Today’s author has to be more tech-savvy than the previous generations before if not, they risk being left behind. It’s a blessing and a curse. Sure, we’re free to create hubs that are independent of a publisher but there is so much work and information to digest that many authors just avoid it. I know I am guilty, I put off building my website for about a year. But if you want to self-publish and secure sales on your own, independent of Amazon, or any corporate entity then, a website is a necessity. So let’s get started…
You need to claim or register a domain name first. Usually, authors claim their names/pseudonyms, book titles, or company name. I’ve purchased two domains, one for my author name Rachel Rueben and the other, for my business/blog, Writing By The Seat Of My Pants. Typically, a domain name will cost you anywhere from $2 to $20 a year. Yes, you must renew yearly or biyearly, or risk losing your domain name.
To get you started, here are just a few services that get high marks from their customers.
Themes are just templates that people can use to personalize their website. One must have a little tech knowledge to make this work, but it’s not over the average person’s head. If you can personalize a blog, and know a little HTML, you’re halfway there. A website template can be free or cost you thousands depending on how complicated you want to make your website.
Most popular websites like CNN and even eBay use WordPress because it is considered the gold standard in website building. So if you want to DIY your site you should definitely check out WordPress.org. However, if you’re not tech-savvy then I suggest the following paid services which can help you build your website. They can handle domain registration, theme design, and even web hosting:
What should be on this Website?
Your website doesn’t need to flashy, but it does need to be easy to read and use. A website’s main purpose is to tell people who you are, what’s for sale, and how to buy it. It also needs to be mobile friendly so people can access it on their smartphones. Here are more things that should be included on your website:
- A Contact Page: On this page ought to be your professional email address and social media handles.
- Bio Page: A bio page should tell people who you are and what you write. Also, a photo wouldn’t hurt.
- Media Kit: A place where you offer your bio, contact info, and the name of your books to the media. There should be a downloadable form of the information in case someone wants to download it or print it.
- Sales Page: Let people know where and how to purchase your books. It should include gripping sales copy and links to retailers.
- Hire Me/Available for Speaking Engagements: If you’re interested in securing any business, like paid speaking engagements, consulting, or hosting special events like workshops or seminars then, this is a must.
Here are a few examples of good author websites:
I chose these websites because there’s something to learn from all of them. Some authors as you can see emphasize their books or their email list while some authors simply promote themselves. You should think hard about what’s important to you and how you’ll present yourself to the world.
What if You Can’t Afford any of this?
Another alternative a lot of indies on a tight budget do is use a free WordPress.com blog as their website and link their domain name to it. Other services like Wix, SquareSpace, and Weebly also offer free services but they’re very limited.
Keep in mind a website is imperative for an author these days, you need something to send people to in order to find out more about you. Sorry folks, but Facebook and Twitter aren’t enough. It’s too restrictive. You can’t sell your books directly, or even run contests without a heap of rules, which by the way, are constantly changing. You need something you own. A place where you can’t be censored or harassed by someone else’s rules.
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