As an author, do you really need a website? The quick answer to that question is: Yes! A website is hugely beneficial to your career as a writer, but there are also several other reasons why you need a website that best describes your work and who you are.
Having a really good and clear website maybe what is missing in your quest to get more people interested in your work. Having a website increases your visibility and accessibility on the internet. It should be easy to navigate and give your readers (and prospective buyers) the ability to contact you if they desire. Your website has to look professional and clean, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to do so.
Don’t be a wallflower
The worst mistake you could ever make as an up-and-coming writer is not having a website at all. Where will people find you? How will people contact you should they be interested in your work? How will you communicate with your audience and how will they communicate with you? How will you communicate with other authors? Are you getting the picture now? Websites do not have to be expensive or flashy. A simple website with your portfolio, your biography, and a blog will do the trick.
You can also limit the number of pages on your site. For example, you could have a home page, an about me page, and a page each for books and events, depending on who you want to attract to the site. You should definitely have a blog.
What to do
Some writers have killer websites, but others have websites that aren’t appealing to readers and other authors. One of the main reasons people will visit your site is to browse through your work. Once they are interested in you they will definitely want to contact you. Here are two important tips for you to make yourself more attractive online:
1) Provide contact details
Make sure that your contact information is easily accessible and up to date. Also try and make sure that you have an ‘about author’ tab in there somewhere. Remember that the web is huge and someone might have stumbled upon your page by mistake; you need an inviting and personal author biography that will keep them there.
2) Keep it simple
Make sure that your site is not too cluttered with unnecessary information and annoying ads. People usually spend five to ten seconds on a new site before they decide if they are staying or not. Keep it visual with images and excerpts of your work. Readers like to know what they are getting themselves into before they start browsing or buying.
Include your social media account details on the website. Update it regularly, interact with your readers, and join in discussions with them when you can.
Your author website is (at least it should be) a reflection of who you are as a writer. It should speak to the public about the kind of work you do and how you do it. It should attract potential readers and clients. Play around with some of the options available and see where that will take you.
Written by Zimasa Mpemnyama
Image credit: Bull3t Hughes, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr