Do I need a website?
Yes. A lot of authors recommend using social media to promote their books, and this is great! Social media is an easy way to keep your readers updated, but it’s not a great place to provide more in-depth information. Your website creates a “hub” where your reader can easily find more information about you, your works, and find all of your social media pages. A website is also a great place to start when sharing updates with your readers, there are many ways to take a blog post, for example, and share that post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc… making your social media marketing easier and more streamlined.
What should I include on my website?
- An author bio
- Your latest or featured project
- A list of your works (and links on where to buy them)
- Contact information
- Link to your Media Kit
- Newsletter or blog
- List or calendar of appearances and book signings
- Links to your various social media profiles
- Read an updated list here: 10 Things Every Author Website Should Have
Take a look at other author websites for inspiration, and to get your creative juices flowing.
Should I use a free web builder?
It may be tempting to save some money by going with a free website builder, especially when you are just starting out, but this can spell trouble as your brand grows. Here are a few things that you might consider when deciding if you would like to use a free website builder:
- You may be “locked” into the builder you choose. Not loving your web builder? Looking to change the design? Hosting is slow? You might not be able to move your entire website, and it can be very difficult and tedious to move your content.
- Features are often limited, you may want to add a web store, or a book signing calendar. Is this easy (and inexpensive) with the builder you would like to use?
- Your URL might look unprofessional. If you decide to go the route of using a free service, you will definitely want to purchase a domain name, and use it instead of the free provided domain name (using your own domain name may cost money).
- Advertising. Some free website builders will put advertising on your website, sometimes is just a “website made with…” link, but for other builders it can mean an ugly banner ad right at the top or bottom of your site
- Limited traffic. Free sites often come with a limit on how much space your website can take up, and how many visitors can visit. If your are locked-in and can’t move your website, you may just have to upgrade to a larger (paid) plan.
- Free isn’t always free. Extra features, better designs, custom URLs, and more, can add to the cost of your “free” website
If you are looking for a lower cost option, you may want to consider trying your hand at setting up a website yourself. There are plenty of low-cost options without the restrictions of a free website builder. Just to give you an idea: You could purchase inexpensive hosting plan and a domain name, install a copy of WordPress onto your web space (it’s not terribly difficult, there are lots of tutorials online, and it’s free), and install a free theme (or choose a nice premium one). It wouldn’t be very expensive, and you would have the benefit of having a website that is easy to build on, and customize as your brand grows.
If you want something a little more custom, or need help with building your own site, there are tonnes of great web designers out there that can give your a hand. Like us *wink wink*
If you still want to explore using a free builder, make sure that you look into the issues above, and carefully read all of the “fine print.”
I have a website, now what?
- Keep it updated. There is nothing sadder in the whole wide web than a neglected website. Make sure that all of your works are listed and up to date. Make sure that you talk about your latest project. Write a blog post as often as possible. Change up your homepage to show off your latest book. Give your bio a bit of a rewrite. Keep all of your information up to date, and keep your reader coming back with great content.
- Share your website. Tell your readers about your website. Make sure that you add a link to your site anywhere that you can. Don’t forget your: Amazon page, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Forums you take part in, promotional material, advertisements, business card,
- Track your site. Keep track of how many visitors you get, where they come from and other valuable information using Google Analytics. This great resource can help you fine tune your SEO.
- Polish-up your SEO. SEO can be a pretty in-depth topic, take a few minutes to do some Google-foo and brush up on your SEO knowledge.
- Update your website. I know I have this one twice, but it’s really, really, important. Good, up to date, relevant content is the most important part of a website.
- Could your website need a redesign?
Do you have any questions? Would you like an author website? We’re here to help.
Features Image by: © Depositphotos.com/Andriy Kravchenko