Build Your Own Author Website Header

I can’t begin to tell you how many frustrating hours, days, and months I worked to create the website header for my original author website. I went as far as to purchase a program called Photo Shop Elements 10 and then spent months learning how to use the program in order to come up with an image that worked for me.

For one thing, it’s hard to find images that are not protected by copyright. For another, size matters. Stretching images to fit the required header dimensions often distorts them. Cropping doesn’t always work either. And then comes the issue of fonts and font placement.

Don’t get me started.

Since then I discovered a website called Canva (Thanks, Jane Friedman) that saved the day when it came to creating the website banner for my Book-Snapper theme.

And that’s what I want to share with you today.

Assuming that you’ve purchased and installed Book-Snapper (or an equivalent) author theme for your website, let’s get started.

First, go to the Appearance menu on the vertical panel below the Dashboard to your Book-Snapper author website. On the pop-out that appears, click Theme Options. There you will see a screen that looks like this:

Book-Snapper Theme Options

From there click Banner. Under the Banner image, notice that it says “Enter your 960px x 400px banner image here. Yikes! That’s one big banner.

No problem. Let’s head to Canva.

Once there, create a free account and log in.

In the right upper corner under your account name and profile, you’ll see “Use Custom Dimensions” in small letters.

Click on it and two boxes will pop up for width and height. Enter 960 and 400 px (if you’re creating a header for the Book-Snapper theme) and click Design.

You’ll be taken to a page with a blank box the exact dimensions that you’ll need for your website banner.

If you know the type of picture or symbol that you’d like to incorporate into your header (likely an image that matches the color and theme of your book or book series), enter the keyword/keywords into the search box.

Just for fun, let’s go with: Mystery Book

In my search, I found an empty book that I figured might work okay, so I dragged it onto my banner box.

Then I added the text: “Author” and “My Life is an Open Book.”

I left plenty of room on the right side of my book image for the Opt-in box that will appear in the Book-Snapper theme banner with a link to the first chapter of my book.

I then hit download “As an image” and paid $1.00 for the following:

Canva

Okay, it’s not much, but this was done in a rush for demonstration purposes only.

Here’s another quick demonstration of something you can do.

I uploaded a picture of myself to Canva from my computer.  I could have added a frame to the picture, changed the color of the text, or any number of things.

Canva Image for Website Header

Just remember to leave enough space in the right corner of your 960px x 400px space for the opt in box (if you’re building a header for the Book-Snapper theme). If you choose not to include a opt-in box in your header, you can fill in the entire space with images and text.

It’s easy to get creative here. You’ll notice in the second banner I created that there were water marks. That’s because I didn’t want to pay for the second download for this demo.

Below is the banner I created after my third attempt.

Canva Image for Author Website Header

Go ahead and give it a try. And keep experimenting until you get it right. Remember, you can download a watermarked copy at Canva for free if you just want to try your banner out on your website before you commit to a final copy.

When you’re satisfied with the banner you’ve created:

  • Go back to Appearance>Book Snapper
  • Click Banner
  • Remove the Book Snapper banner that came with your theme
  • Upload your new banner from where you’ve saved it on your computer
  • Hit the “Save Option” at the bottom of the box.

Don’t worry about the title for your subscription opt-in box for now. If you like, you can set the “Select On to Display” button to “off” until you’ve decided where your email list will be stored (Mail Chimp was my choice) and what you’ll be sending your subscribers as an incentive to opt-in.

Go ahead and click on your website address in the top left corner above your dashboard and see how your site is starting to take form.

Then pat yourself on the shoulder for a job well done.

P.S. In the end, I recognized my limitations in the art department and had my book cover artist create the header you see below for my author website, which probably won’t be my last.

One of the good things about creating your own author website is that you can make changes whenever you want.

 

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About Margaret Duarte

Although warned by agents and publishers that labeling her work Visionary Fiction was the “kiss of death,” Margaret Duarte refused to concede. “In a world riddled with fear, misunderstanding, and lost hope,” she says, “I believe there are people prepared to transcend the boundaries of their five senses and open to new thoughts and ideas. The audience is ready for fiction that heals, empowers, and bridges differences.” Margaret joined forces with other visionary fiction writers to create the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a website dedicated to bringing visionary fiction into the mainstream and providing visionary fiction writers with a place to call home. In December 2015, Margaret launched BETWEEN WILL AND SURRENDER, book one of her "Enter the Between" visionary fiction series. Through her novels, which synthesize heart and mind, science and spirituality, Margaret encourages readers to activate their gifts, retire their excuses, and stand in their own authority. Margaret is a former middle school teacher and lives on a California dairy farm with her family and a herd of "happy cows," a constant reminder that the greenest pastures are closest to home.
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4 Responses to Build Your Own Author Website Header

  1. That’s a stunning final header by your hired artist created Margaret. Thanks for sharing this resource – it’s a useful one!

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  2. Margaret Duarte says:

    Yes Saleena. She’s quite talented. Plus she charged very little to create the header. I’m sure other cover artists will do the same.

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  3. SW Hammond says:

    This stuff can be a total pain–especially if you feel out of your element. I build sites, do graphic design, and a lot print advertising in my “daily” life. I welcome anyone here a VFA to reach out if they have questions, need advice, or a bit of help getting their project just right. If it’s something easy, no charge–just happy to help!

    http://www.surfstarmedia.com

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  4. Thanks SW. We are currently working on improving the VFA website, thinking seriously about using a different theme, making changes to our landing page and overhauling our bookstore with a new plugin, etc. We’re open to suggestions, especially from someone who’s been there, done that. I’ll pass on your offer to our staff.

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