Last week, we released our first industry-specific theme — Bookwise — and we’re super proud of the feedback we’ve received.
So this week, I got a little creative.
What if I created an awesome, professionally designed website for a famous writer… like Shakespeare?
What would that look like?
Find out today as I use Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Architect, and Bookwise to design a website for one of the greatest writers to ever live.
This won’t just be super fun – it’s educational, too.
You get to learn how to create a professional website for your author or writer-preneur brand – without writing a single line of code!Are you ready? Let’s go…
Have You Met Bookwise?
Bookwise is a brand new companion theme for Thrive Theme Builder, designed specifically for self-published and independent authors.
This is the perfect theme to showcase your books, promote your personal author brand, and build a community of engaged readers who love your work.
Bookwise uses Smart Color Technology, totally customizable fonts, and specially designed author and book-focused features to create a professional feel for your writer brand.And today, I’m going to show you what William Shakespeare’s website would look like if it were built using Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Architect, and the Bookwise theme.
Wireframing Your Website in Thrive Theme Builder
Whether this is your first time building a website, or you have 10+ years of web design experience, you should always plan out your website before building it.
Luckily, Thrive Theme Builder’s setup wizard helps you get this done in a matter of minutes.
First, you’ll need to select a companion theme:
Since this is a tutorial for building a website for authors and writer-preneurs, you’ll want to select the Bookwise companion theme.
Now, let’s go through the wizard.
The setup wizard covers two core parts of your website – branding and structure.
- 1Upload your logo - preferably a dark version for use on light backgrounds and a light version for use on dark backgrounds.
- 2Select a brand color - you can always change it later. Thanks to Smart Color Technology, when you change your main brand color, it will update your entire smart color palette automatically across all your website’s theme controlled pages
This process includes selecting your header template, footer template, homepage template, blog post template, and other important cornerstones of your website.
Bookwise comes with pre-built templates for each, so all you need to do is choose the designs you like best to wireframe your site fast.
When selecting your homepage template in Bookwise, you have two options to choose from: an author-focused homepage design or book-focused homepage design. Pick the one that best fits the needs of your website and then complete the rest of the wizard.
Once you’ve gone through every step in the setup wizard, you’re ready to start customizing your website with Thrive Architect.
Designing & Customizing Your Homepage with Thrive Architect
When you complete the site setup wizard in Thrive Theme Builder, a homepage will be generated for you.
Select the option “Edit with Thrive Architect” to start customizing your homepage.
Here are a few tips for customizing each section of your homepage template in Bookwise:
If using the author-focused homepage template, make sure to use a good, high quality image of yourself for the hero section background. Also, choose a plain background when taking your hero photo, so that it doesn’t clash with any text overlays.
The Bookwise templates also provide you with a lot of fill-in-the-blank style tutorialized text like “Author Name” and “Author of [Book, Series or Genre]”. This tutoriliazed text makes fleshing your website out with engaging, conversion-focused copy easy – no more writer’s block!
To make your hero section even more impressive, add a compelling review of one of your books.
Use this section to introduce yourself to your new visitors and share a few lines on who you are, why you write, and why they should give your work a chance.
Don’t forget to include a high-quality headshot here, too.
Book Covers Section
The homepage templates in Bookwise come with a “Book Covers” section, where you can showcase and link to the books you’ve written with a visually stunning image gallery.
Simply swap out the template images with your own book covers, and remove the caption text if need be.
The cover images for Shakespeare’s “books” already have the titles included in the image, so with the template’s caption text removed, this is how it looks:
That’s what your visitors will think when they come across this section on your homepage.
Got a meet-and-greet coming up? Another book signing?
Use the “Events” section on the homepage to highlight your upcoming events so fans know where to find you.
Since Shakespeare is no longer with us, I skipped this section in the tutorial, but you’ll find that it’s super easy to change the dates, add additional information about an upcoming event, and swap out the images for posters or relevant photos to promote the events you’ll be hosting or attending.
Reviews are everything – and that’s why you need to include your strongest ones on your homepage.
Impress your site visitors and gain more of their trust by highlighting what other readers or critics have said about your work.
Tease interested readers with an exciting excerpt from one of your books. Fill in the section with a compelling call to action and links to where readers can purchase your books.
Awards & Lead-Gen Section
If you’ve won any prestigious awards, or have stats about your books that you’d like to show off, then this section is for you.
Modify the statistics with a couple of clicks, and use the sign up form to get your site visitors to subscribe to your newsletter (if you have one).
Add, Shuffle or Delete Entire Pre-Built Section Designs
With Bookwise’s Block templates, you can also add, move or delete section designs as you like from your homepage, in just a few clicks.
Need to add a review section to the page? Easy.
Just drop a Block element onto the page, select the pre-built design you're looking for, and start customizing it to fit your needs.
Want to move or delete a lead generation section? No problem.
Simply drag-and-drop the entire design to a new area of the page, or delete it entirely to get rid of it.
Creating a “Books Overview” Page
Once you’ve completed your homepage, I recommend adding a “Books Overview” page to your website so visitors can learn more about the books you’ve written.
In your WordPress backend, create a new page, give it a new page title like “Books Overview” and open the page with Thrive Architect.
You’ll be given four options to choose from before you can start building your page. Since Bookwise comes with a pre-built “Books Overview” page template, select the “Pre-built Landing Page” option.
Scroll down until you see the “Books Overview” template and select it.
Swap out the default book image for a book cover image of your own and replace the tutorialized text with relevant text about your book.
Here’s what Shakespeare’s “Books Overview” page would look like after filling in the information for one of his books:
I’m sure you’ve noticed the “Learn More” button underneath the description text. This button should direct your visitors to an individual page for that specific book.
But you’ll need to create that page first. Lucky for you, Bookwise also includes an individual book page template you can use to provide more detail on your book.
Building an “Individual Book” Page for Each of Your Books
Once again, create a new page in the WordPress dashboard, give the page a title and then hit the “Launch Thrive Architect” button.
Select the “Pre-built Landing Page” option and scroll down until you find the Individual Book page template. Click the template, wait for it to load in Thrive Architect, and start customizing the page.
You can add your book’s cover image as well as a compelling heading in the hero section to encourage your readers to keep scrolling to learn more about the book.
I didn’t include this part in my video, but you’ll find a Block template underneath the hero section where you can add a detailed description about your book.
In this section you can also introduce the main characters of your book as well as provide a brief description of the plot.
The Individual Book Page template also includes a Reviews Section where you can highlight what readers and critics have said about this specific book.
And don’t forget to add a section that shows your visitors where and how they can buy your book!
Last, but not least, this page template also includes a teaser section that can double as a lead generation form. Offer your site visitors the chance to sign up to read the first chapter of your book for free —or other exclusive content — to help get them hooked and wanting to buy the book to finish your story.
Creating a Webinar Page for an Upcoming Event
Shakespeare won’t be hosting a webinar anytime soon, but you might.
Bookwise includes multiple webinar page templates you can use to promote upcoming events and get more people to sign up. Like all the other templates in Bookwise, this one is also fully customizable.
Create a compelling hero section with a photo of you, as well as a strong call to action to get your visitors to reserve their spot.
Give your visitors more detail on what they can expect from the webinar, as well as the time and date the event will be held.
Don’t leave your visitors guessing. Use the “What You’ll Learn” section to give them clear information on how they’ll benefit from attending your webinar.
Lastly, this webinar page template includes a really neat countdown timer you can use to build anticipation and persuade your site visitors with time scarcity to sign up.
It’s Time to Build *Your* Indie Author Website
Now that you’ve seen how to create a professional indie author website with Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Architect, and Bookwise…
… it’s your turn to build a website to sell your stories.
Bookwise comes with everything you need to showcase your books, promote your personal author brand, and build a community of engaged readers who love your work.