Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week’s guest blogger is a friend of mine…the versatile Rena Traxel, writer extraordinaire, with tips on creating the perfect website…
Building A Writer’s Website
By Rena J Traxel
So why have a website or blog if you aren’t even published yet?
At a recent conference I attended, an editor suggested that all writers should at the very least have a website. This shows commitment to your career. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple as one page.
Plus a website or a blog serves as a permanent hub to connect you with others. And it can later be used as a place to sell your books, share news, etc.
What should you have on your website or blog?
I paid under $100 to get a professional photo done.
If you can’t hire a professional photographer that’s okay just make sure to use a photo that’s appropriate (no nude photos). If you can believe it, I recently read a tweet by an agent that said she was put off by a potential client’s nude avatar. Don’t do it.
Plus a professional photo can also be used on business cards and for guest blog posts.
I wouldn’t suggest putting your home address. An email address is a must. But make sure your address is professional. Why not reinforce your brand by using your name. I was once contacted via my website from a reputable agent interested in a pitch she had seen. It happens so make sure you can be contacted!
-Social Media buttons
Link your social media buttons to your Facebook, Twitter or whatever sites you use. Put your buttons on every page in a visible spot (if possible above the fold). Above the fold is what you can see upon entering your website without scrolling down.
-Biography/About You Page
This is a place to tell readers about you. Keep it professional but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
This can include publications, blog guest posts etc. If you have them great! If not, don’t worry about it.
Being part of a reputable organization such as the Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators looks good to agents and editors. It shows commitment to your craft. So make sure to mention any memberships. This can be put on your biography page or can be displayed using a badge in a sidebar.
For around $10/year you can have personalized address. Since your name is your brand it’s a good idea to use your name as the address (i.e. http://www.renatraxel.com). If your domain name has already been purchased don’t worry. You can try using a middle initial.
-Some other things to consider
As your career unfolds look into adding additional pages such as a media page, a book page, and an events page.
A media page should include a photo, bio, and any press releases.
A book page should include a pitch for your book, book cover if available and links to where it can be purchased. I’m always surprised when I come across an author’s website that doesn’t tell me what their book is about. This is an easy way to promote yourself so why not to do it. Also, make sure to include a link to where they can buy your books. Sure a potential reader can look up your book but why not make it easy for them by including a link.
Finally, create an author events page. On this page, you can include places you will be (book signings, conferences, school visits etc.) You may also wish to include your availability to do school visits. Lots of authors make good money doing school visits so why not do them. Or look into doing online visits via Skype. You may wish to create a separate page for school visits.
On a final note, I have a background in web design and writing for the web. If you have any questions about websites that I haven’t answered in this post please comment below. Thanks Donna for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful series!
Rena J. Traxel can be found tapping away on her glowing scheming machine. She writes for kids and teens and occasionally for adults. She loves math and solving problems about as much as she loves her pets!
You can connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/renatraxel/ or on Twitter at @renatraxel.
For more writing tips and tricks check out Rena’s website at http://www.renatraxel.com