Building Your Author Website: The Tools You Need For Setting Up Your Website to Sell Books and Get Your Name Out There
After writing and editing your book, you have a new task at hand: setting up your website. Many authors find this process to be more daunting than writing the book itself, preferring to write stories over writing about themselves.
In today’s digital age, having a great website is essential for your success as a published writer. Having an attractive, branded website will help you accomplish two major goals: selling books and building an audience. Obviously selling books is your main goal and priority. However, it’s also important for you to build an audience and establish a connection to your readers. Your website will allow you to build an email list of readers which you can use to promote your work and upcoming projects as well as help people get to know you better.
Setting up your website
The team at CraveBooks put together this step-by-step guide for setting up your website. Follow these steps and you’re on your way to having an effective site that helps you get your name out there and sell more books.
1. Buy your domain
The domain is the name of your website. Picking a domain name and buying it are the two first steps you’ll have to complete. We recommend you use your name as the web domain since it’s easy for people to remember. Plus, your website will appear whenever someone Googles your name. If your name is already taken, try adding “author,” “writer” or “books” to it - for example, janedoeauthor.com or janedoebooks.com.
There are several websites that sell domains. Some of the most popular ones are GoDaddy, Domize, and Bluehost. These websites will tell you if your desired domain name is available, how much it costs, and will allow you to buy it.
2. Sign up for a web host
Next, it’s time to sign up for a web host. This is where your website “lives” online. Bluehost, GoDaddy, and DreamHost are some of the most popular hosting services.
3. Choose your website platform
Today’s website platforms are user-friendly and make it easy for people with little or no experience to set up their own sites. WordPress and Squarespace are two of the most well-known platforms and are both known for providing an easy user experience. They also both allow you to customize your site, use plugins, and have SEO tools you can utilize. We recommend you take a look at both platforms and see which platform and plan are best for your website goals, computer experience, and budget.
4. Add your content to your website
This step is the most time-consuming: adding all of your content. Here’s where you add your personal touch and share all of the important information about yourself and your books that readers and prospects should know.
But what exactly do you need to include? Here’s the bare minimum of what you should have on your website:
Think of your homepage as the highlight reel of your website. The goal for this page isn’t to share every detail about yourself and your books, but rather quick snippets that will interest people and give them a general overview of who you are and what you’ve written. If you have a forthcoming book that will be out soon, a photo of the cover should be front and center on your homepage. If you don’t have a book coming out soon, the main focus should be your most recent book. You should also have a headshot, condensed bio, and links to your social media channels. The homepage, like every other page on your site, should have an email sign-up.
The About page is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your website visitors. For readers, it sheds some light on your background, education, life, and your work. For media outlets and bloggers, it provides some context and photos they can use when needed. You’ll want to write a more detailed and thoughtful bio than the short version on your homepage. Some things you can include are when and why you started writing, where you draw inspiration from, and what you like to do outside of work. You should also include a hi-res headshot and photos.
This section is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to list all of your books, starting with the most recent books and grouped by genre if applicable. There should be a photo of each book’s cover, a link to where people can buy it online, and a brief description.
This page is pretty straightforward and doesn’t need a lot of information, just an email address, PO box or mailing address, links to your social media pages, and a contact form.
In addition to those essential four pages, there are some others you might want to consider adding to your website:
If you have any upcoming speaking events or virtual events, you’ll want to mention them on this page. Be sure to include links where people can purchase tickets or register. If you have videos of past speaking engagements or events, you can include them on this page.
Media and Press
You definitely need a media page if you’ve been interviewed or your work has been reviewed by media outlets. Compile links to any videos and articles about you and your work. You can also include a contact form for media outlets to reach out for inquiries.
Blogging regularly is a great way to improve your website’s SEO and build your brand and audience. If you have a blog, make sure you add a blog section to your website so readers can follow and read all of your past posts.
5. Add plugins
Plugins help make your website more dynamic by adding additional functionalities. We recommend you add plugins for web analytics, SEO, email sign-up, and social media sharing. Depending on the website platform you use, you’ll have a variety of plugin options.
If you’ve never set up a website before, it can be hard to visualize it and come up with a good layout. To help you out, we’re sharing two basic template ideas you can use and make your own. We like these templates because they’re both clean and simple and work perfectly for authors.
Your author website
Setting up your website is the first step in establishing your online presence as a writer. Even though social media provides a powerful tool for connecting with audiences, it’s important to have a strong website where you can sell books, promote upcoming events, build your email list, share media coverage, and make it easier for media outlets to contact you.
If you run into problems or need general help making your website, the CraveBooks team is here to help.Get Your Website Now