You’re an author; you need an author website. However, before you get started, consider your goals. It’s very easy to create a site, but challenging to overhaul the site later… And heartbreaking to trash a site because it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Start with the most important question: why?
WHY create an author website?
Why do you want to create an author website?
Perhaps you want to:
- Promote your book(s);
- Build an audience for an upcoming book launch;
- Sell your books on the site;
- Connect with readers;
- Develop a platform.
Write down your answers. It’s amazingly easy to get sidetracked with themes, options, and “must have” items, and lose sight of your goals if you don’t write them down.
Let’s look at some important questions to consider before you create your author website.
1. What are your (current) goals for your author website?
Over time, everything changes, and when circumstances change, your goals will change.
To repeat, write down your goals; it prevents you wasting time and money.
Recently I mentored an author who’s been planning an author website since late 2020. He worked with several designers, but none of their designs “worked for him”. We went back to basics: what he wanted from the site. Then we set a hard deadline to launch the site.
2. Money, money, money: what’s your budget?
Set a budget. Then ask yourself how the site will repay the time and energy you’ll spend on it.
3. How much time can spend on the site?
Your site is a commitment.
Decide how much time you have available each week.
The time you have will determine the platform you choose.
4. Which platform will you choose?
If you have little time, it makes sense to opt for a hosted site. Choose a platform like Squarespace—I use Squarespace for my writing classes website and enjoy the platform. It just works, without hassle.
On the other hand, if you have sufficient time (or money to hire an assistant), choose a self-hosted WordPress site—I chose WordPress for this site because I’ve been using WordPress since around 2004. Even then, WordPress had options other platforms didn’t have, so I persisted with it, but in those early days it was a nightmare.
Today, almost half the websites in the world run on WordPress, for good reasons: you can turn a WordPress site into anything you choose. WordPress will easily power a content-rich news website, or an online store offering thousands of products.
Consider your ecommerce options too before choosing a platform for your author website. Do you want to offer downloads and make book sales?
If you choose a hosted option like Squarespace, ecommerce is easy; you can sell digital downloads (your books) as well as physical products, if you choose. You can sell from your WordPress website too of course, but you’ll need to sort out any hassles yourself.
Your author website: set a deadline for your launch
Your website will never be perfect. It’s never “done.” You’ll always have more questions to answer and a long task list.
Keep your goals in mind, and set a hard deadline for your launch.
The author I mentored could have sold many more books in the year he spent “planning” his author website.
Good luck. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.