Enhancing Your Author Website: Tips for Adding Fresh, Effective Content

Mar 31, 2015

author websites

We recently gave our Page Two website a refresh and an update. It took months of planning and writing, and it required the expertise of some of our close collaborators. The process gave us renewed empathy for our clients, most of whom develop websites when they launch their books, or feature their new books on their company websites. They are always seeking ways to keep their content fresh, engaging and appealing. Publishing a book is a huge undertaking; developing a website to go with it is also a formidable task. But when it’s done well, it’s a terrific thing to behold.

When it comes to creating author websites, our clients often ask: what can I add to my site to make it engaging and to encourage sales? We’ve seen authors come up with excellent ideas, and there are so many possibilities to choose from. Here are a few standout options from some of our clients’ sites:

Make sure your book gets great exposure

Our clients Bruce Sellery and Levonne Louie both have websites that feature their diverse range of business activities. Their websites express the breadth of their professional lives, but they also showcase their books effectively by featuring them on the home page. For some authors, it makes sense to make the book the main focus of their home page, and for others, the book is best presented as a compelling side note to other activities. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important that your book can be readily found on your site and that purchasing information is made obvious to the website visitor.

Entice us with a preview

It’s great to describe your book in a summary or outline, but why not let your book speak for itself and provide an excerpt? Nothing engages the prospective reader quite like a preview of the book’s contents. That’s why some online retail sites like Amazon feature “look inside” options that allow website visitors to preview portions of the book. Here’s an example we love: our clients Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer wrote a riveting memoir about addiction and recovery called The Couch of Willingness. Anyone who has read the book knows that its power comes from the authors’ ability to recount the most troubling incidents in an unflinching and unforgettable way. They provide a well-chosen excerpt on their website that reveals the book’s strengths in a way that no descriptive copy ever could.

Provide additional food for thought

There are some basic elements of an author website that we all expect to see, such as a book description and an author biography. We like it when authors surprise their readers with bonus elements that feel like little gifts. Our client Miji Campbell prepared a list of thoughtful book club questions to guide readers through her memoir, Separation Anxiety, so she decided to offer them as a download off her website. People who have read the book might enjoy this “bonus” element to the text, and visitors to the website who haven’t yet read the book might be enticed to buy it based on these additional elements.

Even if the prospect of creating and maintaining a website feels daunting, it can also be very rewarding. Finding simple yet effective ways of enhancing your content can draw readers in and keep them coming back. Have questions about your author site? Contact us and let us know how we can help.