The Five Pages Your Author Website Should Have
On the off-chance (hope!) that some of you have taken my advice, below are the five basic pages every author website needs.
If you’ve hired a designer, chances are they will already point you in the right direction, but if you’re brand new to websites and attempting to build your website on your own via Squarespace via one of their existing templates, I’d recommend deleting all the “demo” content and creating the five pages listed below in order to get started.
You actually can’t build a website without a homepage (hence why Squarespace won’t actually let you delete the demo homepage on their templates until you create a new homepage, remember every website must have one!) A homepage is the main page, the landing page where upon someone typing in your URL/domain name will be taken to. What your homepage features is up to you! Most authors tend to feature their newest/upcoming release, but if you’re a new writer and don’t yet have a finished manuscript but still want to establish yourself as a seriously writer, you can make the homepage be about you or your writing. For example, you could post your headshot and a short bio, or if that’s uncomfortable, you could create a tagline for your writing and some sort of branded images (sexy stock photo, beach scene, flower, heart, whatever feels like it fits your style)
Your about page should contain your full bio and a headshot. Never underestimate people’s desire to know more about writers!
Be sure and give people a way to get in touch! This should include an email address (you never know when your local newspaper or news station will be wanting to do a feature on local writers), as well as any social media networks you want to direct people to.
Create a page and name it Books. This will be your books “main page,” a catalog, so to speak of all your books. Note that if you only have one book, you can put all your info about your book on the page (buy links, description, cover, etc) if you want to, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, I suggest that the book page contain only the covers to your book (and perhaps series name, if applicable), that then links to a seeperate individual book page for each book. Keep in mind that as you write more and more books, putting all information about all books onto one page simply won’t be feasible. You’ll want to give people a way to browse your books, and then click on the ones they want to know more about.
Which leads me to the fifth and final page your website will need:
05. Individual Book Page (the page name should be your book title)
You will need to create a page for each book you’ve written (so while I’m calling the fifth page you’ll need to create, you’ll actually need to create more than five total pages if you’ve written more than one book!) Why is this so important? Well, for starters, as mentioned above, as you write more and more books, it won’t be feasible to keep all the information for all the books on one page. But the main reason you want to create an individual book page is for linking purposes. When prompoting your book on social media, or in a press release, you’ll need a page to link people to that is specific to that book. I always recommend pointing to your website, rather than Amazon/Barnes and Noble directly, to ensure you’re allowing them to choose their preferred purchase option! Don’t assume everyone wants the Kindle version just because it tends to be the most popular!
One other quick tip …
If you’re new to Squarespace and websites, you may be wondering which of your pages should be in the Main Navigation section at the top of your control panel, and which should be in the “Not Linked” section.
Anything in the Main Navigation section will display at the top of your website alongside (or underneath/above) your header (your name). For a basic website, and if you’re just starting out and don’t want to get fancy, I recommend putting the top four pages listed above (Home, About, Contact, Books) in the main navigation.
But leave the individual book page in the Non Linked section, since you don’t want to necessarily have the titles of your books listed in the main navigation of your site. Remember that while Home, About, Contact, and Books are pretty easily understandable without context for someone who’s stumbled upon your site, “This Magic Moment” (or whatever your book title is) will not be as intuitive.
Instead, to get people to the This Magic Moment book page, upload the book cover (as an image block) to your main books page, and then have that cover link to the This Magic Moment book page (via a click through link).
Still not sure how to “work” Squarespace? Their introductory videos are great for helping you understand how to build all the pages I mentioned above!