If you need to be a author, one of the crucial vital steps you want to take (apart from writing a terrific ebook) is constructing an writer web site. Here’s the whole information to constructing your on-line presence.
If you are like most writers I do know, you in all probability dream of getting revealed. But as I’ve labored with writers for the final ten years, I’ve discovered that almost all are woefully unprepared for what publishing really takes, and which means that both they by no means work out what it takes to get revealed.
Or, once they lastly DO get revealed, they discover themselves upset with the method and with what number of books they promote.
How do you put together for getting revealed although? There are a number of steps, however step one is constructing an writer web site. An writer web site is step one to establishing an expert writer platform and reaching out to potential readers.
In this text, I’m going to share a step-by-step information to constructing a easy writer web site your self that can help your whole publishing efforts. Note: a number of the hyperlinks beneath are affiliate hyperlinks.
Why Building a Website is the First Step You Should Take BEFORE You Get Published
As ebook gross sales transfer increasingly more to on-line retailers, an internet site the place you possibly can develop a relationship along with your readers is crucial. It does not matter in case your ebook is being revealed by an enormous conventional writer or for those who’re self-publishing. You want an internet site.
Why is having an writer web site so vital? Why not simply concentrate on free and simple social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter on your ebook advertising and marketing efforts?
- Social media does not promote books, however an e-mail mailing checklist does. You would possibly assume e-mail is an old style method to promote books and that it may well’t probably work, however the numbers say one thing very completely different. In reality, 66 p.c of individuals say they have made a purchase due to an e-mail they acquired in contrast to solely 20 p.c of people that have bought one thing from a Facebook put up and 6 p.c from Twitter. I’ve been watching this pattern for years, and each statistic I’ve ever learn has proven me that e-mail is much and above one of the simplest ways to get your viewers to purchase your ebook.
- The greatest place to construct your e-mail checklist is on an internet site. How then do you construct your e-mail checklist? Through your web site. In reality, a easy, single-page web site with an e-mail opt-in type is sufficient to fully change your publishing success.
- You OWN your web site. You do not personal your social media following. Facebook does. Twitter does. Instagram does. And they’ll change the principles any time they need, like when Facebook modified their algorithm to solely present a fraction of individuals’s posts. Or when Instagram did the identical. You need your individual actual property on-line to share your books.
The greatest place to construct relationships along with your readers (and promote books!) is your writer web site.
“But I’m Not Tech Savvy”: Why Anyone Can Build an Author Website
If the thought of constructing an internet site is intimidating to you, although, it should not be. I’ve constructed over a dozen web sites and helped different writers arrange a couple of dozen extra, many in only a few hours, and despite the fact that I’m fairly savvy, it doesn’t suggest you have to be to setup a easy writer web site.
Anyone can arrange a easy writer web site in only a few hours if you understand the fitting steps and do not get overwhelmed by all of the choices on the market.
At the identical time, once I constructed my first web site, it took me weeks as a result of I used to be doing it by myself, with nobody to information me by means of the method. My hope is that this information will make the method easy sufficient that anybody can construct an internet site.
10 Steps to Building an Author Website
If you learn this text from begin to end and observe every step, you should have a terrific writer web site.
1. Choose Your Platform
You have many choices when it comes to constructing a easy writer web site, however there are solely three that I like to recommend.
Self-Hosted WordPress Site. My private favourite is a self-hosted WordPress web site (which could be very completely different from a free WordPress.com web site). I’ve been constructing web sites on WordPress for nearly ten years, and it combines ease, flexibility, and full management over your web site.
You have to pay to host your web site for those who select this feature. That prices about $50 a yr by means of Bluehost, which is the internet hosting firm I like to recommend (you possibly can click on right here to setup your WordPress web site by means of Bluehost). Note that this features a area title, usually $13 a yr. This is the least costly, highest worth possibility obtainable.
WordPress has quite a few free themes that enable you to rapidly change your complete feel and look of your web site. You may buy a paid theme (we use Divi at thewritepractice.com, and it is wonderful). Choose Self-Hosted WordPress (through Bluehost).
(HINT: I normally go together with the Basic plan, paid yearly, with no add-ons. Bluehost and every other internet hosting service you select will seemingly pitch you many add-on companies for an additional value. Personally, I at all times say no to all of them.)
Squarespace. If you are not going to get a self-hosted WordPress, then Squarespace is a good second possibility. They have lovely design and make it extremely simple to arrange and get began. Squarespace prices $16 a month to get began, about 3 times greater than a self-hosted WordPress web site, however they embrace a whole lot of options beneath that value. Choose Squarespace.
WordPress.com (free). Not to be confused with a self-hosted WordPress web site (e.g. WordPress.org), WordPress.com is just like the free, “light” model of a self-hosted WordPress web site. If you need to get began rapidly and free of charge, this is usually a good possibility. I’d nonetheless suggest Squarespace over WordPress.com—and a self-hosted WordPress web site over each—however this is usually a method to ease your self into constructing an writer web site. Plus, it is pretty simple to export and switch to a self-hosted WordPress web site whenever you’re prepared to up your recreation. Choose WordPress.com.
Which Website Platforms to Avoid:
- Weebly. I’ve see a few good author websites built on Weebly, however most look clunky.
- Wix. Every writer web site I’ve seen constructed on Wix appears prefer it’s from 2005. Plus, their branding shall be on each web page. You ought to be promoting your writing, not your web site platform.
- GoDaddy Site Builder (or any host’s native web site builder). Hosting firms are good at internet hosting, not creating software program for constructing web sites.
2. Register Your Domain Name
A site title is the URL the place your web site lives, e.g. joebunting.com. When folks sort it into their browser, they are going to arrive at your web site. All three of the platforms I beneficial above enable you to register a customized area title by means of them, however you can even register by means of a 3rd get together like Google Domains or Name.com (though I dosuggest registering by means of the platform you select above).
Your area title is among the first branding choices you make as you construct your web site. The problem is that because the Internet expands, increasingly more domains are registered and the most effective ones develop into scarce. How do you discover one which’s each obtainable and best for you? Here are a couple of vital ideas:
- Look round earlier than registering. Your first alternative for a site could already be taken, so it is vital to search earlier than getting too far into the web site constructing course of. You can use Google’s Domain Search tool to rapidly look by means of completely different area choices (HINT: Once you discover your good area, do not register it on this device. Instead, register it by means of the platform you selected above. You can at all times switch domains, however it’s an additional step that may be just a little sophisticated.)
- Use your first and final title (e.g. johngrisham.com). If it is obtainable, that’s. If you write beneath a pen title, then your pen title could be the area title, and in case your title is tough to spell, then you definitely would possibly take into account writing beneath a pen title. If your title is not obtainable, you should use a .me, .us, or .internet area, however I would not use .org until you write spiritual or service books. I’d not use a center preliminary in your area title. You may append a phrase to the tip of your title, like joebuntingwriter.com or buntingbooks.com. Not pretty much as good as your writer title, however it may well nonetheless work.
- Don’t use your ebook title as your (major) area title. Because what’s going to you do whenever you write one other ebook. It’s advantageous to have a easy touchdown web page or a primary web site for every ebook you write (like this one), however not on your major writer web site.
- Don’t embrace dashes within the area. Adding a touch in between your first and final title is an simple method to get your title if it is already taken, however it makes it just a little more durable for folks to discover you. Plus, for my part, it does not look excellent.
Other Domain Search Tools:
This useful device:
3. Find a Few Author Websites to Model Yours On
Before you get deep into the design course of, discover a couple of writer web sites you want to mannequin yours on. Here are a couple of writer web sites I like to recommend trying out:
As you take a look at their websites, take discover of the primary parts of every web site. Here are a number of the most vital parts:
- Header. The picture, brand, or title on the very high of the location. Don’t be overwhelmed you probably have no thought how to make photos look as superior because the websites above. These authors all have design groups, however you possibly can simply make simple but awesome looking images with a free tool like Canva.
- Featured Banner. Often authors could have an picture with their newest ebook featured as the very first thing you see whenever you go to their web site.
- Email/Newsletter Sign Up Form. This is a very powerful part of the location, since your e-mail checklist is the primary method you develop a relationship along with your readers. Building your e-mail checklist is the primary greatest advertising and marketing step you possibly can take on your writing. I actually like Brad Thor’s web site particularly as a result of his e-newsletter enroll type is above the fold.
- Menu. This is the place you may get an thought of the primary pages. You’ll virtually at all times discover an About web page, a Blog, a Books web page, and a Contact web page.
- Endorsements and Reviews. Do they’ve any featured endorsements from well-known authors or opinions?
- Social media channels. Do they hyperlink to any of their social media profiles? Which channels do they characteristic, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest?
4. Install WordPress
From right here I’m going to assume you are organising your web site with Bluehost on WordPress.
After organising your new Bluehost account and registering your area (see steps 1 and a couple of above), it is time to set up WordPress in your area.
1. If you have not completed so already, after you join Bluehost, it is possible for you to to register your area (see steps 1). If you missed this step, you can even register afterward from the Bluehost dashboard so don’t be concerned.
2. On the Bluehost dashboard, click on set up WordPress.
What’s actually taking place right here: When you join internet hosting, you are principally renting a pc, simply a pc that is arrange to broadcast to the web. Your area is sort of a like a folder on that pc, and whenever you set up WordPress, you are principally putting in an utility on that folder.
3. Click proceed WordPress set up.
4. On the following web page, choose the area you registered earlier within the dropdown. Leave the listing type clean.
5. Enter your login credentials. Next you may be requested to create login credentials (username and password) on your new web site. These are actually vital to hold in a protected place, however you may additionally get an e-mail with them.
6. It will set up for a couple of minutes. After it finishes, go to your new area’s wordpress admin display screen, e.g. yourdomainhere.com/wp-admin. Make certain to bookmark this web page for the longer term.
That’s it! You did it! You now have a brand new web site! Congratulations!
5. Familiarize Yourself With WordPress
WordPress is pretty simple to use as soon as you discover your method round, however it may well typically be intimidating to new customers. Here are some things to be aware of:
This is your house base, the place you possibly can see your web site’s again finish at a look and entry all of your settings and pages.
Admin Header Bar
At the highest of your display screen is an admin bar with a couple of useful buttons.
- + New. Creates a brand new put up or web page.
- Edit. If you are on a put up or web page you need to edit, you possibly can click on the edit button right here to make modifications.
- Home / Dashboard button. If you are on the dashboard, you possibly can click on this to get to your web site’s house display screen. If you are in your web site, then you possibly can click on this to go to your dashboard.
This is the primary method to create pages and entry all of the settings in your web site.
- Posts & Pages. Posts are on your weblog and normally embrace feedback. Pages are for site-wide pages, like your About web page, Books web page, or Contact web page.
- Appearance. There are a number of menu objects beneath this that management the looks of your web site:
Theme. Change your theme right here. We’ll discuss themes in a second.
Customize. Depending in your theme, you possibly can preview some look customizations right here.
Menus. The menu on the entrance of your web site is created and managed right here.
Widgets. These are issues that seem in your sidebar, like an e-mail enroll type or an picture of your ebook cowl and hyperlink to your ebook’s Amazon/Barnes and Noble web page.
- Plugins. One of the issues that makes WordPress so nice is the large neighborhood of builders constructing free and paid plugins to prolong your web site’s performance. I’ll point out which plugins I like to recommend in a second, however that is the place you’ll set up, activate, and configure them.
- Settings. There are a couple of settings you need to configure at the beginning.
General. This is the place you possibly can change your web site title and tagline, select your time zone, and set your e-mail deal with. You can depart these because the default, however I would change your time zone.
Writing. This impacts how the web page and put up editor appears. You do not want to change something right here.
Reading. This impacts your homepage and what number of posts show in your weblog. We’ll come again to this display screen in a second to set your homepage, however you do not have to do something now.
Permalinks. This impacts the URL construction, and I’d extremely suggest altering it to “Post Name” setting.
Plugins I Recommend Installing
There are a couple of plugins which are important, for my part.
- Jetpack. Gives you nice options like customer stats, hacker safety, and spellcheck. Learn extra about Jetpack.
- Akismet. Blocks spam feedback. Connect along with your WordPress.com account and select the free plan.
- Sumo. Allows you to simple add sharing to your posts and pages, that factor that floats on the facet of your put up with sharing icons. Also provides you highly effective e-mail subscription instruments. It’s free, however you will have to create an account with Sumo after you put in.
- Contact Form 7. Create a contact type right here after which copy and paste the shortcode that it provides you onto a brand new web page that you simply create and title Contact.
- search engine marketing by Yoast. Analyzes your pages and teaches you the way to write in order that Google can higher discover your web site. Very cool!
- Google Analytics by Yoast. Google Analytics is the most effective free device for monitoring your web site customers. First create a free account here, then join to your web site with this plugin.
6. Choose Your Theme
Themes drastically have an effect on the way in which your web site appears, so discovering the fitting one for you is vital. However, there are such a lot of nice free and paid themes it may be overwhelming. Here are a couple of I like to recommend.
Free Themes for Author Websites
Let’s begin with two free themes I like to recommend.
Hestia. What I really like about Hestia is that it provides you an enormous quantity of management over each factor of your web site, and the most effective half is that you simply don’t want to know any code to use it. It’s nice for creating clear, elegant writer web sites. All in all, for those who’re searching for a free theme, Hestia is your best option. Click to check out Hestia.
Lovecraft. I additionally love Lovecraft, a free theme impressed by the writer HP Lovecraft. It’s easy and nice for a easy blog-focused writer web site. Click to check out Lovecraft.
Recommended Themes for Author Websites
You get what you pay for, folks at all times say, and whereas that is considerably true for blogs, I believe you possibly can go a really good distance with a free theme. Personally, I used PageStrains for this very web site for years. BUT there are some things free themes aren’t the most effective at. They have a tendency to be slower to load, for instance, and never as characteristic wealthy as some paid themes. Plus, the 2 themes beneath are actually cool.
Divi. If you like a “What You See Is What You Get” editor on your web site, Divi is wonderful. It permits you to edit font sizes, colours, spacing, and extra all from the user-facing facet of your web site. After utilizing many alternative themes for years, that is the theme we settled on for The Write Practice. You can get Divi right here.
Tribe. A premium theme constructed by writer Jeff Goins, this theme provides you what you want to construct an writer web site and nothing else. Perfect if you’d like one thing easy however useful. You can get Tribe right here.
Custom Themes. Alternatively, you possibly can rent an online designer to construct you a customized theme. This is a good possibility if you do not have an eye for design and/or do not have the time to do it. Designers value anyplace between a couple of hundred bucks to $1,000 for an skilled designer to $3,000+ for a high-end designer.
7. Create Your Header
Headers is usually a easy brand, like ours on The Write Practice. Or an picture of the writer’s title like Elizabeth Gilbert’s web site. Or a full width picture like Gillian Flynn’s web site.
You can rent a designer for this, however it’s simpler to create these by yourself with Canva than you’d assume. Here’s how:
- Before you can begin, you want to discover out the scale your header wants. This is decided by your theme, so test your theme’s settings. For reference, Elizabeth Gilbert’s header is 308 px vast by 29 px tall (px stands for pixels, which is the commonest unit of measurement for web sites).
- Go to Canva.com, create a free account or log in along with your Facebook account, after which choose “Use custom dimensions” (see screenshot).
- Enter your dimensions (e.g. 308 by 40, since Canva does not enable dimensions smaller than 40).
- Create your brand! I like to recommend holding it easy for now with simply your title on a white background.
- Last, obtain your picture (ideally as a PNG file) after which add it into your theme!
8. Add Your Core Pages
After you put in your theme, do not obsess over the design proper now. It takes a very long time to get an internet site trying the way in which you need it to, however for now simply concentrate on getting the broad parts setup. Your primary objective, keep in mind, is to construct your e-mail checklist, so getting the best web site doable to begin accumulating e-mail addresses is good.
You do not want the fanciest web site on the earth to be a profitable writer, however you DO want an writer web site. These 10 steps will assist you construct an writer web site that stands out.
Home Page. Your web site will default to displaying a weblog, however on your writer web site, I like to recommend making a customized house web page. Take a take a look at Step 2 for the weather you may need to embrace right here: for instance, a featured ebook picture (which you’ll create with Canva), e-mail checklist enroll type (which we’ll discuss subsequent), endorsements/testimonials, and hyperlink to your weblog. A superb mannequin for this to begin is Jeff Goins’s home page, as a result of it is pretty easy, textual content based mostly, and does not require a whole lot of picture design work.
About Page. One of your most visited pages, that is the place you may share a brief writer bio and typically an writer photograph. As you write your About web page, do not forget that new readers do not care about you; they care about themselves and the books they like to learn. Don’t write out your full life story. Share solely the data your reader shall be concerned about to uncover whether or not or not your writing shall be a very good match for them.
I like Brad Thor’s About Page as a very good mannequin for this, particularly his robust model tagline: “Brad has been called ‘the master of thrillers,’ and ‘America’s favorite author.’ His bestselling novels have been published in over 30 countries.”
Books Page. Simple a web page with photos of all of your books and hyperlinks to the place readers should purchase them. TIP: Embed Kindle instant book previews so readers can begin studying your ebook proper out of your web site. Here’s how.
Contact Page. Give readers the power to contact you by making a web page with a contact type. Start by putting in the plugin Contact Form 7 if you have not already. A “Contact” menu merchandise will seem in your dashboard menu. Create a brand new contact type or use/edit the default one which’s pre-installed. Copy and paste the shortcode into a brand new web page that you simply title Contact.
Editing the Menu
Depending in your theme, the menu in your web site could robotically add every web page you create. Either method, it is a good suggestion to create a customized menu so you possibly can have extra management over what the menu consists of. Here’s how:
- On the dashboard, go to Appearance > Menu.
- Click the button to create a brand new menu.
- Add the pages or customized hyperlinks you need (e.g. Home, About, Books, Contact).
- Click the field to select the place the menu will seem, normally main menu or secondary menu.
- Save it after which go to your homepage to make certain it appears such as you need it to.
9. Set Up Your Email List
Your e-mail checklist is among the major causes you are doing all of this, and your e-newsletter signup type might be thought-about a very powerful factor in your web site.
First, you will have to select an e-mail e-newsletter supplier. Here are some choices I like to recommend:
- Mailchimp. I normally suggest Mailchimp, as a result of it is free on your first 2,000 subscribers. Mailchimp is a good firm, and a really pleasant service. That being mentioned, personally I discover it to be just a little clunky and exhausting to use.
- Mailerlite. Slightly easier than Mailchimp, however not fairly as easy or highly effective as Convertkit, lots of our writing college students have discovered Mailerlite to be a terrific possibility for his or her writer newsletters. You can join Mailerlite right here.
- Convertkit. We use Convertkit, and whereas I extremely suggest them for authors, it is a paid service and it may be fairly costly. Your e-mail checklist is an effective place to make investments, although. This ought to be considered one of your first upgrades.
If you are utilizing Mailchimp, you possibly can learn how to create your first email list and sign up form here.
Convertkit has a terrific free coaching on how authors can construct a big e-mail checklist that I like to recommend.
You did it! You created your writer web site! And for those who adopted these directions, it ought to have solely taken you a couple of hours of labor.
Next, you possibly can find out how to write the proper weblog put up or just relaxation within the glow of your accomplishments!
Do you will have an writer web site? Share a hyperlink in the comments so we are able to see what you have created!
Have a query or did you get caught? Before you allow a remark, strive Googling it or asking your internet hosting firm for assist. If you have already completed that, be happy to depart a remark!
Does constructing an writer web site intimidate you? Start with step one, trying to find your area title. You can use Google’s Domain Search to search for what’s obtainable, after which register it utilizing your most popular platform (e.g. Bluehost, Squarespace, WordPress.com).
If you register it, tell us what you selected within the comments! (But for those who do not register it but, do not share so nobody steals it!)
Finally, spend fifteen minutes envisioning what you need your writer web site to appear like. Explore another writer web sites as fashions and begin constructing your writer web site! If you need to share within the Pro Practice Workshop, please do. And if you would like to assist others locally, remember to present suggestions to your fellow writers.
(Some of the hyperlinks above are affiliate hyperlinks.)