We live in an interconnected age. A time when many people know more about the daily doings of the Kardashian family than they do about the elderly man who lives next door. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this strange new world, as writers, we cannot ignore it and if we want even a modicum of success, we have to positively embrace it. Your own author website should be the cornerstone of your online presence, the place where you send anybody who wants to know about your writing. Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads and similar are all essential adjuncts but they each, in their own way, limit or control the way you portray yourself and your writing. The only place where you can have full editorial control over your public image is your own author website.
The internet works on links and the more links which point to your books, the more your book is going to feature in search results. So the key to a good internet presence is to spread the word far and wide, ensuring your Amazon page links to your own website which links to Facebook, Goodreads, book bloggers, press releases, bookshop links, local news items and so on.
Your website should be very clean and simple and probably no more than four or five pages unless you already have several books out there. It needs to give a brief author biography, details about your book and a page which you update regularly, plotting your writing progress. There should be a contact page and options for people to interact with you through the main social media sites.
Try to keep your site in line with your expected readership. Who is your typical reader? If you are aiming at readers of cosy murders then don’t fill your website with flashy animations which tend to put off anybody over the age of thirty!
As you will want your website found, it is vital that you ensure that your site is designed to be a friendly place to the little bots from the search engine companies as they tirelessly crawl around the internet cataloguing and scoring everything they find. These little spiders are the key to making a website visible and they need to be fed with the correct data when they come looking. If you are unsure how to go about that, then that is one place where professional help is invaluable as doing it badly will seriously damage the visibility of your website.
Beyond those basics, just have fun with it. Your author website is your shop window for the world and it is here where you can really let your creativity run free.