Charlee James writes contemporary romance and is one of the sweetest authors I have ever worked with. I first met Charlee a few months ago when we both attended a meeting of the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America. I learned that Charlee was published with Tule Publishing and wrote romances set in Cape Cod. Awesome, right?
So Charlee’s website was being hosted on Wix. I am not a fan of Wix: I find it clunky and super over-priced. I prefer WordPress for it’s customization, ability to do whatever the heck you want, SEO rankings capability and speed and security. If I were in a romance novel, WordPress would be my HEA.
So Charlee’s website was okay, but it was hard for users to navigate and find the information they needed. Her homepage was also ten thousand scrolls (slight exaggeration) and had a ton of useful and important information, but it was hard to sift through it all.
In designing her new website, Charlee wanted to have a fun and professional design that was responsive and had an easier flow. Love it!
So I got to work! Charlee wanted soft, feminine colors and really liked gold so I found these great patterns on Adobe Stock to use as the background of her pages:
From there, I designed a dynamic homepage that had a few key important elements:
- Featured Highlights highlighting new and upcoming releases with custom designed banners.
- All Charlee’s Books in a carousel of flat book covers- this makes it super easy for visitors to find the book they want, or see what other books Charlee has written.
- Charlee’s Bio because her picture is gorgeous and I just had to and it adds to the professionalism of her website, which is what Charlee was after. It makes it super easy for visitors, reviewers and most importantly – press – to get the information they need and have it easy to access.
- Praise for Charlee including some awesome reviews from other authors and reviewers. Again, this lends a nice touch of authority and social proof to add to the overall professionalism captured in Charlee’s site. We placed more general reviews on Charlee’s writing style in this section, saving reviews for individual books (that she had previously put on her homepage) for the individual book pages.
- Charlee’s lead magnet– While we also have a pop-up advertising her lead magnet, we also put it toward the bottom of her homepage as another reminder. Sometimes readers and visitors just want to learn more about the author and their books before committing to a mailing list. By placing the opt-in at the bottom of the page, we were able to use the space above to showcase Charlee and her work and inspire new visitors to take the plunge to opt-in (and get an awesome free book, too!)
The rest of Charlee’s website was also designed with the same strategic thinking and thoughtfulness with always one thing in mind: how easy is it for visitors to find the information they need.
Keep visitor’s interest in mind is the best way to create a website that sells for you. While we may love uploading images of our character inspirations (like dreamy Eric Bana) or sharing their musical preferences, we have to be mindful that visitors and readers come to your website for the quickies: what do you write and how can I get it. The other stuff? PERFECT for social media! We want to keep your site quick, clean and most important information only!
I welcome you to take a browse through Charlee’s site and check out all the other cool features we add to make her site pop, have a ton of personality but also be professional and designed to sell more of her books. And check out a quick side by side of her old site vs. new below: