I've been pondering how to change up my blog to make it more of an author website. A couple months back, I added the "Publications" and "Guest Posts & Interviews" tabs. Now it's time to go a step further and concentrate less on blog related information, such as the "Awards" and "Blog Hops" tabs.
The question becomes, what do I add and what do I take away? What makes a good author website?
About Me Page:
There was a discussion on Facebook recently. I believe it was on the IWSG Facebook page, but I can't say for sure. Several people were talking about the necessity of an "About Me" page on their blog/website. Apparently, a lot of people see heavy traffic on their "About Me" page, which makes me think I should add that tab.
The "About Me" page should say something interesting. Probably something different than your bio. I've seen some interesting ones on blogs, but can't think of an example right now. Some have included Q&As or bits of trivia. You should also have your other social media links there and/or on the front page of your blog/web page.
Not such a necessity for me yet, but having been in charge of putting on writing events, which meant contacting authors to speak, I know the value of a simple press kit. It should include a long and short bio, headshot(s), contact information, agent contact information (if applicable), and blurbs about your most recent book release (again, if applicable). A downloadable summary of your publications with book images is a plus, as are downloadable versions of headshots and bios.
If these aren't included on a different page, a list of your publications is a good idea. Include the cover image and purchase links.
In addition to this, I'm thinking it's a good idea to have these advertised along the front page (whether that's your blog or an actual website). I've seen some cool widgets that flip through cover images. If you have one you like, can you tell me where to find it in the comments? Chris Fey has a good one on her blog, and it looks like you can click on the bottom to get the widget for yourself.
Another thing to consider including on this tab/page is reviews. If you've received good reviews, get the reviewer's permission and post snippets of it or link to the larger review.
Whether this is its own separate tab or part of either the Press Kit or About Me page, this is valuable if you're hoping to be asked to speak at events. When I was looking at an author as a speaker, I would often search around for information on what other workshops they had given, so I knew what topics they might be knowledgeable on. Someone I think has done this particularly well is Barbara Samuel. (Note: She also has downloadable bios, photos, book cover images, and a press kit.) She offers suggested topics, as well as a list of previous engagements. I also liked it when the author promoted their upcoming event with us through their social media/website while we were promoting on our end.
I figure my blog works for this, as I can share any news in a post and have active content on the front page at all times. If you're doing an actual website instead of a blog, a "News" section is a good idea. Whether it's a separate page or the front page, make sure you have somewhere to keep people updated.
Two people who do this are Christine Rains and Andrew Leon.
A couple other authors who use their blog as their website are A Beer for the Shower (Brandon Meyers and Bryan Pedas) and Alex J. Cavanaugh. And, of course, there are a ton more, all of whom I'm visiting to get some ideas.
Background/appearance are a whole different subject. And one I'm still working out. I love the image Jeremy created for me, but I don't know if it still works for my site, considering I'm primarily being published in horror right now. That change will take me a bit longer, anyway.
This is just a little of what I'm tossing around right now. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback!
What do you think should be on an author website/blog? What do you like and dislike about author sites you've seen? What widgets do you adore? Do you have one widget for your social media or do you use their individual widgets?
May you find your Muse.
*Both images by OCAL, clker.com