Whoah! That’s a long title. It’s not very clickbaity either. But I hope it at least tells you exactly what to expect from this post.
Yes, that’s right: in this post, you’re going to learn all about a very special ind of WordPress theme. One which will rocket you to superstardom and send your author career into the stratosphere.
OK, so maybe not. But adding a link to your newsletter signup page to your homepage, and one that looks fantastic and is easy to spot, will help you get more newsletter signups. And who knows, that successful newsletter may be the difference between writing being your hobby, and it being your career.
So without any further ado, here is a list of some free themes for self-hosted WordPress sites that include a banner image you can add a link to: meaning that when someone clicks on that banner image, they’ll be directed to your newsletter signup page. Which I’m assuming you’ve already created and turned into a tempting, attractive and irresistible page which people would be insane to leave without signing up to your awesome author newsletter.
Example Author Websites with Banner Images
Here are some examples of banner images on author websites. Most of these will be custom themes but they give you a good idea of the kind of thing you should be aiming to achieve. You’ll be able to create something similar with the themes I recommend.
When it comes to building newsletters, Mark Dawson knows his onions. So unsurprisingly, his website has a prominent banner that takes up the whole screen when you visit the homepage, and gives you the opportunity to download free books if you join his mailing list.
Orna Ross is an author and poet, and the founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors. On her website, a banner below the main header gives you the opportunity to sign up and get a free book and weekly email.
Adam Croft is a bestselling thriller author. His banner is the most obvious of the lot – large orange text and a brief message telling you what you get if you sign up. Unmissable.
Well, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to include my own banner, could I? The home page for my fiction site includes a custom image with part of the cover of my reader magnet, with information about what it’s about.
So now you have an idea of the kind of thing you’re aiming to achieve with your home page banner. Now let’s take a look at some free WordPress themes that’ll let you achieve it.
Before you install and set up one of these themes, you’ll need an image you can use as your banner. It should include an image of your reader magnet and some text enticing people to find out more, and should be visually arresting so people can’t just scroll past it.
I’d recommend having an image ready so you know roughly waht the dimension are, but waiting until you’ve picked a theme before you finalize it. This is because with some themes, you add text over the image, so you want any space in your image to be behind that text. While in other themes, the image is all people see, so you;ll be adding the text to the image.
In most of the examples below, the theme uses a home page slider to add an image, text and/or a link. You can just add one image linking to your newsletter signup page. Or if you want, you could add a second image to your slider, maybe taking people to somewhere they can buy your latest book.
The Hestia theme is my favorite of this list. Here’s its description on the WordPress.org site:
Hestia is a modern WordPress theme for professionals. It fits creative businesses, small businesses (restaurants, wedding planners, sport/medical shops), startups, corporate businesses, online agencies and firms, portfolios, ecommerce (WooCommerce), and freelancers. It has a multipurpose one-page design, widgetised footer, blog/news page and a clean look. It is compatible with Flat Parallax Slider, Photo Gallery, Travel Map and Elementor Page Builder. The theme is responsive, WPML and Retina ready, SEO friendly, and uses Material Kit for design.
The feature that lets you add a banner with a link is the ‘Big Title Section’ feature. This lets you add a background image, a logo, text and a button with a link. All of this is customizable and you can choose which elements you have on and which you disable.
The Sento theme is a clean theme with a grid-based layout and plenty of customization options. Here’s its description from WordPress.org:
Sento is the free version of the multi-purpose professional theme (Sento Pro) ideal for a business or blog website. The theme has a responsive layout, HD retina ready and comes with a powerful theme options panel with can be used to make awesome changes without touching any code. The theme also comes with a full width easy to use slider. Easily add a logo to your site and create a beautiful homepage using the built-in homepage layout.
To add a clickable header image, you turn on the home page slider, to which you can add text over an image plus a link to any page in the site. Again, you can add multiple images if you want, or just the one.
Shuttle is less a theme, more a library of free themes. These have similar functionality but different designs, so you can choose the one that suits you the most.
Here’s the description for one of the child themes, Shuttle Blog:
Shuttle Blog is the awesome free version of Shuttle Pro. It is really good for professionals. If you want to make a business, for big or small this theme is good for you. So if it is a restaurant, sport, medical, startup, corporate, business, ecommerce, portfolio, freelancers or any type of online agency or firm you will want to use this cool design. It had a multi-purpose design with widget areas in footer, so now even easy to make blog / news website which looks really clean and professional. The theme is responsive, WPML, Polylang, Retina ready, SEO friendly, and is a super design. Shuttle is fast and lightweight and can be used for any type of website, fully compatible with eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce an JigoShop. Whether you are building a website for yourself, your business or are a freelancer building websites for your cliente, Shuttle is the perfect choice. Plus if works with all the major page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, Divi, SiteOrigin and so much more!
To add a clickable banner to any of the Shuttle themes, you create a slider, to which you can add text, a button and a link. It works in a very similar way to Sento.
I’m still researching for this list, and will be adding more in the coming days, Watch this space!!!