Have you ever wondered why many restaurant websites look exactly the same? That’s because every restaurant pretty much wants the same thing out of a website: a page for the menu, a page for directions, a page for hours/contact info, and possibly a way to order food for pick-up.
As a result, there are businesses out there which have created templates for these types of sites. They allow restaurant owners to simply upload their logo, enter their information, and voila! It’s cheap and easy for everyone. And restaurants, for example, can do this because all restaurants build websites with the same goal: your business.
So what makes authors different from restaurants? And why can’t we just create one template for author websites and adjust it with a different name/photo/book cover for each individual?
Let’s start with the most obvious reason: books in different genres need drastically different websites. Imagine that a website that’s promoting a children’s book looks exactly the same as a site promoting a novel about alien invasions. Now imagine a website for a self-help book about resume writing or healthy eating. Should any of these look the same? Absolutely not!
A children’s book website needs to have a design and layout that is warm and friendly. A website promoting a novel needs to look like the setting of that novel. And a non-fiction site should clearly convey the subject matter of the book. In short, one type of website could not — and should not — be used for all of these genres.
What’s your goal for your author website? Is it to sell books? Is it to build a fanbase? To lure a publisher into publishing your next book? Every author has a different reason for building their website. In fact, for some authors, it’s more than one reason.
Understanding an author’s website goals is essential for designing the site properly. In other words, a website that focuses on a particular book is completely different than one that focuses on the author … which is completely different from one that focuses on a series of books or a political issue. Each and every author has a different website goal, and the site needs to reflect that goal.
Different Things to Promote
Some authors have multiple books already written and want to promote and sell them all. Other authors have written one book and want to sell complimentary items (like jewelry with their brand name on it) as well.
There are other authors who want to “sell” more than just goods. They want to promote their side businesses, for example, which is related to their book’s subject matter. Or they want to build speaking platforms for themselves and create a second career as a public speaker in that subject matter.
So, you see, authors are NOT like restaurants. They are individuals — ranging from doctors to lawyers to novelists — each with their own types of books, plans for the future, and additional services.
Just like each author is unique, each author website must be unique as well.