The Argument for Spending Money Part 7: Author Websites


author-websites-via-pixabay
Pic via Pixabay

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 sort of a curse.  Sure, we’re free to create our own hubs independent of a publisher but there’s so much work and information to digest.  Many authors just avoid it.  I myself am guilty, I put off building my own 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.

Domain Names

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 $3.98 to $19 a year. Yes, you must renew yearly, or risk losing your domain name.

To get you started, here are just a few services that get high marks from their customers.

You may notice I didn’t list GoDaddy.com that’s because after last year’s DNS issue, which forced millions of businesses offline, I honestly didn’t think they were the best bet.  Also, there are many complaints about the company spamming their customers and having hidden fees.

Themes/Templates

Themes are just templates that people can use to personalize their own website.  One must have a little tech knowledge in order to make this work, but it’s not over the average person’s head.  If you can personalize a blog, you’re halfway there.  This can cost anywhere from $30-$400 for a basic site.

Freelance Web Designers

If you have no tech skills then you need to call someone who does.  Most freelance web designers work either by the hour or based on a given budget.

Web Hosts

Now that you have an idea about what you want your website to look like, you’re going to need a web host.  Web hosts offer space on their servers so that your website can be store and accessed on the world wide web.  Usually, people are charge by what kind of traffic they expect to their site.  The more people who visit your site, the more you will have to pay, or you risk having your site crash.  The lowest price per month is $3.95 to $19.95.

What Should be on this Website?

Your website doesn’t need to flashy, but it does need to be easy to read, and even easier to use.  A website’s main purpose it 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 smart phones.

  1. Contact Page: On this page ought to be an email address or post box.
  2. Bio Page:  You need to tell people what you write and why.  Also, a photo wouldn’t hurt.
  3. Media Kit: A place where you offer your bio, contact info and the name of your books.  You also alert them to whether you’re available for speeches or interviews.
  4. Portfolio:  Show people what you’ve written in the past either web or magazine articles/stories if applicable.
  5.  Sales Page:  Let people know where and how to purchase your books.
  6. Newsletter Sign Up Form: This could include a pop-up or a simple plugin on the side bar.

What if You Can’t Afford it?

Another alternative a lot of indies on a tight budget do is use a free  Blogger.com or  WordPress.com blog as their website and link their domain name to it.

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.  Some place where you can’t be censored or harassed by someone else’s rules.

Okay, now that’s over, tell me about your website.  List it in the comments so we can all give it a looksy.

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8 thoughts on “The Argument for Spending Money Part 7: Author Websites

  1. Just about to enter the world of launching a website. Very frightened. Looking to purchase two domain names, but even that I’ve read is a shady business, filled with loopholes and scams. I’m so scared.

    1. If you’re truly afraid, get a recommendation from another person you trust. Everyone and their mother sells domain names even WordPress.com can help you out.

      Start slow and small, don’t buy the big packages, start with the lowest priced bundles and work your way up. The key is to keep it simple and professional looking.

  2. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.

    I am trying to find things to enhance my web site!
    I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  3. I have designed a website for an author and am investigating your keywords suggestions. Do keywords still work in SEO? Looking forward to your next article

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