You are probably the most important element of your author website. As I have sad before your first goal should always be encouraging people to know you, like you and trust you. Notice the key word there is “You.” People need to be able to know you in order to advance to liking and trusting you and people can’t get to know you if you don’t give them the means.
5 ways to make your author website shake hands and be friendly:
1. It’s all about you
Your face and name should be a primary focus on your author website. Get a nice professional looking head shot of yourself, and make sure it’s big enough that people can see the smile on your face and the twinkle in your eyes. Keep the borders in the photo minimal–you want eyes drawn to your face not the white space above it. Even if you are using a pen name try to work up the courage to put a photo of yourself out there. If you keep your name and personal details private nobody will be able to track you down with just a photograph.
Put your name out there. Using your name as your domain name is often repeated advice amongst artists of any kind. Registering the domain www.yourname.com is a good thing to do, though not always necessary. You do at least need some kind of domain other that www.somefreewebsiteplace.com/yourname. The most important place to put your name though is within the body of your page–posts, page titles, links, by lines and credits. If you have a blog make sure that the name after your posts is your name not “admin.”
2. Always leave them wanting more.
Think mini-bio for your about page. You don’t want to be too long winded here. The about page should just be a few brief highlights about you. If you force people to read a long essay or not know you at all, they might choose not to get to know you.
Make a video featuring you. If you would rather not make a video with your face on camera at the very least have your voice. It should be natural, easy going and friendly. With a video you add that personal touch–you become more than just a static web page. With a video you become a living breathing person. Your video can be just you saying hello or it can be you providing some useful information or reading from something you have written. And don’t stop with one video–the more the better!
4. Always have the last word.
Reply to every e-mail and comment you get. Never let one go unanswered even if your answer is only a smiley face. Not only reply to them but encourage them. With every page, post or comment you should be seen as inviting the reader to not just read but to engage you socially. Ask questions, ask for input, ask for common experiences to be shared. Always try to make yourself seem more accessible. Even people who never write you a comment or an email will be more loyal to you for it.
5. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs
Leave lots of little tidbits for people to find: More info about yourself and your writing, things you feel like sharing, links to favorite sites and all your social media pages. Give people a reason to explore and a reason to come back. If they can’t find everything on your website at a single glance that is actually a good thing. What you want them to see at a single glance is that there is depth to your website that they want to take more time to discover than a quick once over.