Author Websites Made By Rocket Expansion
Here are a few of the book websites we’ve built for authors that follow the exact guidelines you’ve just been reading about.
This is a great example of a website with effective color choices that contrast but complement each other. The calls to action are very clear and it has a clean layout.
Papal Biographer and Political Commentator
This website boasts great content from the author, with over 1600 articles archived. Having such a content-rich site allows fans to engage fully with all your work.
This is a super cute website with a great intro video and detailed design elements all users will love. Such a fun and fresh site!
Young Adult Fantasy Author
We created this website for Hamsa to promote her upcoming book. It’s a great way to show potential publishers her world in more detail and get the book deal of her dreams!
Vera Jane Cook
Women’s Fiction Author
This website is a great example of less is more, with a beautiful style and theme that match the author and their brand perfectly.
Epic Fantasy Author
Melissa’s website has some awesome visuals. A great feature is the fan resources, specifically the detailed & illustrated maps which fans will love.
The Doctors Lane
This website translates the vibe and persona of the authors very well. A great show of staying true to your work and brand as a writer.
Steamy Romance Author
Maggie’s website has a great opening reel of pictures that gets users excited to read more and see what else is in store for them on the site.
J. William Lewis
Contemporary Fiction Author
This website holds a great balance with a color scheme that works well and is framed nicely by the chosen layout and font.
A. Jay Collins
Action Adventure Author
This website has an awesome intro video that users will love and want to know more from, a clever way to get users to engage!
Fantasy and Science Fiction Author
James’ website has great lead generation in place, with clear calls to action that are easy to see and follow. This is a great example of a website to draw users in and keep them.
Paranormal Fiction Author
This website is a perfect example of having a storyline unfolding as the user scrolls, building suspense & intrigue which is such a great feature!
Epic Fantasy Author
Mark’s website also has some great resources such as a glossary and detailed map that fans will thoroughly enjoy. Small detailed additions like this allow them to connect with you and enter the world you’ve created.
This is a feel-good site with familiar characters from the author’s work featured throughout. This subtle feature allows users to feel connected in a low-key way of recognizing your work and pieces they enjoyed.
Epic Fantasy Author
Davis’ website has a great, engaging ‘About’ page that draws the user in and transports them to this new world. Such an awesome feature as it allows the user to be fully immersed!
Conclusion: Getting Started With Your Author Website
That’s your in-depth breakdown of all things author or book website, now it’s just about getting yours done. There are great options out there, it simply comes down to the one that suits your needs and wants.
Your next steps are first to realize you now know more than 90% of authors out there, and second to simply get started!
- Decide if you’re going with a DIY or custom-built website
- DIY: Start with a WordPress platform. We suggest AuthorSites
- Custom Built: Enquire with an author website design agency. We suggest Rocket Expansion 😉
- Get your dream website created and build your online presence!
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