Today every writer and author needs a website and blog acting as the epicentre of their book marketing plan. Every day I’m looking at writer and author websites for numerous reasons and something that I’ve noticed with many of them is the lack of useability, personal representation and presentation. So I thought to myself, this is something I should bring to the attention of writers and authors.
So here’s FIVE easy, actionable tips to make websites for writers suck less which will make a difference in improving your website and presenting yourself as a writer or author that takes publishing seriously and emits confidence.
Make sure you go through this list and have these implemented and working for you and your website today.
1. Have a unique and professional website header
Your website header is the first thing visitors see when they land on your website and it’s what immediately determines the kind of impression your making. So many writer and author sites I see out there have headers that are just some text written in a space above the menu, making no impact at all.
It’s like rocking up to a new house for sale, seeing the front yard be completely bare, not mowed and a clear lack of care making you question what the house will look like on the inside. Make sure you have an image of you in the header or ‘above the fold’, which is the top half of your website that’s seen before scrolling down. People need to relate and identify with you and there’s no better way than to see a face.
For the best result have your header professionally designed, if you have a free hosted blog (which I advise against) and don’t invest any money on your website, if nothing else, at least have your website header designed for you.
2. De-clutter your sidebar
I’ve seen some websites where the websites right hand sidebar is like a dumping ground for every available widget, code snippet and link that can be thrown in. This is a case of “Because it’s available and kinda cool, I’ll add it”, but by doing this your removing the focus from your writing and books which are the main focus of your site.
Be clear and have your available book in the top right hand corner with your Amazon link. Have your social networking buttons, categories and perhaps your recent posts. Add what you believe is important for you, but don’t go overboard.
3. Make it easy for people to connect with you
This is surprising and frustrating at the same time. It’s when peoples Twitter, Facebook and email connect links are no where to be seen or lost amongst the clutter. This week I came across an author website I found interesting and wanted to connect with them on Twitter. Well, I couldn’t find the ‘Follow me on Twitter’ anywhere.
I could have searched them on Twitter, but if this person clearly doesn’t hold value to this kind of networking then why should I spend my limited time tracking them down? I’m a busy person like most, so make it easy for people to connect.
4. Consistent, clear and clean colour schemes
This means, don’t use blue text on a purple background, it’s horrible to read, unclear and looks amateurish. Don’t use the colour red for your text as those who are colour blind will find it very difficult to read. Oddball colour schemes make it frustrating for your visitors, where their having to focus their eyes on what seems to be good information.
This is another way to successfully lose people from your website, never to return. Use black text on white, in your pages and blog posts. Keep things consistent, keep it clean and you’ll more likely keep your readers.
5. Use ‘categories’ effectively
With blogs now part of any writer and author website it’s interesting to see that ‘categories’ used for organising blog posts, are a real after thought for many people. This perhaps is due to education and that people are unaware of their value. Keep your categories clear to read and easy to navigate. Don’t throw all your blog posts into ‘uncategorized’.
You’ll be very surprised to find just how many people use your category links to find more information. Don’t place them at the bottom on your sidebar, move them up where people can find them and easily discover more of your content. In addition, there’s other added benefits such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) where your categories can be taken to the next level, to be used to drive traffic from Google to your website.
Now take action!
I highly suggest you go through this list and see how your writer or author website fairs up. Make any changes you need to so your website successfully addresses these five easy to implement tips. Doing so, you’ll have a website that is going to be working much better for you.
How does your website compare with this list and what’s the first thing your going to improve?
Here’s to your website sucking less!