NOTE: This is tailored toward authors but these tips can benefit anyone.
A website is a must-have for authors. A blog is good but websites are better landing places for readers to get all the news about you and your books. It’s where readers will go to more often. Having one also makes a good impression. It says you are serious. (Please don’t think that translates to that you’re not serious if you don’t have a website, because that’s not what I mean.) But having a website is a good sign. Agents and publishers like to see that, and readers will think you’re more established even if you’re new.
If you want to create a website, follow these steps:
1. Research website hosts.
There are a lot of website hosts out there like GoDaddy.com and many more. Not all of them are equal. Their rates differ, some offer more, some offer less. Google website hosts, ask authors you know what host they use for their site, and weigh the pros and cons before you commit. FYI: I use Wordpress.com for my website.
2. Think long and hard about your URL.
2. Think long and hard about your URL.
You’re going to have a DOT COM! This is something that will be on the Internet for everyone to see. You don’t want to mess it up. The first and best option is to use your name/pen name. Mine is www.ChrysFey.com. Simple and easy to remember. You can add “author” to it if you need to.
TIP: Do a Google search to make sure the web URL you want is not already being used.
3. After you decide on a web host and URL, make your payment…make it permanent!
4. Spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of the site before you do anything.
5. Once you feel comfortable with the site, pick a layout. You can use a free one, one you have to pay for, or have someone create one for you and implement it. On Wordpress, it’s easy to choose and set up a layout.
6. Add a banner if you can. Make it unique to you and your brand.
7. Work on the Home page. Make it the static post if you have to (like with Wordpress), so it’s the first thing everyone will see when they go to your website.
Things to add to a Home page:
- Welcome message.
- An announcement if you have a new book release, an upcoming event, or a giveaway going on.
- An event calendar if you do a lot of book signings or author visits.
- Fun insights into one of your books or characters.
TIP: Update news and announcements periodically. And try to change up your Home page every 1-2 months. Make it fresh for returning guests.
8. If you have a sidebar, spice it up. (In Wordpress.com you can add widgets.)
Things to add to the sidebar:
- Your author photo.
- Social media icons.
- Images of your published books.
- A list of pages on your website.
- And whatever else you think is important. On my website I have a grab button for my website and an icon for my publisher.
9. Create pages that your readers can click on and explore.
Possible pages you can create:
- About Me (with your complete bio and links.)
- My Books (with the cover art, blurbs, and links for all of your published books.)
- Blog (You can use a direct link to your blog, so when someone clicks on the tab it’ll bring them right to it.)
- Press Kit (see: How to Create a Press Kit)
- Newsletter (If you have a newsletter, create a page that’ll take a visitor to the opt-in form.)
- Services (If you do editing or cover art work, set up a page to talk about these services and how someone can hire you.)
- FAQ (If you get a lot of questions about your books or services, create a page to highlight these questions and show your answers.)
- Testimonials (of your services, writing and blog to show potential clients and readers how professional you are.)
- Freebies (This is good for someone who has eBooks that are always free. You can also add giveaways as you host them.)
- Contact Me (Include your email, social media links, and a form so a visitor can send a message right from that page.)
You can also have drop-down links, so if someone hovers over a page, more will reveal themselves. I have a few drop-downs on my website. One of my pages is called Fan Fun and the drop-down pages are: Book Extras, Recipes + Excerpts, and Flash Fiction + Poetry.
10. Get creative! Make your website reflect you, your style and your books. Explore the websites of your favorite authors to get some ideas.
TIP: Get people to come to your website by offering something new daily, weekly, or monthly and by promoting that.
When your site is how you want it to look, let everyone know about it! Add the URL to your email signature, to your social media sites and your business card if you have one.
QUESTIONS: Do you have a website? What do you like to see on an author’s website?
To join this monthly blog hop visit Michael G D'Agostino's blog.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever met an idol/influence/someone you really admire? How did it go? (If you haven’t met any of your idols before, talk about the person you’d like to meet.)
If I could meet one of my idols, it would be Lady Gaga. She is extremely talented, unafraid to speak up for what she believes in, and is proud to be exactly who she is, even if others don’t like it or understand it. I’ve been a fan of hers almost from the beginning. I saw her range and talents when she performed live (on TV) years ago—way before she surprised everyone with her tribute to Julie Andrews and sang the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. Yes, I even liked her wacky style back in the day, and designed several outfits inspired by her.
I image us drinking tea on a pretty couch and discussing everything from being bullied to creativity and female empowerment. She is so wise and intelligent that I know I’d walk away from that meeting feeling twice the woman I was before.
Check out this moving performance she did at the Oscars: