10 Praiseworthy Author Websites
Never judge a book by its cover - but as far as we’re concerned, judging by the author’s website is just fine. Of course, we’re kidding, but creating a website for your readership is an important professional step as an author, even in a world traditionally dominated by print.
Whether you’ve already been published or you're in the middle of working on your masterpiece, this article will guide you in creating an author website of your own. We’ll briefly go over what purpose author websites serve and what should be included in one. Plus, we’ll show you 10 examples of author websites to inspire your own website design.
What is the purpose of author websites?
As hard as it is for bibliophiles to admit, every author needs an online presence. An author website leads visitors to accessible information about you and your work - which they can then use to view your published books and learn more about your accomplishments. In this way, having a website improves your visibility and cements your professional reputation.
In addition to providing background information to visitors, author websites create opportunities for increasing interest in your work and building a base of avid readers. While word of mouth never goes out of style, your online presence will put you on the map, and improve your methods for promoting upcoming books or events.
Finally, author websites can streamline the sale of your books. Adding an online store to your website means you can sell your books directly to interested readers. Alternatively, if your book is on a platform like Amazon or Kindle, your website can direct visitors straight to your account. By leveraging sales with a good online marketing strategy, you might just bring yourself to the top of the bestseller list.
What should an author website include?
Websites are personal in the sense that they reflect your distinct taste, so the design and content of each site varies depending on the author. Start by choosing a web hosting platform and choose a template that incorporates the features you want to include. Keep in mind that you can always customize these templates to evoke the style of your written work.
Once you’ve set up your foundation, be sure to include the following elements on your website:
A professional domain name
First, choose a domain name that’s professional and easy for visitors to remember. It’s good practice to stick with something short and on brand. For example, you might choose to include your name and perhaps the words “books” or “author”.
Pro tip: Try to use your author name instead of the title of one of your books. -That way, if you plan to create new work in the future, you won’t need to worry about changing your domain.. This is also helpful when establishing your brand identity as an author.
An About page
An About page gives you the chance to tell visitors about yourself, your professional accomplishments, and your sources of inspiration as a writer. Here, you’ll want to include a headshot of yourself, a list of notable awards you’ve won over the course of your career, and of course, a professional bio. We’re not talking about a full-length novel - keep your bio short and sweet. For many visitors, this page will be their first impression of you and your work.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but you should dedicate a section of your website to your books. The purpose here is to give visitors an overview of your writing and entice them to purchase something. Include a high quality image of each book’s cover, along with a succinct description of its contents. The best author websites we’ve seen also incorporate excerpts from the book itself, which further entice visitors to read.
You can also set up an online store to sell your books directly from your website If you do this, you’ll want to set up your website in a way that encourages visitors to purchase. Adding call-to-action buttons such as “Buy Now” and linking them to your shop is a seamless way to create an easy buying experience.
Should you include books that you haven’t finished writing yet? Absolutely. If you have a title already and can create a preview of what the book is about, this will generate hype around its upcoming release.
Be sure your website incorporates positive feedback about your work - either from readers, notable publications, or other writers. Adding reviews and testimonials to your website is not only encouraged - it’s expected. Books with reviews are more likely to be read, since they familiarize potential readers with your book’s content and exhibit the general reaction of those who have already finished it. An author website is the perfect place to amplify positive responses and prove your book is worthwhile.
Add a contact form
As an author, you want to keep your fans updated on your career, book releases or special events surrounding your work. In order to do this, you need to capture their contact information and steadily build your mailing list. Help users sign up by adding a well-designed contact form to your website and use effective email marketing to increase engagement with your readership.
10 examples of author websites
Before you design your own site, take inspiration from this list of the best author websites made by Wix users. These examples include all the key elements listed above, and then some:
01. Romi Neustadt
Romi Neustadt is an entrepreneur who shares her professional wisdom with the world. Her latest book You Can Have It All is an encouraging piece, guiding readers to live an authentic and fulfilled life. Romi’s author website certainly has it all. It communicates her mission as an author immediately, using impeccable personal branding and key elements that lead her to show off her mission and accomplishments.
Take a look, for instance, at the strong first impression she creates. A customized slideshow on the homepage features two powerful images. Romi’s headshot is confident and warm, embodying the vision of an author you’d like advice from. This is followed by a quality image of her latest book, which is accompanied by a short description and a strategic call-to-action button that states “Order Now” - making it easy for visitors to purchase a copy.
02. BB Writer
BB is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Boston with a sincere message and a visually pleasing website. The minimalist design and color scheme gives her website a clean feel, while the addition of images and an inspiring quote about writing enlivens the site and strengthens the writing theme.
Scrolling down BB’s author website, you’ll come upon a short “About Me” section, which allows visitors more insight into BB’s background as a writer and provides a space for her to write about what she’s currently working on.
You’ll also see that she’s added a customized logo to the site. Creating your own logo is a good idea as a writer, since it strengthens your personal brand.
03. Jessica Winter
Authors who want to showcase a specific book should turn to Jessica Winter’s website as an example. Jessica does an impressive job highlighting her latest novel by placing a high-quality image of the book’s cover strategically on the homepage. Alongside this image is a positive book review from another author, which gives an enticing description of her book as sassy, sarcastic and wonderful. Sounds like something you’d want to peruse, right?
Adding a well-designed website footer to her author website leaves Jessica ample space for a contact form. While the footer is generally the last thing people see, it’s a strategic place to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list.
04. Taylor Tyng
Anything from typical, Taylor Tyng’s well-designed author website makes for a pleasant browsing experience that keeps users engaged. High resolution animated images add a unique and exciting effect, telling the visual story of the writer’s journey. These colorful images provide a powerful visual contrast to the dark grey background and white text.
Using a hamburger menu allows Taylor to collapse the navigation bar of his site - ensuring users have a clear path to the important sections of his website while allowing more real estate for the visual attraction of his homepage. Another clever element is the Taylor’s incorporation of a lightbox - the pop-up window grabs users’ attention and encourages them to sign up to the mailing list.
05. John Clarkson
The thrilling nature of John Clarkson’s novels is made palpable by his website’s visual theme. Its cohesive design theme includes a bold color scheme and the cover art taken from his book covers. As users scroll down the homepage, parallax scrolling gives the site a sense of depth and sophistication.
John’s homepage’s content is impressive while a clear navigation menu links users to even more information. Here, we have a spotlight on his latest book, reviews from critics and readers, a short bio and strategic calls-to-action placed through the page. Clearly visible links to his Good Reads and Amazon accounts encourages site visitors to purchase his work.
06. Trevor Cosson
Trevor Cosson’s site design is minimalistic, using lots of negative space to bring the user’s attention to the text featured throughout. As viewers navigate the site, they’ll be brought to different samples of his work, including his blog and examples of both creative writing and copy. With such a strong focus on text, you should choose a font that reflects your personality and is consistent with the rest of your website’s visual style. In this case, Trevor’s use of a simple serif font enhances the site’s classic feel.
Trevor’s website header also includes links to his various social media accounts. This is a strategic way to build your following as an author, helping increase your visibility and consistently engage with your readership.
07. Alan Allinger
Alan Allinger uses one of Wix’s templates to create a customized author website. The video box featured in this template perfectly embodies the goals of this crafty design element, which allows you to add overlays to your own video and frame it with customized shapes. In this case, a moving image of clouds inside of a quotation mark alludes to both the inspirational and practical aspects of writing.
Overall, the dynamic template showcases Alan’s work and experience quite well. Plus, the addition of a blog gives him the opportunity to share even more great content with his online community.
08. Ajinkya Dharane
Ajinkya Dharane’s powerful website exemplifies a design that’s daring while simultaneously adhering to the web design rules of thumb. A large, high-quality image dominates the background of his homepage, instantly catching the eye. The visual hierarchy and organized structure of the site are also on point, thanks to the use of boxes and strips added throughout the page.
We also love the subtle branding incorporated throughout. The repeated use of his logo’s elements and the inclusion of a favicon are both skillful ways to strengthen Ajinkya’s brand and bolster the professional appearance of the site.
09. Crawford Content
Here’s another example of a Wix website template that’s just perfect for showcasing your work as an author. In this case, the Crawford sisters work as a team, customizing this elegant design by including their own logo, images and text.
Their sophisticated style is further emphasized by the use of light colors and traditional fonts. Their one-page website makes it easy to scroll through their site, and is a web design trend that's sure to impress.
10. Icon 303
Icon 303 is an artist and writer whose multi talented character is perfectly rendered on this website. The homepage is simple but visually potent - including an applied filter effect to the background image, a rousing quote, and an easy-to-navigate menu so visitors can check out his work.
Each page of Icon 303’s site has its own visual theme - a daring example of how your website does not necessarily have to be uniform. In fact, we’re seeing more and more web design trends that lead to a “more is more” mentality. While the shifting of color palettes, imagery and fonts might be too busy for some, it’s a compelling way to distinguish certain facets of your career on a single site.
By Jenna Romano