Author Websites: What Pages?
Updated: a day ago
Alright. So, now that we've looked at the options for which platform you can create a website on and which one you should use, I'm going to talk about what should be on that website. This is otherwise known as what pages to have.
Read the full Author Website Series:
Any website should have a few main pages, so I'll cover those first. Then I'll briefly talk about some other optional pages that can really personalize your website and brand.
Every website should have (at the very bare minimum) a home/landing page, and about page.
A home page or landing page is the page visitors will see first. This should be a brief overview of your website. Anything you want your visitors to know about you right off the bat should be placed on this page.
It should tell them:
1. Who you are (in brief)
2. What you do (in brief)
3. What you can offer them (in brief)
4. What steps they should take in order to take you up on your offer (make this as clear as possible)
It should be extremely clear to anyone who arrives at your website by choice or by chance who you are, what you're offering, and why they should choose you.
This is your digital first impression, so it should look phenomenal. (More on design later.) Keep in mind, you probably have about five seconds to get someone's attention before they decide they didn't find what they were looking for and go to a different site, so you want to be as up front as possible so they're convinced almost immediately that you're the right person to help them.
On this page, everything should be a teaser. Give them enough information to keep them there, but only enough information to make them click to the next page where they can find more details.
It's nice to include a picture of yourself or your logo, a short catchphrase or tagline that communicates immediately who you are, and an easy to navigate and find menu. The easier it is for people to find what they're looking for, the more likely they are to stay on your site.
The other necessary page is an about page. If you're trying to convince someone to trust you, it's good to give them a little information about yourself. And trust is what everything is dependent on these days. Whether you're offering a service, selling a product, or even just trying to be known online, this page is where you are allowed to (and sort of expected to) brag about your accomplishments, talk about your interests, give a brief bio, and present yourself as a personable individual.
Some things you can talk about on your about page include:
1. How you got into your profession
2. What you do on a daily basis
3. What you do in your free time
4. Why you're passionate about what you're doing
5. Experiences you've had that give you credibility
Remember, you're building trust. You've made it past the first impression, but now you're in the convincing stage. The visitor has agreed to hear you out, so now you get to convince them of your qualifications and abilities.
With these two pages, you have enough to get started. If you want to stop there, great! You'll have an online presence that presents you as a credible person. That is step one.
Step two is to personalize this even more. You can do this by adding any number of other pages. (For examples, feel free to browse through the pages on my site that make my site different than other sites out there.)
Some other options for you are:
1. A blog - This option is suggested if you're trying to build a following, share expertise, present yourself as an expert in a field, or entertain people. Blogs are extremely open in terms of what you blog about, how often you blog, and the format of the blog. The only thing you really need to do is be consistent in whatever you choose to do.
2. Gallery - If you're an artist of any type (video, poetry, images, photography) having a gallery page can be a great way to showcase your work. (See my gallery of Blackout Poetry as an example.) As you create, your work can be showcased there and it's another good way to gain exposure for your talents and abilities. This is also a good way to build a fan base, as people will have the opportunity to fall in love with your work.
3. Services - If, like me, you intend on offering services for payment to potential customers, a services page is a great page to have. You can concisely state (in as much clarity as possible) what you offer and for what price. (See my Services page as an example.) This creates the potential to turn visitors into customers.
4. FAQs - If you find yourself in a position where you're answering the same questions over and over, or you feel you may get the same questions over and over, and you'd like to only answer the question once, this is a great way to do that. Most people are familiar with a Frequently Asked Questions page and will naturally look there if they have a question. This saves both you and the customer time.
5. Connect - Having many ways to connect with visitors is a good thing, but having a clear place where they can go to send you a note, a question, or request a service is even better. The more clarity you can provide, the better. This could be combined with the About page above, or it could showcase your social media presence.
6. Portfolio - If you've been published, won awards, or have other achievements you'd like to showcase, a portfolio page is a good way to do that. I use mine as an electronic version of a print portfolio as it gives more credibility to my claim to be a writer. I can point people to places where my writing appears online, and that creates credibility behind my statements. It also gives potential customers a chance to fall in love with my products.
7. Merch/Products - If you want to sell something on your site, you'll need a place people can go to buy your merchandise or products. Whatever you do, keep clarity in mind.
As you can see, there are many ways to personalize your site and create options for your visitors. If you think I missed anything, please leave a comment so others can continue to learn.
Until next time,
I'll see you then. ;)
J. J. Hanna is a Professional Writing major at Taylor University. In her spare time she creates YouTube Videos and Comics, and practices Karate at a local dojo. If you have a writing question, she'd love to hear from you! She is also looking for freelancing work, so if you have editing, beta reading, writing needs, a conference speaker, or would simply like to chat in a consultation, please let her know. Like what you see and want to get more content like this, or have your specific questions answered? Check out how you can support her on Patreon for as little as $3 a month.