Your author website is your base of marketing operations. You may decide to use Twitter over Facebook, love Pinterest and dislike Instagram, but every serious author needs a website to keep in contact with their fans and prospective readers. Do a search for your name or pen name as a domain name, and buy it as soon as possible. Even if you don't use it right away, you'll have it reserved for your website in the future. When you can invest the time to get yours done, here are five things your website absolutely can't do without.
Information About Your Work
The reason readers search for your site is to find out more information about the work you do. Start with your latest book, and write an attractive display. Include the cover image, your book blurb or an expanded version of it, and any impressive reviews you may have gotten. Add new pages to this section as your catalog grows, always keeping the newest one at the forefront.
An email newsletter is one of the most effective forms of marketing an author can use. People who sign up for your email list have already indicated they want to know more about your books and your writing. They're already predetermined to like any future books you come out with. Make it very simple for fans to sign up for your email list. Post a prominent signup button on the first page of your website.
Your Contact Information
Readers love to interact with writers on a personal basis. To a large percentage of the population, writers are a separate class of people, not just someone in their neighborhood. When a fan sends you an email and you write back, it gives them a sense of being an insider, someone who knows an important person. Imagine if the author you've admired for years took the time to answer an email from you. Make it easy for your fans and provide clear and simple contact information.
Social Media Connections
Interacting with readers regularly is a great way to create loyal fans and sell more books. If you're signed up on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, add buttons on the front page of your site to connect fans with your accounts there. If you have a blog than this new content should be automatically sent to all of of your social networks.
Calls to Action
Too many people spend hours of their time create beautiful website pages, and never get down to the real meaning of the site: to sell more books. If you never ask readers to buy, your page only serves as a pretty information dump. Make it subtle, skip the big red stars and exclamation points, but give your fans a way to buy your books. Add links to your Amazon page and to your individual books on Kobo, and simple contacts for every other way you publish your work.
There are a lot of other ways you can leverage your site to further educate, entertain and enagage your readers. Do the above and you are doing more than most to move the needle towards success. Make it happen!
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with you!