Whether you have an author website up and running or are thinking of getting started with one, it can be helpful to understand the three main phases of an author site. Just like businesses, websites tend to go through a standard progression from infancy to maturity. Understanding how infancy, adolescence, and maturity play out in regards to author sites can help you make more informed, strategic decisions about your site.
This article will be the first in a short series discussing how author sites grow. Here you will find out how to tell which phase your site is in. In the next few posts you will find more information about how to maximize your site in each of the phases.
The infancy of an author site is when your site is just getting started. For some people the infancy stage can last for years. Other authors skip over the infancy stage and jump right into adolescence.
Some characteristics of infant author sites include:
- The site promotes 0-5 books.
- The site has irregular page visits that depend heavily on social media sharing. The author lacks a stable following.
- The site is free or low-cost. It may use free themes or page builders.
- The site lacks cohesive branding or relies on generalized, neutral branding.
You should keep in mind that your infant site may not tick off all of the above characteristics. For example, you may have published 10 short e-books, but are newly developing your personal brand and site. In that case, you will likely start with an infant site.
Most unpublished authors start with an infant site. In fact, while you are seeking representation is a great time to start your site and slowly grow it through infancy so you have a solid platform when you are published.
An adolescent site can often be one of the most difficult sites to grow and manage. Just like an adolescent human, an adolescent site can be a bit unruly and unpredictable.
Signs that your site has turned into an adolescent include:
- The site promotes 2-10 books.
- The site has a small regular following. People may have subscribed to your blog and regularly check your site directly.
- People search for your site to find information about you and your books.
- You're beginning to invest a little more in your site, perhaps using premium themes and plugins.
- Your branding is beginning to become clear. Your site matches your writing and features a professional logo as well as basic emotional design.
Many authors jump from adolescence to maturity too quickly. However, adolescence is a great time to solidify your content plan and develop your brand so you can get the most from your mature site.
Ah! The phase we all want to reach! The mature author site. A mature author site has the following characteristics:
- The author may be well-published, with several books.
- The site has a cohesive design. It is often professionally designed.
- The site is optimized to run on various devices.
- Readers interact with the site by leaving comments, engaging in forums, or signing up for newsletters.
- The site is updated regularly to reflect the author's current endeavors.
You may think that once you've reached a mature site you can sit back and reap the benefits of fame and fortune. But a mature site actually requires significant work to keep up-to-date and maintain its authenticity.
Knowing which phase your site is in will allow you to target your resources and create a plan for developing your site. I hope this blog will introduce you to some of the different methods and approaches different authors take when it comes to using their author site as a platform for reaching their readers.
At the moment my author site is in its infancy. Okay, let's be honest- it's still in the birth canal. This will allow you to follow along and see how I develop my site. You can check it out at kojiadae.ink.
If you're interested in developing your own author site, stay tuned for the next three articles in this series, which will dive into some of the specifics for each of the phases.