Even before I became a published writer, I knew I needed a writer’s website. So I set out and learned how to build one. I used Homestead (which should tell you how long ago this was) and I taught myself HTML and frames. It was blue and full of text and ugly as sin (I wish I still had a screenshot of it, to be honest), but it was mine and I was very proud of it.
I rebuilt my site with wordpress a few years ago (you can still see it here). Before I started that site, I did a ton of research on writer’s websites to figure out what I should include and I did a lot of thinking about my writer’s brand. The site I ended up with was golden with hints of red, and focused on my erotica, which I was writing a lot of at the time.
As my career continued to grow into other areas, the site grew with me. But at some point, I began struggling to include and showcase all of the elements of my writing. My writer’s brand was changing, and I knew that I needed a different color scheme, and a different way of organizing the many aspects of my writing career.
Over the years, there have been a lot of people who recommended that I choose one genre or another to showcase, or that I start using different names and/or different websites for different parts of my career, but that has never seemed true to who I am. I am a writer with a variety of skills and interests, and I believe my readers are smart enough to figure that out. I also figure they’re smart enough to choose the genres that they’re interested in and ignore the rest.
The new site I chose to build moves my web presence in a few new directions (I hope) and better illustrates what I’m doing as a writer (I hope). Here are some of the thought processes that went into making the site the way I did:
- I chose the red and black color scheme because I wanted my brand to be classy and elegant, while still feeling imbued with passion, luxury and sensuality.
- I needed a way to showcase the wide range of writing projects, so I opted for a design that would make it easy for visitors to choose the genre that they were most interested in.
- Now that I have a number of books available, I also wanted to make sure readers could easily find my books and purchase them online if they desired.
- Last year, I stopped taking on new freelance clients (because my schedule was full) and I stopped teaching (ditto), so I wanted to remove those elements of my site, at least temporarily. I can always bring them back if I choose to go that route again.
- Lastly, I wanted to create a blog that was better organized, and that followed the plan of the website more closely.
The site still needs some tweaking here and there, and I’ll be adding a few last bits to it as I go forward, but I feel very good about it. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s important to me to have an online presence that is both professional and personal, that provides information, inspiration and personality.
If you’re thinking about building a site of your own, here are some things to you might want to include:
- Author Bio & Photo
- Contact Info
- Press Kit
- Samples of Your Work
- A List of Available Work
- Links to Your Books
- A Blog or Behind-the-Scenes Element
- Social Media Links
- Anything Else That is Unique to You
I am sad to say that it seems many writers don’t take the time (or pay the money) to make beautiful, easy-to-use websites that beautifully exemplify their brand. However, there are a few who really get it. I’m a huge fan of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker site, because it’s both beautiful and user-friendly. Gillian Flynn does a nice job with her site; she makes it easy to find and purchase her books and the layout gives us a good feel for what she writes. Some other author sites to look at are Rick Riordan, Peter Carey, and Rachel King.
As I mentioned, I am really happy with how this site turned out, but if there’s anything else you’d like to see (or if you find a broken link somewhere), please don’t hesitate to let me know. This site is for you, and that means I value your opinion about it very much.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, s.