Mar 21, 2011

7 Key Elements for a Writer's Website

Writers need to do so much more than write these days. We need to promote ourselves as well. There are many ways to build your platform (the medium that introduces you to your audience). I see many of you on Twitter and in blogs, I've been reluctant to introduce writing to my Facebook, but that's probably inevitable. For some time now, I've been working on my Website. I want it to represent my own style. I've managed to get a rough 'coming soon' page up and link it to my blog, but the rest is a slow and painful process. Here's some things to think about when designing your website:

1. Identify your audience. Are you an established author for children and want them to visit your site? Include downloadable graphics or games for them. If you are targeting readers you could include your first few chapters. If you are currently aiming at agents and publishers, make your site look professional and show of your writing skills.

2. Don't confuse your reader. They shouldn't have to strain their brain to work out what you do or what your site is for. Make it clear and simple.

3. Don't clutter the site with links heading in all directions - limit the links off each page, but one page could lead to another.

4. Let them back in. Make sure it's easy for your reader to navigate their way back to each page without having to hit 'backspace'. Every page should have a link back to the homepage.

5. Keep it consistent. My good friend Rhonda is a media whiz and pointed this out to me when I was designing my site. Keep your buttons in the same position on each page and make sure the theme you use carries through all the pages so it doesn't make the reader think they have wandered onto another site.

6. Acknowledge contributers. If someone has designed your site template, or helped you with yours, the polite thing to do is to mention them at the bottom of the page with a link. This is good if other writers see your blog and want to use the same graphic designer for theirs - share the resources :)

7. Content, content, content. Don't waffle on, just provide the important information and services. Think about what your reader needs and how you could provide that. Share resourcs and links, maybe provide a page for teachers as a resource for using your books in teh classroom.

Another thing to include there would be become best friends with a graphic design wiz that can help you with the perils of FTP folders and splicing and broken links and, and, and...


  1. Had to add - I've had 10,000 visitors in the last year whoo hoo!

  2. i think you're right, it's stuff we all have to get familiar with, but oh Charmaine, the effort it takes, so much effort...

  3. Good advice! I've bookmarked this to help me if I ever get to that point! :)

    Congrats on the 10k that's awesome!

  4. This is a great article. I've only had the courage to blog and FB is for friends and family. Good luck, I'll be watching and learning from you.

  5. mooderino - I hear you - you'd think there'd be special people to do that for us, and clean the bathtub, I hate that job.

    Jemi - thanks, the 10k makes me realise what a small world we live in.

    Cath - you're more than welcome to watch me, I only occasionally do things that are humiliating, foolish or repulsive (usually it's all three at once).


  6. I think all those points are so important for a website. I can't wait until yours is done!

  7. Wow! I love the new header. Great advice here--maybe one day I'll find the energy to follow it! :-)

  8. Clarissa - Thanks, I learn so much from your blog :)

    Shannon - Take the BFF Graphic Designer route - it would be a lot easier! PS Glad to see you back in blogland :-)

  9. Your blog is great. Thanks for all the tips. It is a lot to think about, having a creative team seems to be the key.