But in this post, I want to cover what pages to include on an author website, or book website, and why.
Home. The point of a website’s Home page is to capture people’s attention, let them know they’re in the right place by explaining/demonstrating how you can help them (and remember that providing entertainment is a way of helping), and telling them what you want them to do next. So, if you’re an author of a novel, you want to show your book cover shot prominently (capture them with the book cover art and communicate the site is about a book instantaneously), explain in your intro text (or video) how the book is a rollicking page-turner, or a suspenseful thriller, or a world-building fantasy. What’s going to make them buy your book is the idea that your book provides what they want in a good book, so tell them what that is. Include review blurbs if you have them as proof of your claims. Then, tell them to buy your book. Give them easy ways to get ahold of it by linking to online retailers. Beyond that, what you include will depend on what else you’re doing, such as writing a blog or newsletter, so read more about what to include on your Home page to get some ideas. But remember that you don’t want or need to put everything on the Home page. There’s value in simplicity and ease-of-use. Just like where I write above that you may not need more than one page on your website, don’t try to cram too much into a single page. If you’re asking your site visitor to do / look at too many things at once, it’s a good indicator that you need to consider breaking it up into multiple pages.
About. Your existing or potential readership will want to know more about you, and hopefully people want to write about you too. This page is designed for those audiences to learn more. So include content that explains what led you to become an author and what led you to write your books. Include your headshot and contact information. In working with authors on their websites over the years I’ve noticed that many authors are quite shy and don’t necessarily like to talk about themselves — I get that, but this isn’t the time to be a modest wallflower — this is the time to sell more books. Read more about what to include on your about page & in your bio
Book/Books. If you’ve written more than one book, this can be a landing page that shows all of your books and links to a page for each. If you’ve written one book, or for each book’s page, include more detail than you did on the Home page. In addition to the book shot & purchase options, expand the introduction to the book, include additional reviews & blurbs, include an excerpt, include resources mentioned in the book, or an audio clip, etc… This is the place for all of the content you want to make available about the book, both for people considering purchasing it who want to learn more first, or for an existing audience who might share your content with their network or be looking for information that allows them to feel better connected to a story they enjoyed.
Contact. Make this really easy. I often tell people that I don’t care how people get in touch with me, I just want them to get in touch with me. As an author, you want people to be writing about you. You want people asking for interviews, or inquiring about your next project, or offering you a speaking engagement. So make it really easy. Offer a form (where the content gets emailed to you), but also an email address & your social media profiles. If you have someone handling your press, include their information.
Maybe you only need one page? Before you jump to the conclusion that your website must have multiple pages, actually think about whether or not that’s true. If you just want a place to put your book cover shot, some intro text, and purchase options (and that might be all you need), then don’t come up with other pages just for the sake of it. Your site visitors will be most interested in the pages of your website that are there for a reason, and are thoughtfully considered. If you have other pages, but people aren’t visiting them, or are visiting them but not spending any time on them, then you have to wonder whether it’s worth having them at all. How do you know? Check your analytics.
Beyond those basic pages, there are some pages you might also consider:
Events. This applies if you plan to participate in events over time like signings, or speaking engagements, or conferences, or even virtual events like webinars. If you’re only going to do a handful of events, it’s not necessarily a good idea to dedicate a whole page to this. Rather, consider an area on the Home page where you can list them and a way to get in touch to book more. If your schedule will be relatively full, having a full page dedicated to this where you can post not just the schedule, but also photos/videos from events, and a call-to-action to contact you to book an event is a great idea. If you find your schedule filling up with events, it’s a great problem to have & you can always add a dedicated page to your site to list them.
Press/Media. Ideally people are writing about you, and you want to make that easy. You also want to include links on your site to where people have written about you, not only so that your audience can learn more, but also to demonstrate how you add value to people’s articles so that more people want to write about you or use you as a resource. This page also allows you to create a “press kit” of your book cover image & details, author image & details, and even prompts for questions people might ask when writing about you. I’ve written a blog post all about what to include on your press page, so be sure to check that out.
Blog. A blog isn’t right for everybody, but it can be a great way to bring an audience to your work, provide resources to keep them coming back, and to give you a place to talk about what you’re doing (events, or your next project, or stories about writing) so that you have a primed audience for future projects. Think of it as a searchable repository of keyword-rich content that you add to over time. If the idea of writing a blog (somewhat) regularly makes you cringe, and nothing you’ve read about it makes you think it’s worth your time, it’s not a good fit for you. But if you enjoy writing and like the opportunity to connect with your audience a bit more, then consider whether a blog is for you. I’ve written a blog post all about what authors might write about in their blogs, so check that out for lots of ideas.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t other pages that would be great additions for your project to help you meet your specific goals, but these pages are the most commonly created on my author & book website projects.
Want to see some examples? Here are a bunch of author & book websites I’ve created that utilize these ideas and more:
If you’re interested in diving into more details about this topic (and many others!), check out my Author Website Planning Kit which details out everything you need to know to build your own author website.
This document consolidates, updates, and fleshes out my most popular and helpful articles written for authors and writers into a single, affordable resource. If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, but aren’t sure where to start, what platform to use, and what key decisions you’ll face, this planning kit is for you.
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