On Designing Themes for Authors

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After a few months of research, our team at Paiyak Development has started the exciting task of developing our first author product. We’re starting out with a WordPress theme made specifically for book authors. 

While we are in the beginning stages of the process, still discussing features and functionality and exploring the UX behind successful author websites, I have to say I am excited about the direction our product is taking. 

Here are just some things I’ve noticed so far, that I wanted to share with my fellow writers who are building their websites:

There’s No Right Way to Design an Author Website

Authors are generally creative people. Even non-fiction writers have a bit of flair about them. This is something that should absolutely show through on a website. 

When I started looking up the “rules” specific to author websites, each article I read had a different set of ideas about what they should look like, what purpose they should serve, and when you should build them. 

While it is important to have an author site these days, its design should follow the specific purpose you want it to serve. For many authors, that may just be a business card page or a simple bookstore. Other authors may delve deeply into their online presence. Both are valid options, and someday I hope our products can support both types of authors. 

There’s No Sense In Re-inventing the Wheel

When I first started this project, it was my idea to offer everything an author would need to create an amazing WordPress website. But over the past few months I have found many amazing plugins and themes that are already available.

It would be a waste of my team’s time and energy to re-create these tools. Instead, I hope to create a product that integrates well with the best tools on the market, ones that authors are hopefully already using. (In one of my future posts I’ll do a round-up of these products so you can see if they could improve your own website). 

Authors Tend to Either Love Building Their Website or Hate It 

Writers can be passionate people, and even their websites become an act of passion. Many authors take pride in their websites, enjoy trying new things, and want to connect with their readers online. These are often the writers who branch out on their website, offering tips, contests, or community through their site. 

However, other writers are a bit apprehensive about creating a site. They are overwhelmed with the choices, question their sense of design, and are confused by the technology.

Originally, I hoped to create products for the second group of authors. I wanted to make building an author website as simple as possible to give writers more time to write. However, now I am also seeing how fun it will be to expand our offerings and create some higher-level tools that are unique for those who want to go beyond basic on their sites. 

While our first theme will not be available particularly soon (we want to make sure we release only top quality, WordPress-vetted products), I am excited to dig in deep and embark on this journey. 

As always, if you are an author and have particularly questions or needs, I would love to hear about your experience with author websites. 

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