Monday, July 6, 2015

Making Your Blog Your Author Website

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.

Press Kit:


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.

Publications:

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.

Appearances/Workshops:

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.

News/Press Releases:

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.

Book/Series Tabs:

Another thing that isn't yet an issue for me, but I always like to be able to check out different series on an author's page. If you have multiple series, make a tab for each so people can see what you have to offer, see other books in the same series, and even see what order they should be read in. As a reader, I've had to look up series I've started late on in order to read them in order. Make it easy!

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


25 comments:

  1. More and more, I think smart people are making it easy for other people to use their websites. (I see it at work, too. If your program is easy to implement, more people will want to get on board.) So much good advice here, in easy-to-digest pieces. Thank you!

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    1. True, the easier the web page, the better. If I go onto a website and it's garish and confusing, and I have to click all over to find the information I need, I won't bother.

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  2. My About Me page does get a lot of hits. Definitely need one and have contact information there. (I'm amazed how many writers and authors don't list a way to contact them.)
    Hope you take only good ideas from my site, because I'm sure I have some bad ones there!

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    1. I had never thought of an About Me page getting many hits until I saw that conversation. And, yes, the contact information is a must. When trying to reach a speaker, I have been foiled repeatedly.

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  3. Having contact info easily available is very important - I have a tab just for that, and it's also part of the bio/profile in the sidebar. I try to keep my site clean and simple, easy to read and to navigate. I hope that's what comes across! :)

    Good luck on all the updates/changes!

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    1. I'll have to come look at your blog with a critical eye to see what I glean. It's like when you're car shopping and you see the car you're considering everywhere, even though it was never noticeable before. Now I'm paying attention to other aspects of everyone's blogs.

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  4. Slowly but surely I will get my blog up to par. Good suggestions.

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  5. Yeah, our About Us page has a ton of hits. So does our bookstore. You want to know what's really helped us, as stupid as it sounds? That animated gif ad in the corner. Without it, you would not believe how many people have told us they "didn't know" we wrote books, because they just completely missed the text in the menu bar.

    The lesson: if you can say it with words, great, but saying it with a picture is better.

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    1. Oh, interesting point! Yes, in this time of limited attention spans, a visual is always a positive.

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  6. I tend to drag my feet when it comes to technology. I need to work on my Amazon author page as well as my blog page.

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    1. I'm sure I could do more on my Amazon author page, but I have updated it some.

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  7. I tend to drag my feet when it comes to technology. I need to work on my Amazon author page as well as my blog page.

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  8. Thanks for the little shout-out. I got my widget to list my books on Amazon. It's really easy to add your books and make changes to get it just how you want it.

    Although I do have an author website, I definitely tried to make my blog like an author website because I have more visitors on my blog. I have an "About Me" page does get a lot of hits. So do my "Be My Guest" page. I added all of my blog awards to my "About Me"page, so that'll help you to eliminate your Awards page.

    I also created a "My Books" page. On my website I have a separate one for my series and a drop down for contributions. I also have a tab for my press kit and a few tabs for writers.

    I have been eliminating pages and creating them a lot lately. I actually find it fun. :)

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    1. I didn't think about a Be My Guest page, but that's a good idea. It's also a good place to put your requirements for guest posts, interviews, cover reveals, etc. I'll have to go check out that tab on your blog!

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  9. I got rid of my website in favor of a blog that would serve as both but I should update it more.
    Susan Says

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    1. We should probably all update everything more, but there's so much else to do. Argh!

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  10. Hey, that's my name there!
    I must be famous or something!

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    1. You're more famous than Chipotle. I've never posted about them on my blog. Well, I guess I just did. Never mind.

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  11. Good post! I'd much rather use my blog as my author website because I don't have the time to add one more thing to keep track of. I may implement some of your suggestions...thanks!

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    1. The one good thing about having a separate author website is that it would be someone else maintaining it for me. Namely, my husband. Ha!

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  12. I like About Me pages and the other stuff you listed makes sense too.

    I like author web sites that are frequently updated. It's often disheartening for me to see a web site/blog that was last updated a year ago. For that reason, I think it makes a lot of sense for blogs to function as author web sites.

    I've been thinking of remodeling my blog too, although I have a few more milestones I need to hit before I go there.

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    1. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, but getting myself to do it will take a little more time, especially if I decide to change the overall look.

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  13. Creating a press kit is a good idea. Even if you don't have a ton of work out there. I hadn't thought of this one yet. Thanks for mentioning it. I do have an About Me page that houses a short bio and then an extended bio. I also have another tab (on my website) of Sherisms. Basically I've put parts of my bio in bullet point form and have used humor to do so. Just something different. :) Great post!

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    1. I like the idea of Sherisms! You have to do something that shows your personality.

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