BOOKS
10/02/2013 08:36 am ET

Helpful Tips For Your Author Website

Getty

From Writer's Relief staff:

The homepage of your author website is the first impression your audience will have of you, so why not make it a great one? Your options for your homepage design are vast, but having strong and inviting homepage text can sometimes be enough to keep readers browsing your site.

One strategy we’ve found to be effective in keeping your audience interested is to write a letter for your homepage. Simply put, your Dear Visitor letter can be a blurb that talks about your writing and yourself as a writer—essentially, a welcome letter. Think about what you want to know about an author when you visit his/her website, and then answer some of those questions about yourself.

What To Ask Yourself Before Writing Your Dear Visitor Letter
What are some of your interests aside from writing? Is there anything new and exciting going on in your life right now? Do you have an email list or any social media platforms where your readers can follow you? What are some of the themes of your work? Do you ever host contests or giveaways as incentives for your readership? Do you have a link to your most recent publication? What do you see for yourself in the future? What are you currently penning?

Assembling Your Dear Visitor Letter
After you’ve answered some or all of those questions, it’s time to put the letter together. Of course, there’s a format for that! As always, you’ll want to begin with a salutation (a “Dear Visitor” would be fitting!).

Then, you’ll want to welcome your readers to kick off their shoes and stick around awhile, in your own unique way. Next, include the answers to the questions above. In your last paragraphs, you’ll want to lead your readers in a specific direction (ask them to visit another part of the site, sign up for your mailing list, follow you on Twitter, etc.).

And, finally, your signature! You can choose to type your name or use a graphic image of your signature (be careful using your full name—identity theft is a huge problem these days!). You should save the image file with your name as the file name (for example, John_Smith.jpg) with the alternate text and description including your name as well. This will ensure that Google will associate the image with your name.

We all know there’s nothing worse than a bunch of typos on a writer’s website, so be sure to have your Dear Visitor letter looked over by a professional proofreader before you post it to your homepage. Better safe than sorry!

For more from Writer's Relief, click here!

Subscribe to the Culture Shift email.
Get your weekly dose of books, film and culture.

CONVERSATIONS