The First Secret of Designing a Home Page (the Short Version)

Author Website in a Box comes with a pre-built home page (three of them, actually) that include all sorts of features ranging from sign up forms to bookshelf widgets to progress bars.

I wanted to give you as many options as I could so you could move the sections up and down and build a page that was unique to you. That is great in principle, but all these options can leave users confused about what they want to do or how to accomplish it (trust me, I’ve been there).

So today I would like to share the secret to designing the home page for an author website.

It’s actually pretty simple.

Ask yourself this question: What’s the one thing that you want visitors to do?

Your home page needs to fulfill many tasks: you should use it to introduce yourself (the about the author section), show what you have written (the bookshelf widgets), and generally capture the interest of visitors.

But there’s going to be one act you want visitors to do, and you need to figure out what that is because it will be what’s known as your call to action (CTA). This CTA will go at the top of your home page, and you should also repeat it at least once further down the page.

For most authors, their CTA is getting visitors to sign up for their mailing list. This is why you will see a sign up form at the top of the home page on many author websites, and it’s why I put the sign up prompt at the top of AWinaBox’s home page.

Getting visitors to sign up for a mailing list is almost the SOP for the industry, but you don’t have to do the same thing as everyone else. You can choose your own CTA, and ask visitors to do that.

The first step, obviously, is knowing what you want visitors to do.


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