Are Author Websites Necessary?
Actually, are any websites necessary to market your ‘products’ effectively?
On Facebook Groups and on our weekly Call-In Talk Show the subject of having an Author Website fo writes is a much-discussed subject.
The subject of Author websites seems to fill some with inspiration, while others want to run for the hills. But many consider it more difficult
to be a successful author in the current climate without your own website. A website becomes YOUR Castle on the Internet. It allows the public to come in your front door and get to know you, your talent, and of course the products created by you. The authors and other business people I have worked with have found REWARD in owning their Website.
The major questions I have heard are:
Where to start?
What tools and platforms?
How much time and money are involved?
Let’s discuss the FIRST real necessity
Anyone, regardless of being an author or anyone seeking to earn income from the internet, should realize that people buy from those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST
For that reason, I have always suggested the purchase of a DOMAIN with your name included…
That is fairly easy for those with uncommon names, but if your name is “relatively common” you may have to look at variations.
Example: a client found out their NAME was already a Domain with .com extension, but some of the other extensions were available, such as .net, .info, and many of the new vanity extensions. But it is still so much easier to say and more recognizable, “Go to chuckbartok.com“.
One solution that works for some is their first name(hyphen)last name.com.
An example is Lewis-McIntyre.com
It is important to emphasize the hyphen when you speak your website address, and that can actually have a stronger impact.
Along with the domain, I encourage a written plan of action, including a Mission, Budget, and Timeline. The timeline should include a time commitment for content addition on a regular basis.
Tools and Platforms
I’ve been helping people create websites with WordPress since 2009 and I strongly believe that you don’t have to be a techie or hire a developer to get yourself a great WordPress Author website.
In fact, I believe you can create a functional website that helps you get mailing list signups without spending more than a few dollars a month and without writing any code. Remember a website does NOT have to be a thing of beauty, your goal is to build a TRIBE of loyal reading and Buying fans. It does need to be functional and easy to navigate.
Authors need loyal readers who recognize their talent. We have found huge success in posting chapters of books in progress as they are written and then using Social Media to drive traffic of interested fans to the website. If your book is already written, don’t worry. You can still post chapters as a serial, with the Call To Action at the end of the chapter to BUY and send them to the BUY page on your website
When I came online I tried several Content Management Sytems (CMS) platforms to set up a website. After spending Time, Money and experiencing frustration, I stayed with WordPress.org as my CMS and chose a QUALITY Hosting Service, that provides 24/7, English speaking customer service. We now have a dedicated server through InMotion Hosting, but their WordPress hosting program is fantastic
Even though WordPress offers a FREE website location WordPress.com I would Not recommend setting it up
Here are the main differences between them.
- Hosted by WordPress – so your site doesn’t belong to you
- Plans range from free to different premium levels
- If you want your own domain name and extra plugins, you’ll need a premium account
- Limited newsletter signup plugins
- Limited themes unless you sign up for a premium account, but many of the free ones can be customized
- Gives you access to a community of other bloggers using WordPress.com
From many trials and errors, I endorse Self-hosted WordPress:
- Hosted on server space you rent from a hosting provider for a modest monthly or annual outlay (always less expensive paying Annually)
- The site belongs to you and you can move it or make changes to it as you see fit
- Access to hundreds of thousands of free and premium themes and plugins
- Free plugins for all the main mailing list providers
- Option to install premium themes and plugins you buy elsewhere (but make sure it’s a reputable source)
- Option to install the free Jetpack plugin which gives you all the same features as a WordPress.com site (e.g., the community)
- You need to keep your version of WordPress updated (or you have this happen automatically)
Neither platform requires you to have coding skills, despite what you may have been told about self-hosted WordPress.
The next topic is THEMES (the premade format, the foundation ), there are literally hundreds of FREE themes, but after trial and error for a few years, I chose to use Premium Themes and have been very satisfied with the product and customer service from Elegant Themes. Very innovative and the Customer Service is excellent.
They offer an annual package that includes all upgrades for $89 or even better ONE-time lifetime Fee of $249
Time and Money Involved
Setting up a responsive Author Website or a website for any other business venue does NOT have to be a heavy investment. Following my suggestion above a person should budget $200-$300 per year. That will be spent on quality Hosting, Premium Themes, and a couple of premium plugins. We have met people who hired “webmasters” to develop their site and spent a lot of money, but I believe it is easy enough to facilitate and would better reflect YOUR persona.
The cost is negligible when the potential Income from your Sales is realized. Many have experienced their COSTS returned within 30-60 days
I do offer a service to help guide anyone to get started. It involves several phone calls and screen-sharing sessions. The object to get you on your own journey Quickly.
We usually get things rolling quickly and stay in close contact for 60 days or more. Let me help you with the Beginning of Your Website Journey