Author Website Series
See the Table of Contents
This month-long series of blog post will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. This Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.
(Disclosure: Some of the following are affiliate links and when you click on links here, I will receive a commission, AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. I’ve used most resources listed here, and recommend them because they are helpful not just because I receive a commission. If you find this series on Author Websites helpful, I would appreciate the support. But you’re also welcome to visit any site directly. Please do not spend any money unless you need them or think it will help you build a successful author website.)
DOMAINS AND HOSTING
A domain is the common name for your website. Technically, it’s a way of identifying a set of files that belong to a certain Internet address. Domains can end in .com, .org, .us and many other options. Authors generally like to use their name or book title as their domain name.
To obtain a domain name, you use a domain registrar, which takes care of all the paperwork and technical settings. Often, a hosting company will also act as a registrar, making it a one-step process to obtain a domain and sign up for hosting.
Internet hosting services are the places where the digital files for your site live on real computer servers. From the many hosting companies available that can host WordPress installations, I’ve listed BlueHost because they are cater to WordPress installations and are generally considered reliable.
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Blue Host. Simple, easy and highly recommended for your first blog.
From Bluehost, here’s how to install your WordPress.
If you can’t see this video, click here.
For any questions related to how WordPress operates, visit the Codex.
FREE WordPress Themes from WordPress.org. Designers post an incredible array of free themes here, with more added weekly. Don’t see what you like? Check back next week.
PREMIUM (Paid) Themes
Check out these WordPress ThemeForest themes designed with authors in mind. They add extras that you won’t find in a free theme.
WRITING A BLOG – GOING DEEPER
After your website it up and going, you may still want some hints and advice on building a strong blog. Darren Rouse, owner of Problogger.net has this great tutorial that will keep you going for the second month. And by then, you’re well on your way to success!
Darren Rouse’s 31 Days to a Better Blog
EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS AND MARKETING
Every website needs a way to collect names of fans. After you finish your first month or two, you should look into getting this set up. Own your audience!
Mailchimp is my preference because it’s easy to set up and it’s free until you get 2000 subscribers. After that, the prices go up on $5 increments as your list expands, so it’s easy to live with.
You should be measuring everything about your website and standard statistic programs make this simple. I use both of these free services.
Statcounter captures stats in real time and has an incredible amount of information. This is great for beginners.
Google Analytics is a powerhouse of statistics, with so many options you can easily get overwhelmed. Start slow, with just basic stats and add more as you learn.
To sell books, you need to consider how to list books on your site and how to link the book information to an online store. I wish I could point you to a great study of all the options and tell you that THIS is the perfect way to sell books. In fact, even Amazon continually tests it’s layout and design and is constantly optimizing it. That means you’ll have to experiment on your site and find what works for YOUR audience. This article discusses some of the WordPress Plugins that automate the process of selling books from your site. If you choose one of these plugins, I’d love to know how it works for you!
This resource page will be updated periodically. If you have something to recommend, please email me!
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