September 2017

Customizing Your Author Website | Deep River Books

This is the last in a three-part series on creating an author website. The first explained why you need an author website. The second, “Creating an Author Website: The Stress-Free First Steps,” gave tips on choosing a domain name, choosing hosting, and other important first decisions that could overwhelm the uninitiated. In this article, we finally reach the fun part: customization! This is the stage where your website comes to life. We’ll share some of the details, then include examples from some of our authors’ best websites to help you get going.

If you hired a web designer, keep the following details in mind as you discuss plans for the site. If you’re using a web builder, such as WordPress or Squarespace, it should walk you through how to choose templates and create pages. Their help pages (and Google) should provide other guidance if needed. The tips below will simply help you know what your website needs to be effective.

Pages that Every Author Website Needs

These are the pages that should be listed in the menu. They include easy-to-find answers to all the basic questions your website’s visitors may have.

A Home Page

This is the obvious one. But your take on it might vary. If you blog regularly (say, every week or two), your blog might be the home page. Easy! If you don’t blog as regularly‚ or don’t blog at all, you need to welcome your readers with something else. Here are some details you might consider including:

  • A short bio
  • Your latest book’s cover and short description
  • An endorsement or two

No matter what exactly is on your home page, the overall look should be clean, and information should be concise. This page is meant only to introduce who you are and what you do.

An About Page

Even if you have a bio on your home page, it’s good to have a separate page that gives more details. You might start by using the long bio we have on your book’s page here on the DRB website, or the shorter one on your back cover. Or you might start from scratch. Just make sure this page explains why you’re qualified to write on your topics (if you’re a non-fiction author) and shows your personality (have fun!).

A Books Page

Whether you have one book or ten, you need a page dedicated to your writings. How much you include depends on how many books you have. At the very least, you should include front covers and descriptions. If you have a good endorsement or editorial review to quote, this could be the right place for it. Make sure to include links that allow readers to buy your books—whether that’s directly from you or from online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Christian Book Distributors.

A Contact Page

This might just be a simple contact form. But you may also include your email address, mailing address, and links to social media accounts.

A Blog

A blog can serve multiple purposes:

  • Easily update your readers (and website) with news about your book. That might mean announcing an upcoming book signing, sharing about an award your book was nominated for, or linking to a great review.
  • Give an outlet for those anecdotes your editor said don’t quite fit in the book itself.
  • Provide more resources to your readers. If you wrote a book, chances are that you’re an expert on something, and your readers would love to hear more from you on that topic.
  • Improve your SEO. The more you update your blog, the more the search engines will like your website. You still want to focus on quality over quantity, but do remember that an active blog will win you search engine results—and thus readers.

If you want to start a blog—or want to make sure your blog is as effective as it can be—check out our resources. We link to a few great articles that will help you keep an effective, enjoyable blog.

Additional Pages to Consider

Events: If you have events planned, you need a page for them. Authors with new books, especially, need this page. It’s a good spot to list your launch events, book signings, or speaking engagements.

Media: This is where you link to articles, interviews, and anything else around the web that features you and your book.

Other Considerations

Once you’ve created the above pages, everything else should fall in place more easily. Here are other details to keep in mind while you’re customizing your website.


Keep things simple, readable, and easy to navigate. If you’re using a template on WordPress, Squarespace, or a similar web builder, this should be easy to achieve. Still, here are some good questions to ask:

  • Is the font a readable size and color?
  • Can visitors easily navigate your website using its menu? Are the pages clearly titled?
  • Is your website mobile friendly? (If you’re using a WordPress template, you should be able to find out if it has a responsive, mobile-friendly format before you choose it. Still, double-check this by looking up your site on your own devices.)

Social Media

At the very least, you need to link to your social media. You may choose to do this at the bottom or top of your website, in your contact page, or on the sidebar. You might also consider using a plugin that links your Facebook or Twitter feed to your website. If this is done right, when you update your social media, your website will be updated too.

And You’re Done! . . . Mostly

Once you have your website customized, you’re ready to go live. But don’t abandon your site! Even if you don’t blog, check on it regularly. Make sure all the links to social media and various webpages still work. Update your website when you write a new book or when you or your book are featured in the media. Remember: this website is the main place where readers will look for information about you and your work. You want it up to date and bug free!