As an author website designer, my knee-jerk reaction is, of course, an enthusiastic yes! But as someone who really likes to understand the why of things, I also regularly ask myself why that’s true. Where is the value for the author? How can I make sure the work that I do is contributing to that value?
When I think about it and distill it down, here are the top 5 reasons authors need websites:
A professional online presence: An author website can provide a professional resource where readers can find information about the author and their work straight from the source. Not from a third party, who may (or may not) be accurate, and as up-to-date as possible. The website should clearly communicate who the author is, what they write, and why readers should be interested in their work.
Direct communication with readers: Beyond social media, author websites can serve as a platform for an author to communicate directly with readers, through blog posts, email newsletters, and other forms of content. When launching a book, there is often a marketing team involved and sometimes the content doesn’t come directly from the author. Using the author’s own voice helps turn folks into long-term fans because they feel connected to the author, and not just their work.
Marketing and promotion: An author website can be used as a marketing and promotional tool for an author’s work, allowing them to showcase their books and connect with readers who are interested in their genre or niche. Building community around an author’s work gives it longevity and makes them an authority in their field or genre.
Control over branding and messaging: A website gives authors complete control over their branding and messaging, allowing them to present themselves and their work in the way they want to. Social media platforms change the game constantly, making users feel less in control of how they are presented to the world, who can see them, and why. An author website is created specifically to showcase an author in the way that works best for them, and changes only when they want it to.
Data analytics: A website can provide valuable data analytics that allow authors to track their website traffic and audience engagement, which can help inform their marketing and promotional strategies. If an author knows where their website visitors are coming from, what they’re looking at, and what is shared the most, it will help them know if they’re reaching the audience they intend to reach and if there’s an opportunity they might not have known about.
Overall, while an author may not necessarily need a website to be successful, having a website can be a valuable tool for building a professional online presence, connecting with readers, and promoting their work. By providing readers with valuable content and keeping them engaged, authors can build a loyal following and increase the visibility of their book projects and beyond.
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