Improve Your Author Website—From Homepage to Contact Form

Improve Your Author Website with Jane Friedman

Sorry, this class has ended and the recording is only available to registrants. If you'd like to know when this class is offered again, sign up here.


Get clear, actionable steps to improve your site's effectiveness and avoid common pitfalls

Every professional author needs a website, but too often bad design choices and poor copy prevent it from doing its job. This 75-minute webinar on Feb. 26 will cover best practices of author websites, how to avoid the mistakes most prevalent in the writing community, and how you can better reach your goals. Whether your website is one day old or ten years old, you want to make sure the time and energy that you’ve put into your site will pay off with more readers, more sales, and more opportunities for your books.

During this live program, you'll learn:

  • Strategies for designing and structuring your homepage—plus the dreaded layout to avoid
  • How certain types of designs/themes can sabotage your best efforts, and how to eliminate such sabotage
  • Exactly what belongs on your book description page (most authors mess this up)
  • How, why, and when to add pop-ups to your site without annoying visitors
  • How to properly integrate your blog into your site
  • Best practices for contact forms—or any type of form
  • SEO (search engine optimization) housekeeping that anyone can perform—yes, you!

Feedback opportunityThis session will use examples of real author websites to demonstrate best practices as well as mistakes. If you're open to having your site used as part of the presentation for constructive critique (Jane will be kind), contact us after you register and let us know your author website URL. Feedback is not guaranteed, and it won't be a formal or full critique. But it'll still be fun and useful!

An important note: While this is not meant to be a jargon-filled session—and Jane will focus on takeaways anyone can understand—any discussion of author websites will eventually lead to technical issues and questions. Authors who use free website tools may face limitations in how much they can change their site. As much as possible, Jane will recommend best practices and tools that can be used by all, or suggest multiple methods of accomplishing the same goal. Jane specializes in WordPress sites, and can speak more to WordPress situations; she may not be able to answer questions about other platforms, such as Squarespace. Authors may need to further research how to make specific changes to their site.

This session will be most powerful for those who are accustomed to making straightforward (no coding) modifications to an existing site, rather than relying on a designer to change copy, add contact forms, modify the homepage message, etc.

Who should take this class

  • Writers who already have a website
  • Writers who are considering a redesign of their website
  • Writers who aren't sure what to put on their website

This class is not recommended for writers without a website.

You receive the following:

  • Access to the 75-minute interactive class. After 1 hour, Jane will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Additional answers to questions, if needed. If there isn’t time for Jane to answer all the questions during the live event, she will answer them in writing afterward. All participants will receive the answers with the follow-up recording.

Refund policy

Sorry, but refunds are not offered unless the webinar is canceled or rescheduled. All registrants receive access to the recording even if they are unable to attend. Have questions? You can contact us here.

Jane Friedman

About the instructor

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. Since 2005, she has been building websites (primarily using WordPress) and is the sole designer of She's also managed the website relaunch of major brands and publications, including Writer's Digest and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Her award-winning blog receives more than 100,000 visits each month.

Jane has delivered keynotes and workshops on the digital era of authorship at worldwide industry events, including the Writer’s Digest annual conference, Stockholm Writers Festival, San Miguel Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, Frankfurt Book Fair, BookExpo America, and Digital Book World. She’s also held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.

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Jane's webinar answered all my most pressing questions. She even answered questions I hadn't articulated yet, things that were just kind of swirling around and keeping me frozen.

Denise Berger

Thank you for a well-presented and enlightening webinar on publishing. I have taken twelve-sessions-long university courses that did not cover that much material. As well, thank you for answering all questions, including mine, after the session was closed.

Lise Lévesque

Jane knows all there is to know about the publishing industry, about marketing, and she cares about each writer she meets or discovers.

Mary L. Tabor

If you attend the class live, here's how it works

This online class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. (If you don’t receive it within 10 minutes of registering, please contact us.)

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
  • Time: 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Even if you can't attend live, you will still receive the recording.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • Surface PRO 3 running Win 10
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.