Wednesday, April 19, 2023

9 Proven Ways to Level up Your Website as a Children’s Book Writer or Illustrator

As a children's book writer or illustrator, you most likely know that having a website is an important tool for connecting with young readers, but also, and many times more importantly, with their parents, educators, librarians, and booksellers. Armed with that knowledge, you also probably already have a website, which is great. But is it doing what it needs to do? 

  • Is it attracting visitors?
  • Is it providing well-organized information?
  • Is it engaging visitors?
  • Is it building trust?
  • Is it driving conversions? 

If the answer is no to any one of the above questions, then it's time to upgrade your website. From showcasing your work to offering exclusive content, providing resources for educators and librarians, and optimizing for SEO, I've got you covered. With easy and advanced steps for each suggestion, you'll be able to take your website to the next level and reach and engage a wider audience.


Showcase your work

Display your books, illustrations, or other creative works prominently on your website, so readers can quickly and easily find them.
  • Easy step: Create a gallery of your best illustrations or book covers on your homepage.
  • Advanced step: Create a video trailer for your book and feature it prominently on your homepage.

Create a blog

A blog is an excellent way to engage readers with your content, and it also helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Easy step: Start writing blog posts about your writing process, behind-the-scenes details, or your inspiration for your work. Keep the posts to about 800 words so they are easily digestible and easy for you to complete.
  • Advanced step: Guest post on other blogs in your niche to expand your reach and drive traffic back to your own website.

Offer a newsletter

Encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter, which can help you build a loyal following and keep readers up-to-date on your latest projects.
  • Easy step: Add a newsletter signup form to your homepage and offer an incentive, such as a free short story or illustration, for signing up.
  • Advanced step: Segment your email list based on reader interests and tailor your content to each segment to increase engagement.

Host online events

Consider hosting virtual book signings, Q&A sessions, or other online events to engage with your readers and promote your work.
  • Easy step: Choose a platform like Zoom or Google Meet to host your virtual event and then promote your event on your website and social media
  • Advanced step: Partner with other authors or illustrators to create a larger event with multiple speakers and more promotion opportunities. Then, record those events, create short snippets from those videos, and use across social and blog posts for dynamic, engaging content connected to you, authors in your genre, and the themes of your book.

Make it easy to purchase your books

Showcase buy links prominently next to or under the book information.
  • Easy step: Add "Buy Now" buttons to your book pages that link to online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, or your local bookstores.
  • Advanced step: Set up an online store on your website using a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce to sell your books directly to readers with signed copies of your books and an option for personalized messages.

Make your website visually appealing

Use high-quality images and graphics to make your website visually appealing and help your work stand out.
  • Easy step: Use a clean and simple design for your website that highlights your work and makes it easy to navigate and always use hi-res (but compressed) images of your illustrations or book covers for your website.
  • Advanced step: Use video content, such as author interviews or book trailers, to showcase your work and dynamically engage readers. If you don't have that type of content, you can add animations on the web pages to move images and text as visitors are scrolling through your site to increase the feeling of modernity and engagement.

Optimize for SEO

Optimize your website for search engines by using relevant keywords in your content and metadata.
  • Easy step: Research and use keywords related to your genre, books, and author name throughout your website content, including titles, headers, and descriptions.
  • Advanced step: Use tools like Google Search Console to analyze your website's performance and identify opportunities for improvement, such as broken links or slow-loading pages.

Offer exclusive content

Provide exclusive content, such as bonus chapters, artwork, or behind-the-scenes information, to readers who sign up for your newsletter.
  • Easy step: Create a free downloadable e-book or short story related to your books and offer it as a sign-up incentive for your email newsletter or host a virtual book club or Q&A session exclusively for your newsletter subscribers.
  • Advanced step: Develop a premium membership program that offers access to exclusive content, discounts on merchandise, and other perks.

Provide resources for educators and librarians

Showcasing how your book can be used in multiple ways, not just for entertainment and enjoyment but for educational purposes as well, helps introduce it to new audiences.
  • Easy step: Create a dedicated page on your website that showcases your books and provides discussion questions and other resources for educators and librarians.
  • Advanced step: Partner with a literacy nonprofit or organization to donate copies of your books or offer free virtual author visits to under-resourced schools or libraries.

Having a website as a children's book writer or illustrator is crucial for connecting with your audience and growing your brand. However, it's not enough to simply have a website; it needs to be engaging, organized, and optimized. By starting with the easy steps and moving on to the advanced steps mentioned above, you can gradually uplevel your site to better connect with and impact your readers and those who care for them.

Ayanna Coleman is a high-level marketing and creative concept strategist. As founder of Quill Shift, a boutique marketing agency, she helps thought leaders, experts, and creative thinkers expand on, clarify, and crystalize their next big ideas so they (and their team) can make them a reality. Trained as a youth services librarian, she started her career at Hachette Book Group in digital marketing, moved into the nonprofit space and led programming and diversity initiatives at the Children’s Book Council, and over the last eight years has partnered with and led marketing initiatives on behalf of publishers, distributors, literary agencies, and startups across three continents. Need a new site and like the look of the website homepage above? Spoiler: it's a template made with you in mind. Get in touch to find out how this template can be yours.

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