If you're an author, having a website should be a critical part of your website strategy.
Whether you've gone the self-publishing route or work with a publisher, your website should serve as your home base as an author, where readers can learn more about you and find all of your published works.
But so many author's website designs fall short because it's an afterthought for most – after all you're a writer, not a web designer or web developer.
Lucky for you, I am 😉
Here are some best practices, and general advice for how to design an author website to help you get known, build an audience, and sell more copies of your books.
- All about author websites and why you need one
- How to create an author website
- What to include on your author website design
- Common problems and best practices
Table of contents
- What is an Author’s Website?
- Should authors have a website?
- What are the Benefits of Having an Author Website?
- How to Create an Author Website
- What Should I Put on My Author Website?
- Best Author Website Design Examples
- Common Problems for Author Web Design
- Best Practices for Author Website Design
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Designing an Author Website: Where to go From Here
What is an Author’s Website?
An Author’s Website is a designated space for an author to claim their online presence to share about their work, create community, and ultimately, continue to evolve in their career.
The website will likely be where people come to find out more information about your writing career and other works, as people are generally directed to your author website after stumbling onto your content or reading one of your books.
There are different purposes that an author website will serve, including the key purpose of developing an authoritative stance in the industry – whether it’s in the world of fiction or self-development books.
Authors also have their website as a way to capture leads, market new works, directly sell their new books with an e-commerce portal, and be a space for fans to contact you, share their reviews, ask questions, or communicate with other fans.
Should authors have a website?
Yes! Whether you are already published, or are looking to become a published author, you should definitely have a website as an author. Your website should serve as the the home for anything you do, online or offline.
If you aim to build a career as an author, your website is going to be how you can engage with existing readers, attract new ones, and help them buy your books.
As an author, your brand is your business. And without a website, you're practically invisible.
Your author website will share with your audience key information they are likely searching for or curious about, including:
- Your experience as an author and some personal information (usually shared in your biography)
- The books/works that you have published and are working on
- Where to find your work (how to access your latest books)
- Where they can get updates (email sign-up, social media, etc.)
- How to contact you for questions or personal reviews.
Bottom line, building a website is an investment in your career that you should consider, even if you just start off with a simple one page website, something is better than nothing!
What are the Benefits of Having an Author Website?
We touched on the fact that having an author website will be an asset for your career as your build a name as a reputable author. So, in more detail, the other benefits of an author website include:
- Centralized reader access. Rather than going to various other platforms to read your work (books, poems, articles, etc.) your readers could potentially purchase and access your works from your website. Selling books on your website can give you higher profit margins when you sell your works to readers.
- Enhance credibility as an author. Plain and simple – you’ll be taken more seriously when you’ve designed a good-quality author website. Plus, an author website gives you a competitive edge over your peers who haven’t yet created an online presence. Especially helpful if you plan on doing any kind of public speaking.
- Engage with your audience. This one has many advantages to it. By creating a community space for fans to comment, discuss your work, share their reviews, and ask you questions, they will feel more connected to you as a public figure. Engaging with your audience can help to develop loyal, lifelong readers who will eagerly await that new book and happily pre-order each release.
- Capture leads and nurture your audience. Beyond just having your website as an interactive space for fans, you can (and should) engage with your readers through email. This is an essential lead generation tactic that many businesses are leveraging. You could offer a freebie, like a bonus chapter of an upcoming book, or a never-before-read short-story. Anything you can offer to entice them to join your list.
- Create collaboration and publishing opportunities. With a reputable website, the likelihood of landing a publisher will be higher, if you’re currently an unpublished author or looking for new representation. The website serves as an online CV of sorts, showcasing all the information that potential publishers need to know to consider you as an author to represent. Additionally, if you wish to collaborate with other authors, having a website as a central place to find and connect with you is important.
- Networking opportunities. You’ll have more networking opportunities with an author website, especially if you are featured in interviews, guest articles and blog posts, and other publications that can link back to your website and further drive traffic to build your audience. This also helps you build authority to your website by acquiring high-quality backlinks from everywhere you've been featured.
- You own 100% of the platform. Social media networks are great for meeting new people, but you're ultimately at the mercy of their algorithm. One day, that social network may disappear, or may decide to stop showing your type of content. If you don't invest in a website as an author, then you'll always be at the mercy of rented platforms. Your website is the only platform you can ever truly own online. and it should be your home base for everything that you do on and off the web.
How to Create an Author Website
Creating a website, in general, can be a straightforward process. The ease (and cost) of creating a website depends on the complexity of the site, the design choices, the intended functionality, and whether you hire a web developer for the process or create it yourself.
When it comes to the design of your author’s website, the process is more complex as there are many different decisions you’ll make about the style, functionality, and navigation.
First, you need to create the site by choosing a domain name and signing up for a web hosting service that you’ll link your domain to. Ideally, the domain name will simply be your own name (or author pseudonym you use) so it’s easily found by your audience.
The next part is deciding on the content you’ll include. These are the essential elements of information and functionality of the site. Then, you’ll bring it all together with a high-quality design that expresses the style and tone that expresses your brand personality (remember, you are the brand). The design elements will involve decisions about font, color, spacing, and more.
Customizing the design of your author's website to be a clear expression of your style as an author is key, and something that requires design intelligence to really get right. We’ll dive into more best practices for web design below.
Some other things you'll need to consider include your website platform (we recommend WordPress), a theme to display your content beautifully, and an SSL certificate to keep your users' data safe.
What Should I Put on My Author Website?
There are so many creative possibilities for an author site. It's up to you how you'd like your website to function and what you want to include, of course. However, if your intention is to have this website help you sell more copies of your book(s), create community, capture leads, and provide a valuable resource for fans, there are some key elements we strongly recommend including.
Here's what you should include in your author website design:
Strong Personal Branding
We can't stress this point enough – as an author, you are the brand, and you should be treating this just as any other business treats their brand development. There will be a certain personality and tone to how you communicate as an author. Generally, your books/articles/works will already have a strong taste of this personality, and the brand that you develop around that will be based on this tone.
Personal branding involves making decisions about the tone of the content (playful, professional, witty, etc.), as well as color schemes, iconography and imagery, and logo (if you decide to create one). These are key style guides to follow for any marketing (whether it is a web page design, branding for events emails, marketing, and more).
This element shouldn't be missed, as a lot of people who are coming to your site will be there because they came across one of your books and want to know more about you and your other works. In your author bio, which is often featured on its own page separate from the home page, like the ‘bio' or ‘about page', you'll share your years of experience as a writer.
If blogging is a part of your traffic acquisition strategy (which it should be), then also include an author bio in your sidebar at the very top of the page, and again at the very bottom of the post. That's because cold traffic arriving from search engines may have never heard of you, so it's important to introduce yourself to new readers. It's exactly how we designed the blog post template you're looking at now!
Additionally, your audience will appreciate learning more personal information about your life, like where you are in the world, what led you to become a writer, and how you like to spend your free time. You don't need to pen your memoir on your website, but peeling back the curtain a bit will make you more relatable, which can increase engagement and sales.
Blogging is still one of the best ways for authors to attract new readers and build a loyal readership. As an author, your website should have some sort of blog where you can post updates, news, press, and ideally some content to help you appear on search engines (more on this later).
You're a writer, so your website should be a place where you can write consistently and share your work with fans, peers, and even publishers or publicists. Note consistently is underlined in the previous sentence, because you shouldn't expect to see results overnight. It'll take time to get your website indexed and even longer for you to start ranking on search engines, but if you blog weekly for at least a year, I promise you'll start seeing results.
Heck, there are entire books that started as really great blogs, like Josh Kaufman's “The Personal MBA” and even more that were inspired by their weekly (sometimes daily) blogging practice.
Lead Capture (Email Sign-up)
It's essential to have an element on your website designated to capture leads (potential customers who will continue to read your works). This is generally through an email sign-up. An email list is a great way to develop loyal followers that will hopefully stay with you through your writing career.
Building an email list is easy with a simple sign-up form, giving you the benefits of staying connected to your audience and nurturing them through sharing information about new books/articles, sales and specials, and bonus fan material.
Book Marketing and List of Works
Not only will you share your works with your email list, but it's also important to include a list of your current work on your webpage (new books that have been published and the next books to come out.
In the case of a book author – as this will be the majority of you reading this guide – here are some tips for your list of works.
- Include an image of the cover so that it is easily recognizable when people are looking for it in your e-commerce platform (whether it is your own site, or amazon, for example).
- Provide a description of the work, and any other books that are part of the series that link to those already written books or upcoming books.
- It’s a good SEO practice to have a dedicated page for each book, so you can input the meta description and keywords that can help direct people on search engines to your work.
- Have a clear call to action for people to either directly purchase the book, add it to a wishlist, or capture their email to be notified when it is out.
Consider how often you view websites on your desktop compared to your mobile device. If you're in the majority of people, then you're actually on your mobile more than a large laptop-style screen. This really changes the experience, and subsequently the design of websites.
With almost 55% of global web traffic coming from mobile devices in 2021, it's vital that your web design for your author site is optimized for mobile devices, meaning it looks good and is easy to use and navigate on ANY phone.
If you're designing the site yourself, you might have overlooked the need to rearrange elements that you've carefully designed on a big screen in order to work on mobile devices. Most good website designers will take this into account. Creating a website wireframe for both desktop and mobile is the way that most good designers will ensure that the functionality and navigation is optimized.
A vital part of every website is a contact page. This will have information like the email of the author (or author's assistant), social media links (which should generally be on the footer/header of the site also), and other forms of contact.
A simple contact form plugin that suits the design of your branding is a great way to let people share and ask questions. The call to action for the form would be something like “have a question for (author's name)? Reach out here” or, “ask questions, share your thoughts, offer a review of (author's name) works here.”
Social Media Links
As shared above, it's also advantageous for the author to have other social media accounts. This is essential to maintain a strong online presence for rapport, audience building, and engagement. They might have a LinkedIn profile, Facebook fan page/group, or Instagram account, for example. For an author's site, have links easily accessible for people to stay up-to-date and follow you.
Not only should you include small icon links in the header or footer, but you could also have this all on the contact page, or on a ‘stay in touch' page. On that page, you might also have other links to podcast episodes and other media that you've been interviewed on, or if you host a podcast, it's a good place to promote it.
If you are extremely active on a particular platform, you can also consider adding a social media feed to your website using a plugin or by working with a developer.
There are different formats you can use for creating an engagement function on your website. Some author websites have plugins for discussion portals AKA “forums” which create threads for fans to connect with one another, share book recommendations, testimonials, and ask questions. Most authors choose only to have a comment function on their regular posts if they have a blog.
In any case, stimulating discussion is super helpful to create an interested and engaged audience. People enter different worlds through books and other written material – one that the author creates. When fans can connect with others about the worlds that they explore in the content, this creates a sense of community and a feeling of belonging.
Best Author Website Design Examples
The following authors have their own distinct styles. Whether they're a freelance writer, non-fiction author, or sci-fi creator, they each let their unique voice shine through the designs of their websites.
Take a look at how they have chosen to share about their work with the writing, different menu bar header sections, image choices, style, and opportunities for viewers to engage. These authors give us a well-rounded view of the best author websites online right now, and how they can be incredibly different from one another, but just as impactful.
Author: Seth Godin
What this website does well: Seth Godin has proven that you can have a simple, text based website and still be extremely effective online. For over a decade, Seth has written and published a post on his blog EVERY SINGLE DAY, with 8000+ published pages. Not all of them are hits, mind you. But it's through this exercise of writing, posting, and improving daily that he's managed to write 20 best selling books. He also has an email subscription form on every page, and has pages where you can find his books, his best content, his social media accounts, and other relevant links.
How you can do this: Show up every single day and contribute to the conversation. You are a writer, so don't get so bogged down by all of the specifics of building and running a website that you forget to do the thing you should be doing. And if you are going to write anyways, you may as well do it in public where the world can see and be a part of the conversation. It's exactly what our next website author recommends in his popular book “Show Your Work”. I promise that this kind of daily effort compounds in ways that are impossible to imagine.
Author: Austin Kleon
What this website does well: Austin Kleon has a feed of dated posts that answer questions, share thoughts, and update his audience on his writing and personal life. This is a great tactic to keep your webpage recent and up-to-date. This means that when an audience comes to see that you are actively creating content, they will be more likely to want to engage and sign-up for your email list, even if you don’t have any new works yet. If they see that you are still active and sharing online, this can create more anticipation of what will be coming next.
How you can do this: Have a plug-in included in your website design to add short posts or updates of blog posts and be committed to keeping a regular schedule of sharing works, thoughts, anecdotes, and more. Austin uses substack.com for his newsletter, but he has a proper website, where he can introduce himself and list all of his books and links to buy or interact with him online.
Author: Pat Flynn
What this website does well: Patt Flynn does a really good job of introducing himself and his books on his website. You can tell that the design is totally custom, and the quality reflects the quality of his work. Of all of the author websites we reviewed, this is hands down the most well designed. He also has buttons to purchase his books with dedicated landing pages for each title where readers can learn more before they buy. The website also serves as a hub for all of his content, including speaking events, courses, blog posts, and links to other projects he's working on.
How you can do this: Use your website as a hub for everything you do online. Make it as easy as possible to learn who you are, what you've written, and who you can help. Bonus points if you invest in a sleek design that will appeal to your target readers.
Author: Megan McDonald
What this website does well: This author has a strong focus on a clear and bold personal brand. The target audience is kids (or adults purchasing for kids), as she is a well-known children’s author. Therefore, the website has been designed with this fun, colorful, playful energy with unique icons like the ‘coming soon’ movie ticket, or having a ‘fun stuff’ gaming space.
How you can do this: Be true to your personal branding and let this shine through your design and content choices. Who is your target audience? What is their general style/feel? If you’re writing science-fiction, you can go down this route of darker colors and sci-fi imagery that might come through in the books your write.
Author: Julia McCoy
What this website does well: Julia has built much of her trust in the content marketing industry by writing and releasing one book relating to content once a year. Her strategy to promote her books on her website is simple; a scroll-through at-a-glance synopsis of each book as they are written and released every year, with a dedicated landing page for each book when it is in pre-order or waitlist form.
Julia keeps her dedicated Books page updated yearly to share her new releases with her audience. But her books page doesn't stop there; her value-heavy blog and other resources on her website continue to build and nurture the journey of her visitors.
How you can do this: Have a page created solely for the books you release, and use this page as your link in an Instagram bio, Facebook page, or Twitter bio to get more readers to check out not just the new release, but all your books, when you announce a book release to the public.
Common Problems for Author Web Design
Some of the (very common) mistakes people make when approaching web design are easily fixed. Even a small change can have positive benefits to improve the functionality of the site, the ease of people finding the site in the first place, and the entire user experience.
Essentially, you want people to get a clear sense of who you are, your works, where to get the information they want, and have a pleasant and intuitive experience on your site. Read on for the common mistakes people make in author web design, and how to fix them.
#1: Having a landing page only
A simple landing page really isn’t enough for a good author website. You want to have a space to share your work (we spoke about the advantages of having a separate web page for each book if you’re a book author), a contact form, bio, and some of the other elements we shared earlier on in the article.
Only having a landing page with a bio and some links to buy the books is limiting your chance of being found on search engines, as well as providing a space for your audience to feel connected to and engaged with your work.
#2: Missing social media links
The first problem here would be not even having social media accounts, like your author's Instagram page or Facebook fan group. If you don’t have social accounts, go ahead create them, and make sure that the links are easy to access on every page.
It’s ideal to have them in the header or footer, as well as the about and contact page. You could get away with having social media links on every page, actually, as they are often small icons that don’t take up much space.
#3: Not having a call-to-action (CTA)
People are coming onto your website to learn about you as an author and engage with you by contacting you, commenting, subscribing, and purchasing your works. If you don’t have any clear CTA for them to be guided through your site and what you have to offer, you’re missing out on the opportunity to capture an audience, nurture them, and make sales.
Here are some super simple CTA’s that you can include on your site:
- Follow my work on social media
- Contact me here
- Leave a book review
- Sign-up to my email list (you can also offer a bonus chapter or sneak peek extract of an upcoming book as an incentive to sign up)
- Browse my works
- Buy my books at these retailers (list of sites you have your book available)
- Purchase now (if you sell them through your website).
Important note: make the CTA about THEM and what THEY can receive, rather than it being about you. Offer them value and give them an incentive to engage.
#4: Too much irrelevant information
Being overwhelmed with information and content that is vying for attention is a bad move for the site. Your readers will be distracted by having too many options available to them to know which page to visit.
There needs to be a clear sequence for people to navigate your site intuitively, without confusing people to the point of making them freeze and not going to any of your pages. These questions can help with approaching content hierarchy (which information should be shared first, and what doesn’t need to be on your webpage.
- What do I want people to do when they land on my site?
- What are the key points people need to know about my work?
- If I were a visitor, what grabs my attention most (and is it what I want them to see)?
- What is irrelevant for people to know? What have I included that is distracting from the purpose of my site/a certain page of the site?
If you've already created a website and you packed it full of information with lots of links and CTA's, you might want to consider a redesign to help you improve your conversions.
Best Practices for Author Website Design
We've already given you insight into key elements to include and mistakes to avoid, but here's a little more valuable info when it comes to best practices for author website design.
#1: Update your content regularly
This includes your bio and picture! It’s actually very common to overlook these parts of your site. You might update your site with new books and links, but your core content also shouldn’t remain static.
If your bio doesn't include new works or speaks about an “upcoming book” that’s actually an older book, you’ll lose rapport with people who pick up on this because they’ll sense that you don’t put energy into staying current and active.
A rule of thumb here is to review your core content every few months (web copy, bio, etc), and update your site regularly (ideally weekly) with new book progress and discussions/responses to fans. PLUS – Updating your website regularly is actually something that search engines really like – so you'll be doing a little SEO inadvertently!
#2: Have a mailing list/lead capture
This is a best practice for every business that has a website. Find a way to keep people engaged with you. The most simple thing is to design an email sign-up form/page for people to input their details. Visiting your site is just that – a visit.
Capturing leads, however, is a whole different thing. You remain in contact with them through email newsletters where you can share offers and events, and that is what creates a strong, loyal readership that powers your career. After all, an author is nothing without their readers!
#3: Put effort into your brand development
When people land on your homepage, you want them to have a clear, strong feeling about the tone of your work. What we mean by ‘tone' is the voice and personality; your level of playfulness, serious professionalism, reliability, humor, etc.)
There are many ways you can explore brand development, like building a brand guide/style sheet to answer questions about how you want your author voice (brand) to come across. The decisions you'll make about font, color, spacing, imagery, and content style will all be driven by a clearly developed brand.
#4: Monitor your website metrics (and adjust accordingly)
This is a big one – and something a lot of website owners never do! When you can see how your website is performing, you are able to help it to perform better. Without any information from web metrics, you have no clue whether people rarely visit a certain page, or if the site is loading too slowly because your design is too complex and has too much media. The key metrics that can help you reassess your site design (which we recommend to look at monthly) are:
- Amount of site visits
- Views by page
- Bounce rate
- Average time spent on each page
- Traffic source keywords
- Where the traffic has come from.
How do you monitor metrics? There are a few simple ways to get this info – see this guide for an easy explanation.
#5: Have an SEO strategy
SEO is an essential component of all web content. You want to be found on search engines, and there are ways to increase the likelihood of readers finding your stuff, whether they’ve read your work already or are completely new. There is content-specific SEO (usually keyword-driven and formatting of written material) and then there is design-specific SEO.
Design-specific SEO is complex, and we recommend researching more about this or working with a professional. For now, here are the key elements that are included when designing websites with SEO in mind.
- Responsive design to detect the size of your visitor's devices
- Spacing and formatting of imagery versus text
- The use of different headers (H1, H2, H4, etc.)
- Using sitemaps and optimizing the content for web crawlers
- The amount of media and how big the files are (impacts on page loading speed).
A website without some sort of traffic acquisition strategy is as good as a mega mall in the dessert.
You need a reliable way to get users onto your website, and while social media is great, it's ultimately driving traffic to someone else's website, on a platform you don't fully own. Apart from buying ads (which can be expensive, especially if you are a new author), having a solid SEO strategy is the best way to get reliable traffic to your website day-in and day-out.
#6: Automate and grow book sales with a sales funnel
You want to leverage your website to give you the biggest returns possible. Something that authors are beginning to catch onto more recently is the almighty sales funnel.
Creating an intelligent sales funnel strategy will differentiate you from other authors in your field, as it is often ignored in the world of writing, or simply not understood. Book sales funnels are a fantastic tool to get potential big returns, starting with a small investment from your audience.
With an effective sales funnel, you could be leading your audience to a book purchase as the main core offer, or perhaps use your book as the lead magnet to then point to larger ticket offers like a course, workshop, or another service.
How the book funnel works
1. Present an initial book offer (with no or very small investment from the audience) – this is called the ‘lead magnet.’ This can also be a digital copy, or the first chapter of your book. Think of this as the bait.
2. In the cart, present a ‘bump’ offer (a small extra investment to upgrade or add on something else) – this is referred to as an ’order bump’ because it's a chance to upgrade their order. They've already shown intent by taking our bait in the previous step. Now that you've got then on the hook, you can sprinkle-in some additional value for your customers.
3. Before the check-out, have a one-time upsell of a larger ticket item. You could have two of these for different items (on the same, or different pages). Customers who have just bought something from you are the most likely to buy, so we want to give them more to buy so we can increase our average order value.
4. Final check out, thank you page, and receipt. Ideally with next steps to engage with you online.
Within this funnel are triggers for the audience to be segmented into different email lists, based on their purchase/non-purchase. This allows you to create an automated email sequence with information and other offers – essentially, more opportunities to make a sale.
Example of an effective book funnel
1. Free book (E-book or physical book with buyer only paying shipping fees). You can also give away the first chapter for free via email if you like.
2. When the customer inputs the details for a free book, offer an ‘order bump’ that will give you a chance to increase your Average Order Value (AOV). This could be the offer to add the audiobook option or a digital workbook for a small fee.
3. Add the upsell offers on the next pages clearly stating that they are one-time offers. Authors could offer a webinar and handbook on the topic of interest, a mini-course, or even a bundle that includes some of your best selling books.
4. End with a hard sell to the highest ticket item (training, event, online course). If your book ties into your business, then this should be your ultimate conversion goal. This is optional, but extremely effective.
5. Even on the thank you page after the sale, you can have small offers that are relevant to the product/service that they purchased. If you do any kind of affiliate marketing, this is a great place to include those links!
Remember – keep all offers relevant to the initial offer. Your audience walked through a specific door. The room they entered has the energy of what they expected upon walking through the door, so what you offer them in that room has to make sense.
The bottom line of this author's website best practice: Use your website as a vehicle for sales and use funnels to automate the process of making you money!
Not only does it allow you to create a relationship with your readers on a platform that you own 100%, your website can also be a way to sell copies of your book directly to your customers, meaning you get to cut out the middle man and get to control what offers and upsells they see during and after their checkout.
#7: Add a section for any media and press
This helps you build authority with users and also gives users the opportunity to dive into any mentions you want them to see. You should also indicate whether or not you are open to interviews and events, and how they can contact you. If you’ve taken part in other events and are featured in any other publication/media, then showcase them in this same section.
#8: Use an exit-intent popup to get users to convert
It's impossible to convert 100% of users who land on your website, but you'll have better luck if you set up a way to stop them from leaving. Using a tool like optinmonster.com you can trigger a popup when a user tries to leave. This is a great way to capture their attention and offer them something special, like your lead magnet or links to buy your book elsewhere (online or in person).
Make it super simple to find a buy your books. That means listing every single book you've written somewhere on the website and all of the sales channel users can find your books at. You can't sell copies if they can't figure out what you've written and where to find it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need to be a Published Author to Have an Author’s Website?
Whether you are choosing to be a self-publishing author or looking for representation but not yet published, we’d recommend creating your website as soon as possible. That will help you to develop rapport early on and could also enhance your chances of finding a good publisher.
Even if you’re a casual blogger, having an author website can be a great way to create authority in whatever field that your content is covering. The longer websites are online (as long as they are maintained well) the better they can rank on search engines, so we suggest not waiting until you’re published to create your website, and starting today!
How Much Does an Author’s Website Cost?
Creating an author’s website doesn’t have to break the bank. Website creation nowadays can be very cheap, with the cheapest option being less than $10 if you’re just paying for the domain name and using a free site option.
Generally, a paid plan from one of the popular website hosts (shared below) is the way to go as it will allow more personal branding, the option to add e-commerce functionality to your site, and other elements. These plans can be monthly plans ranging from $20 to upward of $50, or yearly plans for a couple of hundred dollars.
If you choose the use a web developer or design team to create your author website, this will add more to your costs, as you’d not only pay for the domain name, but also the web host, and then the services of the web developer, which can range from $1,000 to $10,000.
What is the Best Web Hosting Platform for an Author Website?
There are many different website hosting platforms to choose from when you’re thinking about your author website's development.
The most popular website platforms with easy templates and drag-and-drop page builders would be either a Webflow, Squarespace, or WordPress site. Pub Site is a new platform created specifically to host author websites in a simple DIY website builder, but I can't personally recommend it.
For anyone who chooses WordPress for their author website, it comes in 2 options:
WordPress.com is a self-hosted option (like Webflow, Squarespace, and Wix), meaning you don't need to pay and set up hosting and instead pay a monthly service fee so that the company takes care of that for you. Most have free options available so it's a great choice if you have little to no budget.
WordPress.org on the other hand is fully open-source and customizable, and has much more robust features. If you choose to go with WordPress.org, you will need to choose and pay for a website host like flywheel, hostgator, siteground, or kinsta in order to install the website on. It is more of a hassle to get set up, but once it's running, it can give you the flexibility to do just about anything on your website, and it's what we personally recommend for serious authors who want more than an average website.
📝 We cover more about setting up your WordPress.org website in this article: https://kindlepreneur.com/author-website/
If you choose to go with a professional web designer, then WordPress is often a good choice as there are a lot of ways to customize the design and function of the site for more serious book marketing.
Should I Hire a Professional Author Website Designer?
If you don’t have much technical ability, or simply don’t have the energy or desire to create your own DIY template-based website, you can hire a developer to handle all of the design of your site. To answer the question of whether you should do this, consider the following:
- Do you have the budget to pay a designer anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 for author website design services?
- Are you serious about being found on organic searches (for example, someone looking for great thriller books recommendation without knowing you as an author, and being able to be found from their simple google search)?
- Do you need a complex site with lots of different functionality, like selling your books on your site (receiving payments), having a discussion portal, featuring different media and imagery, etc?
If you are looking for a high-quality and unique site, you want to show up in search results and you have the budget, then hiring a professional will always be more advantageous than doing it yourself. This is because you get to focus on what you do best – write, while they focus on what they do best – create websites!
Designing an Author Website: Where to go From Here
The ideal situation in designing your author website would be to get a professional to handle it for you. That way, you're confident that your site is created to be in line with your branding, the SEO is effective for people to find you, the website navigation is optimized for your users, and your author website is set up with sales funnels to help you sell more books.
If you have an existing website and you're looking for help, read our website redesign guide or sign up for a free website UX review (user experience) and I'll personally give you some tips on how you can improve your author website design and maximize conversions.