Making an Author Website
Welcome to Day Two!
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about your platform, it’s time to start setting everything up. Let’s jump right into the first, most fundamental part: your author website.
1. Decide Where to Set Up Your Website
You don’t have to hire an expensive web designer to create your author website. In fact, you don’t even have to pay for one. You can set up a simple website using sites like Wix or WordPress. Just be aware that with these sites, you won’t have a custom domain. For example, if you sign up for a free account on WordPress.com, your website address will be:
If you want your website to be “myauthorname.com,” then you’ll have to pay an annual fee. This is usually about $10-20/year, which is not bad considering how important an author website is!
2. Choose a Good Domain Name
Your domain name, also called your URL, is the address people will type in when they want to visit your author website.
Try to think like your potential fans: they want to find your website, so their natural instinct will be to do a Google search of your name. If you own the website “myauthorname.com,” then your website will show up right away.
If possible, pick your author name. Also, use .com, since most people when they search for a website default to “yourname.com,” not “yourname.net” or “yourname.org.” If you find that someone out there has the same name as you, then add the word author—i.e. if you are Joe Pratt, then “joeprattauthor.com.”
3. Keep Your Website Simple
Think again like one of your potential fans. They have just clicked onto your website from Twitter or Facebook or found you in a Google search. When they arrive, they will want to know a few important things:
• Who you are
• What you write
• How to contact you
• Where else to find you
Your goal is to make sure these four things can be found on every single page. You can do this by having a simple navigation menu across the top of your website with these three items:
• Books (links to the books page)
• About AUTHOR (links to your bio page—replace “AUTHOR” with your name so it will be more personal)
If you have a blog or other place you spend a lot of your author time online, you can add that to the navigation menu, but keep it simple. If you have extra fan material or a special newsletter people can sign up for (or another promotion you want to showcase), that can have its own link too.
Have no more than five links in your navigation menu. For example, if you have a fitness blog that has nothing to do with your author brand, it doesn’t belong on the main author menu.
In creating a website, the foremost part of your author platform, you can do so for only $10-20/year, and you should try have a domain with your author name in it. Your website is the central hub of your author platform, so you want to make sure someone searching for you not only finds it when they google your name but also lands on a website that offers to tell them, on every page: who you are, what you write, where they can contact you, and where else they can find you online.
Does this call to minimalism stress you out? Don’t worry—tomorrow, we’ll talk more about the content of your author website and how to say a lot with a little.
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