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WordPress ThemesIf you want to create your own website, you’ve probably heard of WordPress, the godfather of all website creators. Compared to website builders, WordPress offers a more DIY approach to website building – but using a ready-made template can be a great way to get started.
Auteur – Best for Writers Who Want All the OptionsAvailable via ThemeForest, Auteur is a well-designed WordPress theme created specifically for authors, bloggers, reviewers, and bookstores. It comes with four different homepage options, ten blog layouts, and three shop layouts, meaning there are design options to suit all tastes – and pretty much all of the functionality a writer could ask for. The “Introducing Author” page pack, true to its name, puts the focus on the author as the star of the show. It pairs attractive black-and-white images and a muted color scheme with bold headlines and concise snippets of text. There are blocks for sharing information about the author and review excerpts, and you can add a blog, a contact form, events listings, and even an online store for selling books.
Typology – Best for Text-Forward WebsitesThe problem with the Auteur theme (and a lot of the other templates on this list), is that they depend on high-quality visuals to make them look good. Which is all very well if you’ve got a photographer and a top-notch camera on hand. But if you’re, say, an aspiring blogger with little photography skills to speak of, you might want a website template that’s less heavy on the visuals. This is where Typology (also from ThemeForest) shines. It was created for bloggers who just want to write and don’t want the hassle of having to search for images. This theme puts all the focus on your prose (although you can add images if you really want to!) As you might imagine with a theme that puts the written word front and center, Typology comes with loads of font, layout, color, and iconography options. It also has blogging features and a number of custom widgets, including an Instagram & Flickr integration, a search bar, and social widgets.
Richard Gore – Best Visual EffectsAvailable via Template Monster, Richard Gore is another moody black-and-white theme that’s perfect for writers, authors, and bloggers alike. It’s a good pick if you already have a solid body of work under your belt, even if you’re not quite as rock’n’roll as this guy. I like the minimalist layout of this theme, with its clean lines and dedicated content blocks for everything a writer could need – a biography, a portfolio of your work (whether that’s online articles or books), events, testimonials, and a blog. There’s also social share buttons and a contact form to help you build your following across multiple channels. The stylized animated widgets, including animated flip boxes, parallax scrolling effects, and animated countdowns (for example, to show the number of your active readers or books sold) are a nice touch for setting your website apart from the crowd.
Copywriter Layout Pack – Best for Portfolio WebsitesIf you’re looking for a theme for your online writing portfolio, the Copywriter Layout pack from Elegant Themes is a great option. It pairs a clean, white background and black chunks of text with quirky lines and splashes of bright color to create a fun, fresh feel. It’s part of Elegant Themes’s drag-and-drop website builder for WordPress called Divi, and it’s what’s known as a layout pack. Each layout pack contains several layouts (it helps to think of them as pages). The Copywriter pack has everything a writer looking for new commissions could need – an about page, a portfolio page for showcasing your work, pricing and services pages for detailing your rates, and a contact page. If you want a place to post updates, you can also add a blog.
Website Builder Templates
If you’re still undecided about building your website with WordPress, let me play devil’s advocate for just a moment and bring a second option to the table. If you’re not hugely confident with tech-related stuff, you might find that a website builder is a more user-friendly solution.
Website builders are a popular choice for beginners because they don’t require a scrap of technical know-how. Instead of forcing you to fiddle around with code, website builders let you put your site together using an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that shows you in real time what your site will look like. And if you start with a template for writers that comes with all of the features you need built-in, most of the hard work is already done.
You don’t even have to sacrifice on design, since most website builders come with lots of customization options. You can alter your template to match your personal brand, or update it every time you’ve got a new book coming out.
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Personal Profile – Best for Budding WritersI like the Personal Profile template from Wix because it’s simple and sweet, containing only a CV (portfolio) page, a blog, and a contact page, yet still strikes a vibrant note with its bold splashes of color. This would be a great option if you’re just starting out as a writer and want to put yourself on the map with a website that showcases your skills and experience. Writing blog posts is a great way to hone your craft and can also stand in for a portfolio while you’re racking up the bylines.
Author Portfolio – Best for Single-Page WebsitesIf you’re more established as a writer but still want a streamlined website, the Author Portfolio template from Wix might be more what you’re looking for. This stylish template is actually deceptively simple: it’s just a single web page with jump links to its different sections: books, reviews, bio, events, and contact. This structure is great if you want to share lots of information but don’t want to spend ages creating a big, complicated website with loads of different pages. Simply pick your color scheme, update the images and information, and hit publish! With minimal fuss and lots of call to action buttons, this promises to be an effective website – no matter whether you want visitors to buy your book, attend your events, or sign up for your mailing list. It would also be super easy to add an online store page for selling your books. Or, if you’re a journalist who’s been working on a long-form piece, you could stack different content blocks to create a seamlessly flowing story.
Tudor – Best for BloggersLots of website templates for writers include blogs, but not many of them place blogging front and center. This is why I like Tudor, an exceptionally well-designed offering from Squarespace with tons of great blogging features – including post categorization, a great way for prolific bloggers or journalists to order posts into different niches or topics. The attractive, mosaic-style homepage places the accent on your text and encourages visitors to dive straight into your posts. The loading animations are a quirky touch, as is the progress indicator on individual articles that shows the reader how much they’ve read.
Into the Woods – Best for PoetsWriting is a creative process, and SITE123 captures this perfectly with its dreamy Into the Woods template, designed with poets and authors in mind. I love the pairing of the bold, full-width header image with forest-green accents and clean text snippets. The poems section – a neat way of displaying poems, articles, or blog posts with accompanying images – lets you showcase your best work right on your homepage. The about section lets you tell your readers who you are, and the contact section allows avid fans to reach out to you.
How to Get a Custom Template for a Great Price
If you want a website template that’s totally unique (and doesn’t need a lot of work), I’ve got one final solution up my sleeve. Head over to Fiverr and look for a freelance website designer that’ll put together a custom template for you. It costs less than you think.
Simply enter “website template” into the search bar on Fiverr to bring up a list of freelancers who are more than capable of doing the job for you. You’ll be able to see their rates, reviews and even examples of their work. You can also filter by location, budget, and delivery time. Some can turn your order around in less than a week, if you’re really in a hurry.
For example, wdstheme promises to get your unique, responsive WordPress theme back to you within a week (the high number of 5-star reviews suggests he delivers on that promise) – and for just a few dollars. wdstheme is a Level 2 seller, meaning he has completed at least 50 orders with a minimum 4.7-star rating.
If you’re considering going down the website builder route, you can still get a custom template on Fiverr. Zykhanz, for example, can create a custom Squarespace template within 24 hours, and has more than fifty 5-star reviews.
The Right Template Should Grab Your Readers’ AttentionWhether you decide to use a website builder template or a WordPress theme, in the end your goal is the same. Your site should look great and encourage your visitors to stick around, whether that’s by reading your latest article or blog post, signing up to your mailing list, booking tickets for your next talk, or buying your latest book. The website templates on this list do both of those things. Plus, they’re customizable, meaning you can not only change how they look, but what they do. For instance, you could add an online store to sell your books, remove the portfolio section, or whatever else you need to do to make your website work for you. And, of course, if you’re short on time, you can always get an ultra-unique option by hiring a freelance designer from Fiverr.
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