Award-winning Author Tessa Afshar gets a website makeover

When award-winning author, Tessa Afshar, contracted with Tyndale House Publishers, they mutually decided to refresh her website.

We built Tessa’s original website several years ago, before mobile-friendly websites were a necessity. Tessa loved the design of that website, and asked us to retain as much of the original look as possible, while converting her custom site to responsive design.

Responsive web design enables a site’s design to seamlessly reconfigure to work perfectly on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

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In addition to penning historical novels, Tessa works full-time in ministry. So she has limited time to blog or publish e-newsletters. But she’s very active on her Facebook page, so she asked us to embed a live feed to her Facebook page on the Home page of her website.

Extended Video Trailer

Tessa partnered with Tyndale House to film a compelling video about her new novel, Land of Silence. The video is featured on her Home page. It also appears on the Land of Silence book details page and on her Media page.

Why put a video on three pages of a website?

Many website visitors do not check out every page of a site. They typically land on the Home page, and, in the case of an author, they’ll next visit either the “About” page or the “Books” page(s). Featuring a well-done video on several pages increases the chances of the video getting noticed by a wider variety of visitors to Tessa’s site.

Why you should NOT upload videos directly to your website

Tessa’s video is just over 4 minutes, but even a relatively short video can gobble up a site’s bandwidth, causing the site to load sluggishly (particularly on smartphones).

When featuring videos on a website, it’s best to upload the video(s) to a video hosting service such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia and embed the sharing link to that video on your site. The video player will display and users can watch it without leaving your site.

Behind the scenes of Tessa’s website

We created custom features in the WordPress dashboard that make it easy for Tessa to add new images to her online photo albums and to add new book pages as her books near their publication date.

One custom feature I particularly like: On her “Books” page, we built a “featured book” area so Tessa can give top billing to a particular title. When you view the “Books” page on a desktop computer, you’ll see that Land Of Silence gets the space of honor by itself, at the top of the page. | Custom, responsive design WordPress website | Built by

About her new site, Tessa says,

“I love the site. Laura and her team designed a complex and detailed, yet friendly, inviting site that is easy to navigate… a truly amazing job on all fronts!”

Tip from Tessa: Creating a launch team for your book

Tessa’s new novel, Land of Silence, releases May 1. In preparation for the book’s release, Tessa “auditioned” fans for her launch team. Here’s the invite she posted on Facebook:

“It’s audition time! We are creating a launch team for my upcoming novel, Land of Silence, and want at least 25 of my most committed, passionate fans to help spread the word. If you have a presence on social media, or influence with a book club or local store, and want to get others excited for Elianna’s story, comment below explaining why YOU should be on Team Tessa. For those chosen, there will be chocolate bars and much gratitude.”

I love this “audition” invite and will borrow it next time I build a launch team for an author client. Her invitation sounds warm, friendly, gentle, and professional. I’m pretty sure she received way more than 25 responses to her query!

Ready for a new website?

The Blogging Bistro team specializes in building custom, responsive design WordPress websites. In addition to creating Tessa’s site, we’ve recently built sites for a professional photographer, a real estate broker, and a restauranteur. We’re currently working on a website for a mental health professional.

Learn more about our website services here. View samples of sites we’ve built recently at our Website Portfolio.

If you think we’d be a good fit, book an appointment for a free, no-obligation needs assessment. Call Laura Christianson at 425-244-4242 or email

  • Tamara Leigh

    Lovely makeover. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thanks Tamara. I just looked through my archived photo files from Tessa’s site and discovered that this was a makeover of a makeover of a makeover! Someone else created her first site, and a few years ago, we designed & developed the second one… and now the third rendition. It’s so much fun to work with people like Tessa and her publishers long-term.