Author Website Redesign Case Study: Rachel Shane

by | Oct 3, 2016 | 2 comments

I was completely overwhelmed with the prospect of re-designing my author site, but Diana made the whole process easy! Diana went above and beyond in providing me the exact user experience I was hoping for. She was easy to work with and always answered my questions with care. She has a keen design eye and took my site to the next level! I’d highly recommend her to every author.  — Rachel Shane, Hybrid Author

I now offer website design services! Whether you’re an author or small business, I can help you create a beautiful website that grows your email list. Learn more and get in touch here.

Rachel Shane is a prolific hybrid author who writes in multiple genres, including young adult, romance, and nonfiction. Her original website had an outdated design, and it was challenging for readers to find what they were looking for. Additionally, the only prompt to sign up for her mailing list was buried on her homepage, or appeared instantly as a strangely-formatted popup before readers had a chance to explore. I had the pleasure of redesigning Rachel’s author website, optimizing for email signups and to cater to readers’ interests, and she’s thrilled with the results.

Here you can see the before and after view of her website:

Setting website goals

When Rachel came to me looking for a website redesign, we discussed her priorities and how she wanted her website to look and function.

“I mainly wanted:

  • A more streamlined user experience where readers could easily find what they were looking for without having to click through a bunch of pages.
  • A way for readers to subscribe to my newsletter.
  • A site that I could update more easily in the back end
  • A site with a more elegant, professional look.”

The homepage

Since Rachel writes in multiple genres, it should be easy for readers to find the content they’re most interested in. Keeping this in mind, I designed the top section of her homepage and the top navigation to differentiate between these genres. Additionally, if Rachel decides to branch out into a fourth genre, she could easily drop in a fourth circle on her homepage at any time using the dynamic drag-and-drop theme I provided for her. It will automatically be beautifully spaced and mobile optimized.

Genre-specific pages

I also built out a separate website page for each genre. Readers will either find these search engine optimized pages by navigating through her homepage or directly from search engines. Each page makes use of the wonderful imagery of Rachel’s book covers, and parallax scrolling elements give the pages a modern look and feel.

“I love the beautiful layout and how easy it is to use!”

Email opt-in forms

Each page on Rachel’s website includes an email opt-in form offering a free starter library that includes three free ebooks — an excellent way to entice readers to subscribe to an author’s newsletter. The only thing Rachel needed to do was provide me with her Mailchimp API key. If Rachel ever wants to create separate starter libraries for each of her genres — so readers can download the content that most interests them — all she’ll need to do is swap out the image and select a different Mailchimp list in this module.

Coming soon page

During my conversation with Rachel, we uncovered the need for a “Coming Soon” page. This way, when she includes a link in the back matter of each of her books promoting an upcoming release, she can link to this page if a preorder page isn’t yet available on retailer sites. On this page, readers can easily sign up to receive a notification when the new book is ready to preorder or purchase.

Two-column pages

Finally, I also built out a standard two-page column design for other sub-level pages, including her about page, contact page, and events page. While Rachel has opted out of having a blog for now, if she ever wants to launch one, she’ll be able to use this two-column design for a blog as well.

Here’s the last thing Rachel had to say about her website redesign experience:

“Working with Diana was a dream! She sent me an easy to use questionnaire that captured everything I was looking for and she turned my answers into the perfect website in a quick timeframe. I loved that she then installed the site for me and I could stay out of the technical stuff.”

Want me to create or redesign an author website for you? Learn more about my website design services and get in touch here!

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About Me

By day I'm a marketing manager at BookBub, where I blog about book marketing and publishing tips. By night I'm the author of Young Adult thrillers, represented by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary. I've also self-published three marketing ebooks. Follow me on Twitter @DianaUrban.

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