I think it’s rather fitting that when you first create a website, the default message is “Hello, World!”

I’ve had a website since 2012. It started out very basic with just a list of my books and my bio. It’s slowly grown since then. First with blogging (started in 2016), then with my business, Anessa Books, and slowly I added more and more pages. At the same time that I began blogging, I got my website professionally designed. I thought a few weeks ago that maybe it was time to get it redone.

The problem was, I had so many pages! The designer I worked with to create the Annessa Ink Publishers website (Nate Hoffelder-he’s great and specializes in author websites) charges per page. I decided to do it myself with Divi (which Nate introduced me to and I now love).

The begin the process of redesigning my website, I wanted more than just the same thing in an updated design. I knew I needed to figure out exactly what I needed and what I didn’t need—what would make the user experience easier, because the easier it is for readers and clients to navigate the site, the more likely they are to buy something.

I began with the basics:

  • My home page, where I knew I needed to tease readers into clicking further in to find out more about my books and my author business.
  • A Contact Me page which included not only a way to write to me, but also had all of my social media links (including Goodreads and Bookbub).
  • An About Me page which I just copied and pasted from my old site and really need to rewrite (it’s much too long and needs updating).

From there I began to look around and see what other authors in my genre had on their website. My biggest question was whether to include an individual page for every single book I’ve written (over 30, so that would be a really big task).

After looking around and talking with people, I decided that I would do a page for every book with an excerpt from the book, links to where it could be purchased and the book before and after it in the series (all of my books belong to a series).

Before the reader can get there, however, I send them first to a series page. There they can learn about each book in the series (a short description) and go to their online store of choice. It’s from there that they can move to the individual book pages. But one thing a number of people said was that they rarely read the excerpt on an author’s website, so I wanted to be sure that readers didn’t actually have to go any further than the series page unless they wanted to.

For my author services, I kept that pretty much the way it was with one landing page for authors to see all that Anessa Books offers, and then individual pages for each service except formatting, which is pretty obvious what it is. And I make it super-easy for people to see my prices because that’s what I always want to know first before I learn much more about a service provider (it annoys me to no end when they say “contact me for prices”; I don’t want the commitment).

I’ve still got a good number pages I need to create, but if you’d like to check out what I’ve done so far, and possibly get an idea of what you need to have on your author site, just click here.

So, authors, the answer is yes, you do need a website. Do not rely on readers finding you on Amazon or some other e-retailer. Make it easy. And if you want your website to rank high up on a Google search, be sure to update it often. Your website is your entry into the world.