How to Build an Author Website to Gain Readers, Maximize Online Presence

Webflow Design & Development
Team Slam
Helping you win online

In the dynamic landscape of—wait, don’t go! We know you’ve seen that phrase about a million times if you’ve prompted ChatGPT to write just about anything. And, in the increasingly—we’ll say it—undynamic landscape of online writing, where everything is sounding a bit more artificial, to stand out from the AI you need to showcase your incomparable writing abilities. How? You need to build an author website.

Because, let’s face the realities: despite our little knock on ChatGPT a second ago, AI is getting pretty damn good at emulating legit authors. Hell, it’s already winning literary prizes in China! So, it isn’t really enough just to build an author website; you need to build one that looks good, sounds great, and runs even better. Don’t worry, we gotchu. 

At Slam Media Lab, we have years of experience building websites our clients love—whether they’re authors, nonprofits, or Fortune 500 companies! We tackle every project with the same drive no matter what, moving fast and having fun along the way. Our expert services cover: 

Have a minute to chat? Contact us today, and let’s get to building an author website we know you’ll love.

Want to read more? You’re an author, of course you do! Join us as we cover: 

  1. What types of authors should build an author website
  2. Our step-by-step process for building an author website
  3. What Slam has done for other author website builds
  4. What else Slam offers for your personal website needs

Let’s get rolling! 

What Types of Authors Benefit From Building an Author Website?

The easy answer for which authors benefit from an author website is: all of them. Authors starting out can get that extra boost from increased online visibility, established authors can have fun with direct engagement with their readers, and retired authors can keep their estate alive and thriving for the next generation of avid bibliophiles.

Still, certain authors can benefit in unique ways from a personal website. These authors include: 

  • Published authors
  • Self-published authors
  • Genre writers
  • Author-entrepreneurs 

Let's explore the ways in which these authors can and do gain an advantage with an author website.

Ready to build your personal website? See how we make it simple! 

Published Authors Can Make the Most of Their Author Website

Paging through the lists of best author websites, certain themes become apparent: genre writers, especially sci-fi/fantasy and young adult, novice writers aiming to attract a major publishing house, self-published authors with impressive back catalogs still seeking that breakthrough hit. 

And we get it; world-renowned, New York Times bestselling authors don’t need to pull out all the stops in their website to gain readers. Their websites are bare-bones, straight-to-the-point housekeeping. And yet, published authors can benefit in much the same way aspiring authors are through their personal sites.

Stephen King may not have the most exciting author website on the web, but his team has put it to good use, providing exclusive short stories, novellas, and audiobooks directly to his fans, while experimenting with new publishing methods as seen in the serialized, paywalled release of his fiction, “The Plant.”

Other published authors have used their personal websites to share unpublished sequels, provide exclusive content, and keep in touch with their faithful followers. 

Author Websites Can Catapult Self-published Authors to the Bestseller List

One of the greatest tools provided by online forums, crowdfunding sites, and open platforms is the ability to share your writing without shelling out thousands for agent fees, publishing costs, or upfront printing. While the full backing of Random House or Pan Macmillan is most every author’s dream, self-published authors have harnessed their online presence, loyal following, and creative drive to establish themselves as major figures in the literary world. 

And, while you may dismiss self-publishing as little more than hobby writing, we have a few success stories that might convince you to start wireframing your new site today: 

  1.  Hugh Howey takes matters into his own hands: Howey started small, publishing his now bestselling novel, Wool, as a short story under the same name. Seeking more freedom, Howey transitioned his writing to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, releasing the next installments of Wool through this self-publishing variant. Today, Howey’s works have expanded to include multiple series, young adult fiction, nonfiction, and television and film adaptations. 
  2. Rupi Kaur turns “Instagram poetry” into a career: Many know Kaur now from her wild success in poetry, but less are aware of her start. Building a devoted following on Instagram, Kaur vaulted to international recognition when her self-published poetry collection, “milk and honey,” became an instant hit. Today, her site features everything you would want from a great author website, including easy navigation, eye-catching images and animations, and design that evokes a poet’s sensibilities. 
  3. E.L. James makes millions from her online fanfiction: Starting as a fan of another international smash, Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series, E.L. James launched her own highly successful writing career with popular online fanfiction under the title Fifty Shades of Grey. Once her self-published erotica started to take off, publishers came calling, and the rest is record-profit history.
  4. Beatrix Potter paves the way for self-publishing: This one falls well outside the history of author websites. Hell, it predates the invention of the airplane, let alone high-speed internet. Still, Potter saw the potential for self-publication in an era that didn’t treat women authors fairly, selling her tale of a small rabbit to anyone that was interested. 45 million copies later, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a staple of self-published success stories.
Poet and author Rupi Kaur holds a copy of her book, Healing Through Words, in front of her face, next to a text block detailing her latest release.
Rupi Kaur's author website is more than self-promotion; it's a sensory experience. Image Source

Genre Writers Can Set Themselves Apart With a Great Author Website

We aren’t here to knock genre writing. We love a steely-eyed detective novel á la Dashiell Hammett, or some heady sci-fi from Ursula K. le Guin. But, let’s be real for a second, it’s called genre fiction for a reason: it all fits cleanly into set expectations. 

How do you stand out from the crowded panel of other genre writers, then? 

Let’s take a look at a few author websites that can answer that question for you: 

  • John Clarkson: A blacked-out, bold landing page, broken up by the shock of colors from the author’s novels—we’re in crime thriller territory. 
  • Leigh Bardugo: The sweeping font, scaly background, and extensive menu inform us right from the start that Bardugo is inviting us into her fantasy adventures, and plenty of them (also, “Reading Order” option? Brilliant).
  • Helen Hoang: Hoang’s author website tagline, “Saying it with a love story,” gives up the ghost pretty quick, but the site’s layout, teal and eggshell color scheme, and playful cover designs make sure you feel the romance. 
  • LJ Ross: Is it just us or does British mystery have its own unique aesthetic? Either way, Ross taps into it here with her website, inviting you to scroll between her mystery series while keeping you in suspense (😉) for her upcoming works.

Each of these authors are huge successes in their own right, selling millions of copies and setting themselves apart in wildly popular genres. Would they have achieved this success without their personal websites? Very likely; they’re great at what they do. Still, each one recognizes the importance of a quality author website, and uses it to their advantage to stand out from the genre crowd.

Discover even more products and resources to make sure your existing author website is at its best! 

Author-entrepreneurs Parlay Online Presence With Successful Ventures

Since the earliest written word, literature has been considered an art form. Shakespeare, Dickinson, Dr. Seuss—we were always taught that these titans of Letters carried on a historic tradition. Still, more and more authors and readers are accepting a new use for writing: entrepreneurship.

For shame, right? Writing is an esteemed pursuit, ranking in the echelon of great artwork and architecture. But, we’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: writing has always been part-business (same as art and architecture). Author-entrepreneurs are just spotlighting the business part a bit more, applying their authorial abilities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Our favorite author-entrepreneur website? That’d be the endlessly impressive, multi-hyphenate Brené Brown. 

Books, podcasts, hubs, TED talks, HBO Max specials, posters and merch—Brown’s site is less a feature of her work than it is an extension of it. 

And more authors are venturing into entrepreneurship, turning their own personal sites into one-stop catch-alls for speaking engagements, podcasts, appearances, and side hustles (or main hustles, if we’re treating writing as the side hustle). Because, in what can likely be considered the first form of the attention economy, writing can become a career or it can help build a career, if you just know how to use it. 

Slam’s Step-by-step Process for How to Build an Author Website

You’re an author. You need to build an author website that is gonna show off your bibliography and appeal to your readership, while reaching millions more new fans. How do you do this, and fast? We’ve got steps: 

  1. Slam kicks things off with the technical stuff (we’ll get into it) 
  2. You share your vision and branding for your site
  3. Get all your copy ready to go live on site (we know you’ve got this covered)
  4. We give you a sneak peek into your soon-to-be-published site
  5. We build your site
  6. (A few short weeks later) Launch Day! 
  7. We get even more technical, with tracking data and Google Search Console (we’ll get into this, too)
  8. We put the tools in your hands, and you start racking up the bestsellers

A good amount of info for you, we know. Let’s break it down, and really explore what goes into building your best author website.

Building an Author Website, Step 1: Project Kick Off

Like we said, we move fast. Once you tap Slam to build your website, we start building. What does that entail? 

  1. Site goal: We know the primary goal of any author website—get more readers—but what is your goal? Your writing abilities stand out from the noise; your site’s purpose should, too.
  2. Sitemap: This is a fancy way of saying the pages of your website and how they connect. Want a blog to share your latest news and stories? We can design that. Looking to snag some emails to keep your fans up-to-date? We got your forms collection right here.
  3. Add-ons: Ever visit an author website that is selling books right there on the site—no Amazon links or B&N pages—and thought, “Damn, I want my site to do that”? Our ecommerce add-on (just one of the many convenient add-ons we offer), can make your vision come to life.  

Step 1 complete, and your site is underway!

Building an Author Website, Step 2: Vision and Branding

Here’s where your goal for your author website starts to come alive. Our handy Brand Discovery doc outlines everything you need before we design a single wireframe. 

Want visitors to get an eerie sense of the uncanny, like horror maestro Peter Straub’s site? Or, maybe you want to put your new readers in that beach read mindset, like Emily Henry. We make sure your website matches your brand from Home Page to Buy Now.

Building an Author Website, Step 3: Site Copy

We know, we know; you’re an author, why would you need someone to write copy for your website? And, if you’ve got your copy all ready to go, we can design to make it the main attraction. 

But, say you’re 500 pages into writing a series to rival the Mistborn Saga. Do you want to put a pause on it to hammer out some H2s and H3s for your website, or would you rather leave that in the hands of professionals? No wrong answers. All we know is that, when it comes to behemoth novels or quick-hitter web copy, we’ll opt for the latter and gladly read the former. 

Looking for a surefire way to keep your writing on track? Download our Notion Content Creation Calendar today! 

Building an Author Website, Step 4: Sneak Peek

What’s the best thing about reading a 600-page prequel to a sprawling fantasy series? The world-building, the character arcs, the action? Sure, all those are the reasons to read, but we gotta say something for that sneak peek at the end of the book, giving fans the first chapter or two of the upcoming installment. How great are those? 

We do the same here at Slam, giving you an early look of your author website, showcasing the layout, design, integrations, and branding of your soon-to-be-published site. Our tool of choice, Figma, provides clean, high-fi mockups of your landing pages, giving a clear-cut direction for the site, as well as a ton of customization and resources to make sure the site we’re launching is one we can all be excited for. 

Plus, it’s your chance to give feedback, add some personal touches, and get fired up for your new site. 

Building an Author Website, Step 5: Site Build

This is where you get to kick back and relax. Our designers take all the files you reviewed in Figma and start building your website on our other go-to software, Webflow. 

What does our dev process look like? Before going live, we make sure your site is: 

  1. Responsive: Most users are gonna find your site on their phones, so we make sure it looks good on smartphones, tablets, laptops, Zunes (okay, maybe not Zunes)—any device someone will use to download your ebooks.
  2. Optimized: Technical SEO, general SEO, local SEO—these are all terms worth knowing, but we take care of them for you. SparkNotes edition: we make sure your site runs fast, and, if someone is searching for your books, genre, style, etc., we ensure Google points them in the right direction.
  3. ADA-Compliant: You aren’t looking to add a few more readers; you want as many new readers as possible. We make sure no one is left off the list by adding alt text to all images and animations, ensuring closed captions on all videos, and crafting an easily navigable site for anyone. 
Can’t wait to get started? Meet with one of our Webflow experts now, and let’s get building! 

Building an Author Website, Step 6: Launch

Time to pop the sparkling cider (if it’s still dry January, that is)! And, while hitting that ‘Publish’ button on Webflow is the most satisfying part of the design and development phase, it isn’t the only step. 

Before launch, we provide a staging link to give any last minute feedback to really guarantee your site meets everyone’s expectations. We may move fast, but we’re also thorough as hell. Then, we walk you through what it means to host and master your own domain (Seinfeld references? In 2024? Anyone?), while troubleshooting any blocks along the way. 

Building an Author Website, Step 7: Let’s Get Technical 

Now that the fun part is done and the hard work has paid off, we need to get a bit technical. This includes: 

  1. Setting up Google Search Console: Want Google to know your stunning new site is live and ready to go? You need Google Search Console. Make sure searchers are finding every page of your site, as well as index new ones, check site speed, explore data around your site traffic, and discover and resolve any issues that might pop up. 
  2. Adding Google Analytics: Know where, when, and how people are searching for and using your site, diving into the traffic–on web and mobile—AI-predictive metrics, irregularities, and more, to get the absolute most out of your site.
  3. Local SEO: Every site we build is optimized for search, but maybe you want to corner the market for romance novelists in New England (hot market). We ensure your site is optimized for your area—setting up the necessary accounts like Google Business Profile, Yelp, social media, and more—launching you to local celebrity status in no time.

And there you have it. Your author website is built, launched, and ready to maximize your readership (and snag you a couple Booker nominations in the process). 

Are we forgetting anything? Ah, yes, the step to make sure you don’t forget anything! 

Building an Author Website, Step 8: Documentation

We boast a quick brand discovery process, fast design and development, and a launch day to be celebrated. We’re also here for you if you’re interested in long-term management, with our content team able to write and publish content, and our design team crafting new pages and integrations if you need them.

But, even if you’re looking for a quick launch and the freedom to run your site your way, we’ve got you covered. 

Once your site is launched, optimized, and ready for visitors, we provide all the documentation—from website checklists to Loom walkthroughs to all the reference material you could ask for—to keep your author website running as smoothly as the day it was launched.

Still need a little more convincing? We don’t mind. Let’s take a look at one of our author website case studies real quick. 

Get Started Building Your Author Website With Slam Today

Award-winning author Caterina Edwards and her team wanted to connect with fans on a more personal level, highlight upcoming events, and make it easier for readers to purchase her work through the site. Slam delivered.

We matched Edwards’ vision to her site, optimized for search, and ensured her multilingual website was accessible for all visitors. We also added metadata to maximize SEO, designed an image-heavy site without losing any of the site speed, and provided her team with the training to keep the site running smoothly. 

Plus, everyone loved the finished product! Hear it from her team: 

“After hearing so many great reviews about Silvia and Kyle, we were on board! We were impressed with Slam's track record of delivering high-quality website design and development services, and their expertise in low-code development on Webflow and SEO made them a perfect fit for our project. The deciding factors were around quality of work, timeline, and pricing. Their pricing was competitive, and they were willing to work within our timeline and budget constraints!” -Patrick Starzan, CMO of XQ

So, you ready? Reach out to Slam today, and let us do all the heavy lifting of building your author website, so you can focus on writing your next bestseller! Contact us today, and let’s Slam your new site together.

Coming Soon!

Services from Slam

Webflow Design & Development

Want a site that’s fast, beautiful, and scalable, and drives new business? We gotchu. We’ll bring your idea from zero to live in weeks, not months.

Programmatic Webflow Pages
Website Migration
Landing Page Design & Development
Responsive Website Design
No-Code Platform and Systems Building
Webflow Design & Development
New from Slam


Want to Slam Dunk Online?

Whether it's boosting your online presence for readers, editors, or publishers, we've got you covered.

What are you interested in learning more about?
Thanks for getting in touch! 🙏

Our team will be in touch ASAP to schedule a call. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact our team at
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.