The Whys and Hows of Making Your Author Website ‘Sticky’

Let me start this post by saying that I just read one of the best blog posts ever! It was written by an author, Roni Loren, and I highly recommend that every author read it. The subject? How make an author website unique and interesting.

Some of these ideas are ones that I’ve been pitching to clients for a long time. Others are new and interesting ideas. Here’s an excerpt from the article on the important things to think about as you build a site (and how to accomplish each of these goals):

1) Give deeper insight into your books

A few Ideas:

  • Inspiration photos for your characters, setting, scenes, time period, etc.
  • Character Interviews
  • Soundtracks
  • Deleted chapters
  • Bonus epilogues, prologues, or short stories
  • Tell where you got your story idea from
  • Genealogy charts for your characters or series
  • Photos of the pets of your characters
  • Fun facts about the writing of the book
  • Quizzes or contests
  • Recipes
  • Book lists with books listed in order and by series
  • Book trailers

2) Give deeper insight into you, the author

This is not about navel-gazing and me, me, me all the time, but share yourself with your readers in an interesting and engaging way. A few ideas:

  • A non-boring FAQ
  • The story of how you got published
  • A blog where you show your voice and personality
  • Picture of your pets (would advise you not to put your kids pics up)
  • A widget that shows what you’re reading or what you’ve read
  • Your recommendations for authors you enjoy or a list of your favorite books
  • Interview your spouse for a post (I’ve done that a few times on here.)
  • Vlog so we can actually see and hear you
  • Info for aspiring writers
  • Photos (not avatars) of yourself – at minimum a nice author photo, but also could be you with readers at signings, or doing something fun, that kind of thing.
  • Share your hobby – What else do you enjoy besides writing? Into scrapbooking or sailing or cooking? Talk about it. For instance, I have a concert obsession so I blogged about that Monday, but also made a Pinterest board listing all the concerts I’ve been to.
  • Have any big goals or challenges? – Maybe you’re trying to run a marathon by June or maybe you want to read 100 books this year or you want to learn how to bake bread. Talk about it and get readers involved. They might be trying to do the same kinds of things.

3) Encourage the reader to not just stick around but come back again.

You have to keep content fresh. If someone stops by and has their way with your website and clicks on everything, what is going to compel them to come back? Some ideas:

    A fresh, interesting blog that is updated on a regular schedule (minimum once a week if you want some traction).
    Contests that encourage interaction.
    A newsletter that readers can sign up for. Helps if you offer an incentive for signing up–a free chapter or something.
    An easy way to follow your blog or follow you on facebook, twitter, etc.
    Reader forums where fans can interact with each other. (This only applies once you’re a “big deal”, but it seems these are pretty popular with the well-established authors.)

Roni, I couldn’t have said it better myself.