As some of you may know, I’m taking a web design class this semester. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while and I figured, as an added bonus, it would help me to create a professional, user-friendly website.
This series will span over the next couple of months, with a post here and there. At the end of the series, I will have a brand spanking new site up and running and ready for your viewing pleasure. So let’s begin.
Creating an Author Website
As I start thinking about redesigning my site, I find that I have to start at the beginning. Specifically, the building blocks of a great author website. Lucky for me, there was a post on Inky Fresh Press yesterday about cleaning up your online presence. Not only did the author, Brigid, offer great suggestions, but she also included links to several helpful articles.
The main points I got from these sources were:
- Keep your site professional – both in design and content.
- Let people know who you are – include a head shot and a short bio
- Keep the content clean and easy-to-read
- Use a memorable url, preferably your name – an author website is like your online business card
- Include a way for people to contact you
- And, most importantly, be professional
Some additional points I picked up about content are to include:
- Bio page
- Writing Excerpts/publications
- Contact Page
An Author Website for the Unpublished
I found Annette Fix’s article, What Every Website Needs, to be the extremely helpful when addressing this issue. Not only does she tell you the elements you must have, but she also gives some guidelines for what to include in each section.
The main difference between a published author’s website and an unpublished author’s is that the published author needs to include information about their books and should have a separate website devoted to each title/series. Unpublished authors, of course, do not need to do this since they are unpublished. Otherwise, the sites should be more or less the same.
Before I can start designing my website, I need to figure out the layout, or the site architecture. I’ve decided to include the following pages:
The Projects page can include writing samples but it is also versatile because I can use it in the future for published works, works that are with an agent/looking for an agent, sample chapters, etc. I already have a bio page on my current site, I’ve been maintaining a blog, so I can just move that content over, and a contact page is easy to create using widgets or some simple coding. All that leaves me to create content for are the writing projects page (which I sort of already have for my writing samples) and a home page. Because I am not yet published, I will either use my home page as a landing page or just have it redirect to the blog.
What this means is there will really be little content to create. The bulk of the work will revolve around creating a clean, professional, personable design.
Stay tuned next week for Website Redesign Part 2 – Part 2 will look at some mock-ups for my redesigned site.