Do you want to create an author website but it just feels too complicated? Maybe you don't know what it should include? Or maybe you just aren't sure what the point is for one?

Join Autumn and Jesper as they go over the essentials a modern author website needs as well as the soon-to-be completed redesign of Am Writing Fantasy's website!

Send us your questions for our 100th episode Q&A podcast at!

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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast in today's publishing landscape. You can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from Writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt Hello

Jesper (30s):
Hello? I'm Jesper.

Autumn (31s):
And I'm Autumn.

Jesper (34s):
This is episode 95 of The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. And we are going to talk about Author websites because we all have one and we'll all be available. Website templates out there from What press and the, like, it's never been easier to put your Author website together yet. What should you consider when you are developing your author website? And since we are working on both a redesign of the Am Writing Fantasy website, and we are building a new author website for our joint fiction, we just thought that we could record a podcast episode to share what consideration and choices we've made and why I am looking forward to this one.

Autumn (1m 17s):
Cause of course, as you know, and maybe the listeners we'll soon be learning, I'm a website designer or so this is, you know, kind of right up my alley. So what, you know, by forced learning and computer programming and software engineering have run in my family since my dad brought home a Texas instrument computer when I was in high school. So I've been into computers ever since. So I'm not an expert, but I do know my way around a little bit of coding. And otherwise I have people in my family I can pay for help.

Jesper (1m 49s):
And I promised to get the advice that we are going to give his, not to, that you have to go out and find your own version of Autumn to do with side to side before, you know, we are going to try to break this down into something that you don't even need a dictionary to go and look up. So we are going to work this out for him. Yeah. It feels like we haven't talked in ages, but really its only been, I guess in a way its been a little bit of a skip because I was away and then you were ill. And so we have like, it's been almost two days, two weeks since we've talked to other than that.

Jesper (2m 23s):
Yeah. Think so. Yeah. We, because I had to cancel one when I got sick and then a and then you, yeah, you had your vacation. So if India, I think it is how it's been two weeks. How it should range. We're not used to that's no good. And it wasn't as they were usually chatting while we were well, even during that time, we're totally over email or even when you were IL, I think he responded to me So and it wasn't covered. So knock on wood. That was a good, good thing. It's just a regular cold from what you said. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I could also mention, because on the last podcast episode I mentioned, or the last one we had to now I'm losing track, which one it would be.

Jesper (2m 58s):
But at least I remember recently I mentioned that we had ordered a Corona test four, our oldest son as well. And I thought I better just say, here are on there as well. That I, that it was negative. So what we did not have a and he is, he is feeling fine by now. Of course. And then I got sick here. So he, so he passed it onto me, but I know

Autumn (3m 19s):
<inaudible> you should have a quarantine and him in his bedroom, but no, no that's probably not good.

Jesper (3m 26s):
See yeah. With a PlayStation or something, he probably wouldn't even mind The problem. It's like you can't ground a kid unless you take away all the electronic devices. And in my case, it's like the old days that I was gonna say it, in my case, you couldn't ground me unless you took where every single book and the house or every single piece of paper. Cause I also liked drawling. So I was just difficult. Yeah. Yeah. But a how was your vacation?

Autumn (3m 55s):
Oh, that was good. It was a, I was joking even on Instagram that, Hey, I went to a little cabin in the North of Vermont and in the Wood's next too, a stream and yes, I'd live in a little cabin in Vermont, in the South of Vermont and in the woods thanks to the stream. But I get to see You family and it was a bigger cabin and it had a hot tub. So that was kind of fun. And that's too bad. Yeah, no, I'll get the hang out with family. We had some rainy days and I did get some Writing in, but I what do you feel? You start at a good vacation for me unless I get so I'm writing it. Cause it's just, I had admitted to my worst addiction.

Autumn (4m 28s):
If you told me I had to give up writing, I'd probably say life is not worth living. So its pretty dire for me. I just T and Writing and maybe chocolate and wine would be subsets of you. This is what makes life good and make the ice cream. So it was lovely thing. But now I'm packing through my smaller Cabot in the woods, but it was a beautiful if I can, you know, if anyone wants to, you know, hand me, it was something like that, I will I'll take. It was a gorgeous.

Jesper (4m 58s):
Yeah. And you, you just made your way back today just in time for recording a podcast episodes

Autumn (5m 3s):
And for the student Q and a, we just had, so that was so fun. Yes. You know, I guess I'm dedicated. I just, this is what I like to do.

Jesper (5m 12s):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's been well apart from being sick, it's been pretty busy on my end this well, because a yeah, the house sale is final. So that's good. So finally, to be able to say that a and we've been trying to find it, The place to rent, I guess I heard you set that. And so you looked at two apartments. We did it. So one of them is in the wrong city.

Jesper (5m 43s):
I guess you could say wrong. I mean, not the city where the kids go to school with, this is where we would like to move. It is in the central city though. Meaning that it's not like one of the, you probably don't know if even you can call the way we live today, a stopper, but we live in a small CD, like 15 kilometers way from the main hop. Here are the main hub city. So there are public transport from here to the place where the kids go to school is pretty bad. A but the apartment than the other Citi that we went there with just a bit like the main Citi in this area, the public transport is awesome from there.

Jesper (6m 21s):
So it actually only it's if it, if they take the Busch boss from there to the other city, were they go to school? Its only like 15 minutes on the bus, so its not bad at all. But then we also had an apartment this weekend. We went out looking at which it is in the city where they go to school. So it'd be like two or two minutes on a bike and you we'll be at a school that kind of quick a yeah. So that's like very, very close by. And the difference between the two places is that the, the one in the main city, it's like a completely new building.

Jesper (6m 56s):
It is a two minute walk from the beach. Everything is New it, of course, both of these apartments I had to say, of course they're a much smaller than the house we live in. So of course that, but they have both of them have that in common. So you have that on one hand, it is in the wrong city, so to speak, but it is new and it's right next to the beach. And on the other hand you have it's the stuff. It just in the right city write next to the school, But it, it, it is renovated, but its an old house. So its like, yeah, you know its a bit cold because the, the one in the main Citi, there's a, there's a heated floss in the entire department.

Jesper (7m 35s):
Right? The other one you probably need to put on some, a flip flops or something because they have what's called. So it's just night and day between the two in that sentence. Yeah. And also the one in which I really probably wanted the things I hate the most, to be honest or there's two things I hit the most about the one in the next to the school. There it is. Number one, your washing machine is in the basement. I hate that. So you have your own private one, but you have to basically go all the way down to the basement.

Jesper (8m 8s):
Every time you want to do laundry, it's like, no, I don't want to do that. No up and down the stairs they have all this. No, I don't wanna do that. Secondly, it is a bigger house. So they're is three apartments in house. Totally. So there's to other apartments, some other family's live in and then the one that we could possibly rent and a, there is a Gardener's will and it is the responsibility of all three families or all three rentals to take care of the garden.

Jesper (8m 41s):
So we have to take care of, of the garden together with the other ones. And you don't have any private life out there because everybody's, she has that garden. So it was like, if you want to sit down there, of course you can sit in the corner for yourself, but there will be other people in the summer right there. Right. It, you can't really, you, you just have to accept that you have like foster social interaction going on them and being introvert. That's not really the thing that I want to do. It's like, I don't want other people in Mica. So unless I invite them, just say, considering my ideal property, it's like a hundred acres with a house dead in the center and you can't see it and no one can reach you.

Jesper (9m 18s):
Yeah. So, and then of course the big differences is well that the house that is in the right Citi here next to the school is quite a lot cheaper than the one in the new site or in the main city because of costs because of the location four one, but also because of the one is in, in the new city and at a completely new building right now. So of course that it is quite more expensive.

Jesper (9m 48s):
Umm, but we had a, we've had a family meeting on Sunday and it was funny because my wife had this idea, let's make a list of pros and cons for each place. And it was like, it was so funny when we were done, she held up to two lists and it was like the one in the main city had a long list of pros and like a couple of bullet points, cons <inaudible> and the other one in which was right next to the school was exactly the opposite. Like a list of a long list of con's and a few pros.

Jesper (10m 19s):
It was like, Oh she was so like looking at this. I think the answer's quite a lot. Yes. But at least the end, the family's is an agreement. This was a good thing. You're not going to send like one kid and one spouse Deliv at one apartment. Oh no, no we we're pretty much aligned every day. All four of us at the, we prefer to the one in the, in the main cities. So we actually turn down on the other one and set step to the rental, a agency in the main CT that we would like to rent that one So waiting for the day and waiting for the rental contract to come through So but it should be OK.

Jesper (10m 53s):
At least they did confirm to me over the phone that they had received it for us. So I hope that that's true, but I feel much better one. So I see you a contract. I think that's very true. Yeah. So, but it should get sorted. I think so we can get moving. You ask.

Autumn (11m 10s):
Yay. Congratulations. It's exciting. It will be a lot of work, but change can be a good thing. So it would be wonderful.

Narrator (11m 19s):
A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast

Jesper (11m 24s):
OK. So we need some questions. People ask to us Please I certainly I mentioned a Episode 100 is going to be and ask us anything. Episode to have a question, don't have to be limited to publishing marketing or riding. They can be anything you could ask. What are our favorite song, his or color or character and a novel, anything you at work or she can ask us a burning about writing Or marketing or publishing or anything like that.

Jesper (11m 57s):
So we're open to it all. I guess if it's too personal, we, we reserve the right to skip it, but send an email. It'll be so much fun. And if not an email, we would love it. If you would send either an audio file or a video, we can strip the audio from so that we can have your voice on our podcast with us. And there will be just really let me just kind of ad that little extra something special. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you want to know where we grew up or when we first fell in love with the fantasy genre or, or whatever, that's gonna be fine, whatever you want to know, but it's going to be a bit more fun for you to listen to episode 100, if there's actually any questions on it.

Jesper (12m 43s):
So I wouldn't recommend you start posting your questions to us because episode 100 is not that far.

Autumn (12m 49s):
No, it's coming up so quickly. I can't believe we're we're on 95 already. Its, its it doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I guess according to my nephew, who's now in his thirties. It's yeah, it's been that long. I don't see how we've been doing this. Actually just had a, a little notice pop up that M it. We passed October 1st, which means Am Writing Fantasy are a little partnership has been going on I think three years now officially.

Jesper (13m 21s):
So that's awesome. Isn't it? It,

Autumn (13m 24s):
I think that's a fantastic, we should've had a, a little celebration, but it was on vacation. Sorry. So

Jesper (13m 30s):
Yeah. Yeah. Well it's never too late. If we could find an excuse to celebrate for a certain way.

Autumn (13m 36s):
Absolutely. Especially we will celebrate again and on episode 100 and hopefully it will be celebrating with a whole bunch of really fun questions.

Jesper (13m 44s):
Yeah. And we've added the link in the show notes from where you can post your questions. It'll take you two, a simple Google form and you can leave a written question if you want. Ah, but also as a Autumn said that we would really love an audio video file. So you can upload that too to that a Google form as well. I think I checked earlier today and I think you have to sign in via Google to get to the form. So feel free to email us as well. If, if you prefer, we don't really mind you, you can find a contact form on Am Writing

Autumn (14m 19s):
If you wanna email us, that's also fine. We just want the questions. So it doesn't matter how you sending them to us. And if you want to just write in a question, that's fine too. We'll just read it aloud are on, on the air.

Jesper (14m 31s):
Absolutely. And we look forward to hearing what your questions are and it'll be really fun to give you the answers. Yeah. So before we go, I do want to say we just had a somewhat on Patrion up there pledge.

Autumn (14m 47s):
So we want to say thank you, Christina. And you're going to have to help me with her last. I have a sense now nor to looking forward to looking forward to, for you to try to pronounce it. I think its Danish. So I am waiting for me to pronounce it now you're by doing this expert, but I am guessing a fro fro. Okay. Because I know that Jay and your Dame is more of a why, but the AEA I do not. I did not ask Google how to pronounce this for me.

Autumn (15m 17s):
So what is the pronunciation of Christina's last name? F-.

Jesper (15m 23s):
Yeah, f-.

Autumn (15m 24s):
Yeah. I wasn't too far off one, Christina. F- here. Thank you Christina. For Kim for your shopping, your pledge. Sorry that I'm horrible at Danish. I will work on that yesterday.

Jesper (15m 39s):
You need to train it. Maybe that will make them my goal for next year together to learn a little bit more Danish. You've taught me. Hi. Hi. Hi. That's not true. You should always start with an easy one. So when you're learning a new language yeah.

Narrator (16m 1s):
And on to today's topic

Jesper (16m 4s):
Before we get started here, I want to say that while the author of Website helps in building your Author brand and it is an important marketing tool, it can also quite easily become overwhelming when you try to figure out what the Website should contain. And we put quite some thinking into the redesign of Am Writing and the Website that were building for our joint fiction. Yet, please don't let any of what we're gonna say here today or overwhelm you, you know, and just listen to what we are about to say, I've been taking inspiration from it, then they ignore the rest.

Jesper (16m 41s):
And so I thought it just wanted to mention that all of them, that sounds really, really fair because yes, it can be easily overwhelming and its changed. It does change to.

Autumn (16m 51s):
So if it happens to be five years from now and you just found us, which was so sad, but no, he should have found us and it can change it. I've seen Website design change radically if some problems or things that were pretty generic to really complicated with tons of information to now getting into this more streamlined look where there's actually a lot less words in text and you get to know people maybe through their email, this so its changed again and goodness knows what it's going to change two in the future.

Autumn (17m 22s):
That's actually part of the reason we're doing a redesign is that what we have is currently really complicated and it has a lot of visuals in right now, a lot more white spaces, what sort have in common, you know what people like to see. But again, if you do the right Website, hopefully it will manage through these trends. I've redone my personal author website a couple of times, but not too many. And I really like the way it looks now. And I don't think I'm going to change it too much unless I change some kind of background theme to something a lot more SEO friendly or something like that.

Jesper (17m 58s):
And you, you have it on your website and I think you flipped it pretty solid. The Way it is presented over the years. Yeah. Well it it's pretty simple to be honest, I don't, I, I don't bother genes. Maybe I should say, I don't know, but its just you, I don't know. I don't have time for that, but yeah. I think also we should mention that depending on when you listen to this, the redesign of the Am Writing Fantasy website might not have gone live yet. So because I just wanna mention that because if you go onto Am Writing and you don't see a or you think they're, well, this is the same as before it might be because we haven't pushed the update get so just be aware of that.

Jesper (18m 40s):
If you're listening to what's the end of 2020 or later than yeah, it should be up to date a or it should be the new designer RADA. So just be mindful about debt. So we are talking about stuff here that we haven't, we have the entire plan of what we want to redesign, but we haven't actually done it yet. Just so

Autumn (19m 1s):
Yeah. That's what happens when you have lots of projects on the burner and you just kind of stack them and it's in the queue, it's in the hopper, but I've got to get to it again since, since web designed has sort of my thing and I don't know, I guess we could always hire it out, but its kind of my thing and it's the same reason I do my own book covers. No one else will pick, put up with my own persnickety Nez. So I own that. I'm good with it. I'll do it.

Jesper (19m 29s):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean it would be silly. It wasn't when we have a resource like U here and it would be silly to it to pay somebody else to do it. That's right.

Autumn (19m 37s):
All right. So let's get into what a website should have, especially an author website.

Jesper (19m 44s):
Yeah. So I tried in my prep here, two basically sort of divided it into the different pages we are looking at, implementing on the website and then explain a bit what they are and why we have them the way why we intend to have them the way we intend to have them. So we can go through that. But I think as well, just to mention first, maybe there isn't overall driver behind the redesign of the Am Writing Fantasy website and it is the overall driver is simplification.

Jesper (20m 19s):
The current version of Am Writing Fantasy I mean it has a lot of very, very good information on it, but it's not simple. And the there's a lot of menus. There's a lot of things you can click around to get to different places and all that stuff. But I think one of the things that it doesn't do very well is to communicate concisely, what problem we're trying to solve for other authors. You know, there's lots information on the website, but when we came up to the point where we started talking about redesigning, we started questioning ourselves.

Jesper (20m 55s):
If it would serve us better for when author's are checking out on our website, that it would be much, much easier and communicated much clearer what we're trying to help them with. So in other words, we want to have both the Am Writing Fantasy website, but also the fiction Website we are going to be a bit later to answer three questions in the first few seconds. And that is number one. What do we offer? Number two, how will it make the life of the person, a person visiting our website better?

Jesper (21m 27s):
And number three, what do they need to do next? So if we can ask those are answered those three questions very, very quickly. The idea behind it is that the website should, will perform better in terms of basically converting people into doing things. We might want them to do like signing up to an email list or to go and listen to the podcast or whatever it may be. Right. But but that sort of the underlying thinking behind.

Autumn (21m 59s):
Absolutely. I think we, I will give a shout out two, I'm a marketing book. This is not necessarily to authors, but we've both read the StoryBrand by Donald Miller. And it is if you have any need for Website pointers, it really helps too read that it kind of breaks it down. But at the very least picture of yourself, I mean, usually you think a reader we'll find your website because they came through your books or you would think they would no, you know who you are, but there's a lot of reasons someone could land on your landing page, maybe your doing a giveaway or maybe they just type it in your name, wrong may be Google project up.

Autumn (22m 35s):
They should know what they just landed on in those first three to five seconds before, you know, you don't have long to hold onto someone landing on your website so they should know who you are. That it's an author page. The what genre you're right in. And if you are trying to get him on your newsletter or if you're trying to get some to sell something, you should, that should be the third question. That's answered that, that immediately click here to get a free book or click here to, by my hot new release, I'm a number one New York best seller. It should be right there, front and center.

Jesper (23m 6s):
First thing that pops up so that they have those, they know exactly where they landed and whether or not they want to be there.

Autumn (23m 13s):
Yeah, for sure. I mean, we all live in the very, very busy, busy online environment nowadays. And if you get onto a website and it starts talking about 2 million different things you, you might wanna know or could do with it. Yeah. You know, How we're, if we're honest, how are we gonna react ourselves? We are probably going to click away like, okay, no, I don't have time to look through all that. Right. And you go back, you click the back button to Google and you find another website and you click on that one is that it's just to find something while you're going to get the answer you want right away.

Jesper (23m 44s):
Right. So I think that's just the nature of the online environment nowadays. Yes,

Autumn (23m 50s):
Yes it does. Yeah. If someone landed on your website and a year, they had a blog post where your talking about your Kat and you know, it's something that happened over the Hallowe'en and there are not going to know who you are, what you are. So you don't have to have Author in the URL title, but you definitely should have something that indicates, Hey, I write books and this is a genre. And I know when I did my I, my redesign, I actually changed my Autumn WRITING is my personal website. It changed the logo because they had a book on it and it kinda came up with leaves.

Jesper (24m 22s):
Autumn ha ha. Yeah. This is what happens to me. Your mom named you after a season. And so I changed it though to a dragon and a book because I wanted it to say Author Fantasy very quickly because I didn't choose something that's at Fantasy. So those are important little tidbits you should keep in mind.

Autumn (24m 42s):
Yeah. It's it's about that firsthand an impression isn't it? Yes,

Jesper (24m 46s):
It really is. Yeah. They always want to make a good first impression because especially with today's modern age, they're not going to stick around very quickly or a very long if you don't make it clear who and what you are Now. So that's also why when we went into the redesign of Am Writing Fantasy that we actually, today, when you arrive at the Am Writing Fantasy Website M there is information about us, but then there is also a menu at the top would all kinds of different things you might could do.

Jesper (25m 19s):
And we actually decided to get rid of all that and just put in what is called a squeeze squeeze page. And that was hard to say, but basically a squeeze page is like, you can't do any its, its, its it is the landing page. So it, in that sense is just a webpage to arrive at all. But you can't really do anything except for one thing or click away from it. That's all you can do. And we decided to put a video of the two of us sharing our answers to the three questions that I mentioned before on, on there.

Jesper (25m 54s):
And then we also point people to sign up for the self publishing success because that's the, that's the free cause that we've mentioned on a podcast several times before, and that will be available once we've completed the website update a So quite soon.

Autumn (26m 11s):
I hope. Right. Oop. So I look forward to are a little redesigned in all of the little tidbits that feed into it, which are a part of the reason the redesign is not done because all these a little tidbits feed into it.

Jesper (26m 23s):
Yes. Yeah. And on the fiction side, we will point readers to download a free short story that we're gonna right. And ah, we only go to offer that's your story on the web site, on the squeeze page so you can not get it anywhere else. There is no way to get hand, to get a handle of it. You can buy it on Amazon or anything like that. So it's only going to be there. So it is exclusive content and that is it basically on that page. Nice and simple. You could download this stuff or a sign up for this cause. And here's a video of us talking a bit about it, answering those questions about why you should care and so on and so on.

Jesper (26m 59s):
And then if you scroll all the way to the bottom of that page, that will be a button there where you can click to go through to the rest of the Website. But there's nothing else on that page. There's no menus. There was nothing you could, you, you need to scroll all the way down and then say, I want to go to the website basically. And then if, of course you can. But other than that, the only purpose is that once you arrived here, you are right in your face is like sign up for this course or download this a three story. That's it.

Autumn (27m 29s):
And that's a, I mean, some people, or you might think of that almost as counterintuitive because you want, or you know, people as an author, you think you're doing a blog post and you want people to go and find you. But admittedly, if we're doing tweets about our blog posts and stuff, you might come in through the back door. But if you type in Am Writing Fantasy, you're gonna go to this landing page, a squeeze page and your going to have these options in it will be very clear and concise. And that's the best way people are so distracted with so many things going on that you want your website now to be clear, concise, simple, and not overwhelming.

Autumn (28m 3s):
Just not, you know, not a million places to click. Goodness knows. They say the same thing with our Author newsletters. You should have only one link to click and I'm still doing like 10 click links on my Author newsletters. They just can't get away from it. Cause I just ask too many questions and I'll have too many things or so yeah. So if this is, yeah,

Jesper (28m 22s):
So, but because I think the podcast episode he is, is entitled to a new way of thinking about it because I think what we need to get into our heads here is that the main purpose of this stuff is to get people on to the email list because on the email list, you show, if they sign up, I want a free ebook, they are gonna get onto an email list. If they are sign up, I want a self publishing success and success because they are kind of get on to the email list.

Jesper (28m 57s):
And a purpose is of course, once you get people onto your email list, you can offer them a ton of more value by all those emails or so of course your going to keep providing them with lots of, lots of good value and the emails, but it is also why are the emails that you can start building a relationship with an online relationship if we could call it that those people turn them from a casual readers, into a true fans. And we're gonna talk a ton more about this in an email marketing costs.

Jesper (29m 28s):
We are going to release a bit later here, but above all, I find it incredibly important that your homepage or landing pages or a squeeze page or, or whatever we call it, it is clean and it is straightforward. There's one thing I can do, that's it?

Autumn (29m 43s):
Yes. Right. And that's sort of what we mentioned at the top of the Podcast is that either there was a time when all this information is, are these huge bouts and how you came in to WRITING Fantasy all of that used to be on your websites. But now it's really, you'd have maybe a quote, but from yourself about what you think of the genre or just, and with a lot of white space around it, maybe a picture and that's really about it. You know, you want, you will be directing them only two, this one action. And that's what we want to do.

Jesper (30m 14s):
And then it's really the newsletter of the emails. Once they sign up and get on your newsletter list. That's when you start sharing all that other information now, because it's just, it's moved into a conversation, more into the emails and off the websites, websites are going really uncluttered. And I kinda like it. I liked, it's like having a book, you know, you, you switched to dialogue, you have a lot of white space and it's pretty, it's more like poetry, I guess.

Autumn (30m 41s):
No. Yeah. And a, and I think it is just, there was so much, so much content out there, right? That you almost feel overwhelmed. So once you arrive at, at a website where it's just like, wow, this is pretty clean. And there was one thing I can do here. If I don't like it, feel free to click away. Right. I mean, if you don't wanna, if you don't want a sign up to it, if we take Am Writing Fantasy as an example, if you don't want to sign up for our email list, you get access to a completely free course, then fine. Then you shouldn't be there anyway.

Autumn (31m 10s):
So I mean, that's the purpose, right?

Jesper (31m 13s):
You do this thing or you don't, that's the choice you have sign up or don't sign up and that's all. Umm, yeah. So that's a, that's a lie in that sense is very simple. But then I mentioned before that people could scroll down and then they could click there as you go through it through to the main website and both for the fiction website and also for Am Writing Fantasy, which is a nonfiction Website ah, they both need that homepage that you then arrive at. Once you have click that, take me through two, the website or whatever, we are going to call that button.

Jesper (31m 47s):
I don't know yet, but you need a homepage where they then arrive once they've clicked the button. And ah, this home page is rather simple when it comes to Am Writing because we actually just intend to put a bit of text. They are explaining that what Am Writing Fantasy I is and put some customers testimonials on them as well, because I think especially if you have a nonfiction business, like we do with Am Writing Fantasy it's good.

Autumn (32m 17s):
It's a good idea to showcase those customer system O'Neals because it'll help increase the trust in your brand. Obviously.

Jesper (32m 24s):
Whereas for our fiction website, it's slightly different because there are, we actually decided to add a video instead. Umm, but this time we would like two and I'm really, really looking forward to what this is going to turn out because I had another video. All of them did and it was awesome for a book trailer. But

Autumn (32m 47s):
Do you remember? That could be a few years. Yeah. Well yeah. Well I think you could do it quite quick probably, but I finally sat down to do it. I think it took two weeks. So yeah. I should be aware of my, my scheming. It ups the bar in what you expect me to do.

Jesper (33m 6s):
Yeah. That's the problem. Right? Once you start doing something good. I'll take notice an attitude list out. Okay. I see. Yeah. We can start doing this as well. Right?

Autumn (33m 13s):
Well it's just going to a trailer is awesome. Yeah.

Jesper (33m 15s):
Yeah. But actually the stuff we, we want to put it on the fiction website, its not a book trailer because we want the website to host all the different novels that is going to be set in the world. So we, we intend to make a trailer of the world of a lithium instead. So more like a setting trailer almost rather than a book specific. But of course, if you are, if your website is For a specific series of books that I would probably put maybe a book trailer there and say that, but in our case, we intend to write a ton of different books in this setting also in different areas of the world in different times.

Autumn (33m 51s):
So a times of the, of the, you know, the historical wise and in the setting and so on and so on. So yeah, it makes no sense to have one book trailer there. Yeah.

Jesper (34m 2s):
And how you mentioned testimonials as an author, if you have reviews, you know, I used a lot of reviews on my website. You don't want to do too many. You don't need like 16, but pick three and then have some links to your books or have the book trailer and then maybe another three years or something you don't need to jam them all together. I know the first time I did mine and it was a rotating banner that would just keep refreshing with different lines. It's like, no, that's not what you do. People actually prefer. M static. Images are videos now and they don't wanna just see, these are like rotating type text toast testimonials.

Autumn (34m 35s):
So it doesn't have to be so technical. It can be very static and just pretty, pretty pictures is a nice video and some testimonials just as textes, but we're, you know, in your case, as an author is reviews, it's a wonderful way to let people know this is, you're an honest Author you know, your people love your books. What have people said? I have a little bar now with my awards that was so exciting to do. So if you can sneak that in, you know, put that into this, this landing pages about its almost like an about page.

Jesper (35m 7s):
It is the homepage. I know M I don't have a squeeze page so much on my personal one. I have sort of like call it above the fold. So the first place you land is where I have my, my feature. I did that instead of a squeeze page, but below it, as my normal about page is a little bit about me. There's a lot more testimonials reviews and links to go to actually see what I'm writing in books and things like that. So that's what you kinda want to have on this page as an author, right? Yeah. The video format, I feel like that's pretty as well because video is just a lot more engaging than images or texts alone.

Jesper (35m 44s):
So I know the us, quite a lot of people have a lot of reluctance to create videos and I understand, but if you can, and it doesn't matter if you have to take 20 takes and edited like crazy it before you were happy with it. But I would almost say that if you can, it's probably better to put a video on the website of yourself, talking about your books and stuff like that, rather than it just being a picture, a headshot or with some texts on it.

Jesper (36m 15s):
Because it's just a way, if you go to a hundred websites Author websites today, you will find that 95 of them probably is an headshot and some text and maybe five of them have video. And those five is it's the ones that you are going to remember because I stand out. So I think it's a good idea to put that video format. And also on this page, if it's a fiction M website, then I would also on the homepage beneath the video, I'll then ad a catalog of your books.

Autumn (36m 48s):
Ah, and here I would advise to include links to all formats at all retailers because this way it is very easy for the reader to understand where they can find the paperback, the audio book at, or, and even eBooks I think. And maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong here on them. But I think sometimes we Author, we live in sight, this little bubble where we assume that everybody else knows where they can find paperbacks that Lia of course you've go to Amazon that that's print on demand.

Autumn (37m 21s):
That's when you get your paperbacks or all your books, you, you go to audible, you know, but I think that we assume that everybody knows that stuff because just a second nature, because this is our business, right? It's like, I don't think that all readers know that stuff. They don't necessarily know that. Can I get this one in paperback? It doesn't say on the website, anything about paper back. So they might be like, well then I don't know, then I don't bother. Right. But if it says, paperback, go here, go here, go here. Or do you have a book or here, eBooks here and here and here, you know, you can not make it any easier.

Jesper (37m 55s):
Right? And I think lowering the barrier for the purchase, as much as you can, it's going to serve you will

Autumn (38m 1s):
Absolutely it's you can, you could probably have too many links, but as long as you're clear, you know, have your ebook links have Your. If people don't know that there is a paper back that they might not think to act ask, if you have a way of selling signed paperbacks, you should have that separate from your paperback. One it. If you have hard back. So they should all be separate buttons and yet you make it as clear as simple. And there was a time where like every book had a, I think the book blurb and all this information in the good news, in many ways of your building, a website, you can get away from all of that.

Jesper (38m 33s):
Most places have a image of the, maybe a background that's either moving or just like cutout of the cover. And then the like the tag line and then basically ebook links, paperback links, auto, you know, all the, of the audio book like, and you just, you could just have your links. I need you to keep what you put them all their, and you make it as simple as possible. And even with mine, I mean, I ha I think you have it as simple as possible, but you still get people asking, how can I get this so that it does happen even though it's right there on the website.

Autumn (39m 7s):
But again, I have too many books. And then what you think make sense for to yourself often can be overwhelming and confusing or take too much time for readers. So it does definitely help to have someone who doesn't, isn't familiar with your website or your books, you know, to come and take a look and do some user testing. His or her testing is wonderful. They have some people click through and test all your links, make sure they go to the right places and that there are alive links because things happen and they, you might mess up on your coding and just copy the wrong thing.

Jesper (39m 40s):
And there is a nice tip though, if you happen to go, if you, I would assume your on Amazon, almost every one is they make it really easy that you can actually have people like click on the book image and it comes up with the inside samples. So they can go ahead and read it, write from your website. And then if they like it, they can actually click through that and go buy on Amazon. Amazon tries to make you like, Hey, you want to help cell in your books? There's this really cool link that pops up. It looks really pretty. It's really easy to embed. So you can check it out. If your, an author go to your book page, you'll see on the righthand side, you know, ad this little link, can you just need to follow the instructions and do it?

Autumn (40m 16s):
And it's I did it all on mine and its kind of fun.

Jesper (40m 20s):
Yeah. A and then I think so now you are on to the main website. So we have a few new menu items that we include, but there is a lot, lot more are very much reduced compared to what it used to be a and this one is optional. A, you know, you don't have to ask this one, but we gonna have a shop, a menu item, uhh, on both the fiction and the nonfiction website. And this is basically where people can buy merchandise. Obviously that's not something you have to do, but if you do have merchandise, then you can add that there.

Autumn (40m 51s):
I think that's good of of course the or the offerings that you have in terms of merchandise is different if its a nonfiction versus the fiction audience. Umm, but what they both have in common is that it is print on demand, merchandise, meaning that you don't want to end up in something where you have to then, you know, order something yourself and put it in boxes and ship it or whatever you don't want to do. Any of that, So it is a hundred percent print on demand. And there is a, quite a, quite a few vendors who can take care of all this for you.

Jesper (41m 23s):
So you basically your upload, the design's that you want them to create a and then they will make it for you. And ah, they will also ship it for you. But we chose zassel for our merchandise because at least at the point of this recording Sassel is the only one who will take care of that international that for you a and they do take a, may be a bit more of a cut compared to other vendors because they took care of that as well. But I don't really care cause having to keep track of that for every single country where the customer are located, because that's the key with a vet, it is about why the customer is located.

Jesper (42m 4s):
It is not where you are located. So you need to keep track of which country is this person in? What is the VAT level in that country? And then you need to pay those countries there that you own them and blah, blah, blah, blah. And no, no thank you. So we chose Sassel and they took care of all of that for us, just like a, just like Amazon does as well for us, when you sell the books on Amazon, they we'll also take care of that and we just get the code, right? So that's the same thing with Sassal they'll take a cut and gave us the rest and that's absolutely fine for us.

Autumn (42m 36s):
Definitely. Yes, there are a ton of other ones. So if you think are just going to be exclusive to the U S or you don't think Europe's going to come after you, there are other options, but at Zazzle and for books, if you want to sell books online, you'd be able to sell your own books. Pay hip was also won something we found out that also had our handle's bat. So if you want to hook up your pay hip to book funnel, which is they have fantastic instruction is very little coating, but I will say there is a coding, but I, you know, I made it through it.

Jesper (43m 8s):
So its a, you can see we sell are books right on our websites. So you can go ahead and do that and hook it up and not have to worry about, you know, how that, that is going to be taken out at the end. It's all taken care of for you. It's still a little bit of a percentage. Yeah. But it's less than royalties on Amazon. So its kind of cool to be able to sell stuff off your own website. And like I mentioned, if you want to go ahead and order, you know, five, 10 books of your paperbacks are hard back and sell them a assigned books, you might end up having to box them yourself.

Autumn (43m 41s):
But its kind of also really cool to be able to sell your own signed paperbacks For you know, all the holidays off of your own Website how's that for feeling like you are access sex successful Author

Jesper (43m 53s):
Yeah. And then both the fiction and nonfiction site will have an about page and also a contact page. And I will say that's the minimum, eh, you don't really need modern that to be honest, but a lot about page and a contact page should be there. And then we only have a few other pages that we want to add. Or so of course for Am Writing Fantasy We as you know, see listening to this podcast where we host the course's so those have to be on the website.

Autumn (44m 24s):
Of course, in our case, we, we, we add the course of their a and we of course have this Podcast feature. They are together with the YouTube channel and also the Am Writing Fantasy block, which has a ton of different topics and posts from I probably hundreds of posts. And so all of that is still there, but that is of course not on our fiction site, but if you do have a blog or anything that can help your site with a SEO, I think its good to have a, the key probably as though that you have to, you have to post new content on a regular basis.

Jesper (44m 57s):
Otherwise it doesn't really help much.

Autumn (44m 58s):
Yes I have definitely. There was between life happenings and things going on in Am Writing Fantasy blog. Well and kind of quiet for a little while. And I have noticed that since we started posting a more regularly, that it has definitely upped our SCO. So even as an author of people and you go and look on line, you Google it and they'd say the blog is dead. If maybe you're not getting as many hits, but you are still lifting yourself in the Google rankings. And it does really make a difference over time to have those blog posts.

Jesper (45m 28s):
I still still get people coming in even to my personal one and I haven't posted there for a couple of months. So they really should. I'm only trying to put out a series next year. I really should talk to people about it, but Oh well, but those are the simple one's yeah. I agree to the contact form, you know, with an author page. So you really just need that squeeze page. It's like the landing page, The a list of your books can all be on one page and not know about the contact. So we were talking about a three page Website very simple and very, very simple.

Autumn (45m 60s):
And you could possibly do a sort of like I did him just worry about your squeeze page is just that space above the fold and then you're done too, a page website. So its not too bad though. I, again, in the store, my ad a third one, but that's okay.

Jesper (46m 14s):
Yeah. I mean w and also this, ah, this next one is also one. We are going to add too, our fiction website, but you don't really have two, but we decided to add like a Vicky kind of area of the website for the fiction where we are going to share all kinds of details about the world. So basically it's like world building stuff I'm and we can share as well, because we are, we are getting some really, really cool custom made artwork created, so cool. And it is so beautiful and I really love it. So we can put that on the website as well.

Jesper (46m 45s):
And of course, as Rita's a FANTASY well, Redis a FANTASY Nothing. Yes. That's pretty logical. So we better give it to them. Yeah. So that's something you could do, but certainly don't have too, but I think it's nice though, as well, because once we plan to write lots and lots of books in this world, if people become fans of the setting, they would like to be able to go to someplace and read some more stuff about the setting as a whole.

Jesper (47m 16s):
So being able to do that, I think that will serve the serve it well, but of course, I mean, if you're only riding like a plant, like my first trilogy, for example, I just ever only intended to write those three books in that setting and nothing else.

Autumn (47m 30s):
So it might be a bit overkill to start creating a whole Vickie thing for three books. So then you might not wanna do it, but if you have like Grande of plants like us, it could be an idea, but the only optional, if it is a good way, if you do a blog, it's a good way of, if you happen to post about your world, you can then organize it into it. Kind of a little Wiki. I know for my, my Epic Fantasy in the world of a mirror I had started with before I actually made my companion book, I had all that kind of created and listed online and its great to have it there to be able to point people from the books, you know, Hey, here's a full sized map.

Autumn (48m 6s):
Hey, here is more about this one culture that I've made up. And so it is, it is fun. It gives you one something to post and then once you have it posted, you can turn it into a page and then you can just link to it. And it's basically a glossary or you can talk about your characters that way. So all of those things you can embed is a little Wiki fandom have you're own creation. You absolute, I think just to reiterate, I guess, but the key takeaway here is that the purpose of the website is to get people onto an email list.

Jesper (48m 40s):
So we keep it simple and we drive towards the email list wherever we can. We don't have some other pages which will help on CEO, SEO, which is as good of course. Umm, but I think often when authors are thinking about Website building youth often, are you think about it as an information hub where we just have all kinds of stuff about the authors and books and blah blah, blah or this and that like basically like I Am Writing Fantasy yesterday, there's all kinds of stuff we have. So in the kitchen sink I think.

Autumn (49m 11s):
Yeah, exactly. And that's what we try to steer away from here. Yes. And instead of just drive people onto the email list and there, I think in my view that is a bit of a different way of approaching building an author website. It is, I think it gives us a focus and makes it not feel so insurmountable. You kind of know what you should put in there instead of worrying about what you should put there. You know, its just to make sure, you know, just to get the authors or the readers to sign up, not to worry about other things.

Jesper (49m 45s):
Right? So hopefully we gave you some food for thought there and the next Monday Autumn will have a interview line up for you. So make sure you tune in for that.

Narrator (50m 2s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast please tell a fellow Author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jasper on Writing Fantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going to stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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