Tips for Websites for Writers

Since one of the things we focus on at Dabbled Studios is websites for creatives, today we’re going to talk about websites for writers.  A writer (particularly an aspiring to be published writer) needs to present his or her best face to the world.  A good, professional website is key to this.

Style:

  • Research:  Take a look at other authors, particularly successful ones.  Note what you like, and what you don’t.  See how easy it is to bookmark a page within their site, or find their contact information.  Do they seem to connect with their readers?  Do they blog?  Get a good idea of what you would like to see on your site.
  • Think about style.  If you are published, the cover art from your most recent book can be a great cue to use for the design style of your website.  The marketing department has all ready done half your work for you, and you can use that as a starting point for the look and feel of your site.  If you’re not published yet, you’ll want to try to figure out a way to distill the feeling from your most recent work into your website.  Think about your target market – a website targeted at teenage girls is going to look very different from one targeting spy thriller fans.   If in doubt, keep it simple and professional.
  • Keep it simple.  Don’t overdo on the bells and whistles.  Just like your writing, everything you do on your website should be for a purpose. Use white space effectively.
  • Avoid music.  You’re not a band.  Remember people may be reading your website at their desk at work, and having to struggle to find the mute button is not a good first impression

Content:

  • Minimal Categories:  Books/writings (include synopses / reviews of published or future novels), Bio, Contact (email + social networking), a blog or ‘news’ page.  Others: Articles/Essays, Media, Purchase
  • Keep it focused – your website should be about you and your writing.  If you write about a particular subject, then your website can focus on that as well.  And it should go without saying, but unless it’s relevant to your writing, avoid the big 3: sex, politics, and religion!
  • Show your best stuff.   Any samples of your work on your website should be good, representative samples of your work.  If you wouldn’t want a prospective publisher to be looking at it, it shouldn’t be on your website.
  • Although I’m not an expert in publishing, most of what I’ve read recommends you not include unpublished works that you are trying to sell, like a chapter from your new novel.

Resources:

Here are a couple of good articles:  what needs to be on your website… and what doesn’t!

And other resources:

Related:

Coming up…

  • What the heck do I do with Twitter?