Websites of the 10 Best-Selling Non-Fiction Authors of 2015

Did you hear? Websites are becoming more and more important.

For potential readers they represent a place to check out an author and get a sense for the book. Heck, people don’t even buy toothbrushes without checking online first.

For people who loved a book websites are a place to go back and get more information and connect with the author.

And for authors a website is the central hub for their entire author platform – the place to send everyone from everywhere for everything.

At last it seems authors and their publishers are finally starting to take note. All of the authors on this list have decent websites (as compared to this list from a few years ago). A few (probably with a little help from their publisher’s publicity team) have really nice websites .

Without further ado let’s check out the websites of the 10 best-selling non-fiction authors of 2015. I’ve added a few notes about each as you consider creating your own author website.

malala website design

1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala has a nice little site built on a simple Blogger theme. The strong reds and whites give a sense of urgency and the site is very sparse and simple. This thing is full of pictures of Malala and all about her current story. And why shouldn’t it be? A 16 year-old from Pakistan who’s a champion of children’s rights and a Nobel Peace Prize winner needs a website all about her.

It looks like since she’s on Google’s Blogger platform they’ve used the popularity of her site to drop in some ads in and try to make a little revenue.

 

naomi klein website design

2. Naomi Klein

Naomi’s site is…simple? But not like a “oooh, your site is so clean and simple.” It feels more like a missed opportunity. More like the blog of a financial researcher than the main website of an award-winning journalist writing shocking exposés about worldwide capitalism. With so much happening around her books there seems to be a lot more that could have been done here.

 

amy poehler website design

3. Amy Poehler

Amy and her team have built a site just for her new book Yes, Please. It’s simple but a lot of fun. The top section is all about getting you to click on a button and buy the book, but the bottom of the page is where the magic is. That part is populated with her publisher’s favorite Instagram photos tagged #AmySaysYesPlease – a great way to engage readers and use social media to promote her book.

 

laura hillenbrand website design

4. Laura Hillenbrand

Even though Laura has written other (best-selling) books, her author website focuses almost exclusively on her latest book Unbroken. The site is dense with extra content about it and includes some cool interactive features. With light text on a darkish background the words can sometimes be hard to read but we’ll forgive it for having so much else done right. The site is designed to reflect the seriousness of the book without going overboard.

 

fritjof capra website design

5. Fritjof Capra

I’m loving Fritjof’s site. There’s tons of info on here but the layout never feels cluttered. The design shows a bent towards his scientific writings but in a clean, fresh, even artistic way. Careful thought has been given to each page’s layout, photos, and content. Very nice.

 

atul gawande website design

6. Atul Gawande

Oooh, another favorite. Atul’s site is instantly striking and beautifully showcases the different elements of his life’s work. The checkmarks on the homepage are wonderful selection elements nicely designed and then used consistently throughout the site. The red color scheme ties him perfectly to the medical field and his books page is clean and enticing.

 

randall monroe website design

7. Randall Munroe

Randall made a name for himself writing the web-based comic xkcd. His book is an outgrowth of that comic, and with the new book Randall created a new subdomain on his site just for the book. Both sites are about as plain as can be. Like his illustrations the site is just the most economical way to get his content across.

 

lena dunham website design

8. Lena Dunham

Of all the sites in this list Lena’s is the most obviously curated and created by a specialized marketing team. Which is not a bad thing. The site is charming, retro, and well thought-out. The design parallels the feel of the book and brings a taste of nostalgia to those of us about Lena’s age. Don’t miss the great little section called Ask Lena which is full of fun little videos of Lena answering reader’s questions. Random House did a great job on this one.

 

lynsey addario website design

9. Lynsey Addario

Lynsey is a photographer. Her site is a nice, huge collection of images which is always easy to design for – just show off the photos! However it took forever for this site to load for me, if I hadn’t been writing this article I would have left before I saw anything.

 

erik larson website design

10. Erik Larson

Lastly we have Erik Larson. His author website has just about everything I think an author website needs, though the bright design seems at odds with the serious nature of his books (looks like it may be pretty congruent with his nature). However the oreos and pencil in his header are one of the funnest little elements I’ve seen on any site on the list.

 

Some final thoughts

My favorites from the list:

1. Atul Gawande – for having a great concept that was flawlessly executed.
2. Lena Dunham – for being quirky and fun without losing any usability.
3. Fritjof Capra – for its artistic treatment of scientific subjects.

Responsive Sites

Responsive websites customize their layout and interface based on the device you view it with. This is a huge boon to mobile/phone users – no one wants to try and read tiny text on a phone. Responsive design is not so much of a trend as it is making sure every visitor has an optimal experience. 4 out of the 10 sites in this list are responsive, so we have a little ways to go in this area.

WordPress Sites

WordPress is the leading content management system on the web and happens to be the platform that Apt Design builds all of its sites on. It doesn’t guarantee a good site, but its ease of use makes it great for authors looking to update their own website. Looks like 5 of the 10 sites use WordPress, so at least someone’s able to make some easy updates.

 

Are you looking for someone who’s built websites for some of today’s biggest authors, but still knows how to make an unpublished author happy? Good thing you read to the end – that’s me! Let’s talk about your new great author website.

Dr. Robert Rosenthal

Author

It was a pleasure to work with Brad at Apt Design. On the design front, his concepts were spot on, so we never got started on false trails. And he easily and accurately incorporated my feedback in a comfortable back-and-forth dialogue that resulted in a strong final product. I remain extremely pleased with the result.

Traci Mann

Author, Professor of Psychology

Brad is an incredible designer. My book’s website is exactly what I wanted, even though I couldn’t even begin to articulate what I wanted before talking to Brad. Not only is the website wonderful, but he finished it faster than he promised, and he was great to work with. I am so glad I hired Brad for this project. I am absolutely delighted with the results.

His ability to grasp an organization’s goals and translate them into images is pitch-perfect. With his upbeat attitude and timely delivery, he is a real pleasure to work with.

Rolf Boone

Blogger

Brad provided very clear and understandable (for those of us who are tech challenged) directions on the process, explaining the steps he would take to build and design the site, as well as the input he wanted from me, and the training involved once the site was complete. Brad, who has a sharp eye for design, ran with it and produced a great site. He does good work.

I had a terrific experience working with Brad. He was at all times flexible, patient, and responsive. Above all, Brad is a terrific person and working with him was a pleasure.

I really can’t recommend Brad highly enough. He’s come through for us time after time, and always delivers outstanding work. His sites are beautiful and functional works of art. Brad has designed the websites for some of our biggest authors. You know he’ll deliver an amazing site, right on schedule.

Brad made the process of developing my web site not only painless, but positively enjoyable. His enthusiastic, “can-do” attitude permeated every discussion we had. I would recommend him to any writer looking to develop a web site!

Susan Lagsdin

former Executive Director of Write On The River

Brad’s design work is creative and impeccable — and best of all, he listens well and asks all the right questions, with no assumptions about his clients’ experience.

Carol Scibelli

Humor Writer & Speaker

I chose Apt Design because Brad’s websites stood out from all the others I saw. The bonus was that besides his talent he is also a joy to work with.

Justen Forge

Author

EVERY project he works on is the most important project to him, and that’s how he makes you feel through his accessibility, responsiveness, communication and professionalism.

Kirk Douponce

Owner of DogEared Design

Apt Design is a pleasure to work with. They always meet or beat their deadlines with consistent creativity.

Ona Russell

Author and Speaker

As an author, I wanted something that would showcase my books, but do so by telling a kind of story. And that is exactly what Brad accomplished. The finished product is beautiful, evocative and efficient, just like a great novel.

After scouring dozens of author websites I contacted Brad – because his designs are clean and tight, and he is easy to work with. From inspecting his initial concept drafts, it was clear that selecting Brad was the right move.

James Townsend

James Townsend, Author and Co-Owner of The Human Condition

Brad’s creative insight is easily accessible through constant communication and feedback. He’s concerned about your vision, and it shows in the final product. He has a consistent devotion to making your vision a reality.

Emma Otheguy

Children's Author

Brad effectively translated my half-formed ideas into a beautiful website, and he gave me lots of choices and allowed plenty of feedback. He also did a great job making the web design flexible enough to evolve with my needs.

Robert Howard

Author

Brad came up with a powerful visual look and graphic design that tied together the various “chapters” in my story. What’s more, he is a pleasure to work with—a great listener and highly collaborative!

Brad is a complete professional and a pleasure to work with — he’s intuitive, creative, responsive and reliable.

Jennifer Skiff

Best-selling Author

Hiring Brad Fitzgerald to create my website was the greatest gift I gave to myself in 2013. He is a pleasure to work with!