I tell every client the same thing: each and every author website is different. And an author’s homepage is no exception.
For example, compare the website that belongs to a doctor who writes and speaks about his area of expertise with that of a novelist who writes about alien invasions and doesn’t want anyone to know what he looks like. Different websites? Absolutely. Different homepages? Yup.
With that in mind, here are five types of homepage strategies, and the types of authors they work best for.
1. The author-centric homepage. This type of homepage is perfect for the author who wants to build his or her presence online. The primary picture on the homepage is that of the author, and the author’s name is also prominently displayed. When you arrive on a site like this, there’s no doubt what it’s about: the author.
2. The book-focused homepage. Sometimes, a website is built with the specific goal of promoting a specific book. That homepage includes a prominent photo of the book cover, along with a book description, links to read more about the book, possibly a book trailer, and (of course) links to purchase the book.
3. The series-of-books-focused homepage. Often, a writer has completed more than one book. He or she wants to promote all of those books on the homepage, with very little focus on him or herself. On those homepages, we feature a compilation of books, highlighting each one’s strengths.
4. The information-centric homepage. Maybe you wrote a book about a specific topic that you find very important. The purpose of your website is not only to promote that book, but also to spread the word about this very important subject matter. This type of homepage is chock full of information about the cause, as well as photos of the book, the author, etc…
5. The welcoming homepage. Some authors like to use their homepages as “windows” of sorts into their websites, their books, their personal lives, etc… Sites like these usually have a homepage that features a “Welcome” message (there was even an article about this recently in the Huffington Post), which serves to explain who the author is and what he or she hopes you will get out of the website and the books. This homepage also usually includes links to the various sections of the site, so that a reader can easily learn more about the author, the books, etc…
Now, I have described for you these five types of author website homepages; they are all different and unique in their own way. But remember: you don’t necessarily have to pick one of these and run with it. In fact, these 10 examples that I’ve sent you make up just a fraction of the 200+ author websites we’ve built. And a large portion of those are some hybrid of two or more of these types of homepages.
So before you start building your own author site, I recommend you take a look at these vastly different styles of author homepages. Figure out which ones best match what you’re looking to do. And talk with your web designer (hopefully us!) about how you can create the perfect homepage to meet your needs.