The best way to sell your books and let people know you’re a writer is through a website. But the idea of setting one up may invoke a lot of anxiety or doubts about your abilities. It’s as if you need a guide on author websites to help you…
TA DA! 🤗
This article is set up to do just that: help authors know when to set up their website and what all to include in it. As a writer who’s been creating websites for almost ten years, I’m VERY familiar with all the frustrations and fear in creating a home for yourself on the Internet. But no worries, I’m here to help you!
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The Complete Guide on Author Websites all Writers Need:
At some point, all authors will need a website. However, when you need a website is dependent on what you write. For instance, non-fiction writers or bloggers should set up a website immediately to get their thoughts out there, but fiction writers aren’t as dependent on a platform, so they can wait a bit.
When Do You Absolutely Need a Website?
Once you are offered a book deal, you should start working on your website. Even before the book comes out, you will need to use your site for promotions, scheduling speaking or signing events, and getting the word out about who you are and what your book is about.
I highly recommend you have a full-functioning, published site at least 6 months before your book comes out, but 1 year is even better! If you don’t have a book coming out yet, it’s still a good idea to buy you domain name to be sure no one buys it before you can. (Most author websites choose a URL that is the writer’s name, but for some of you, that option might not be available.)
Where Do You Make Author Websites?
There are a few different places where you can make your own website and there are positives and negatives to all. However, if your budget allows, I would suggest skipping to the third option, as this will give you the most control and complete ownership over your content.
Free Places to Make a Website-
It’s nice when we get things for free, especially when we don’t make as much starting out. However, if you use one of these sites, you won’t have your own URL until you purchase a domain name and you do not have ownership of your content.
Plus, you might not be able to sell items from these sites (Double check the terms before signing up). So, I would recommend you create one of the other 2 options if your budget allows.
Almost Free Place with More Control-
One of the best ways to sell a book is with an email list. If you can purchase a URL, you can use this option for free up to 1,000 subscribers. Which means you can create a landing page (Which looks like a website) and collect email sign-ups for people interested in your book.
Mailerlite also has a cool tutorial that teaches you how to use this feature to create your own site right after you sign-up, too! 😄
Not Free, but Total Control Place-
- GoDaddy (Where I’d buy the Domain Name)
- Siteground (Who I recommend for Hosting)
- WordPress.org (Where you build Everything)
- StudioPress (Where you make it Pretty)
This is the BEST option for creating author websites because you have full control of everything. You get to pick your URL, decide what things look like, and upload content knowing that you own it.
First, you need to pick your URL, which you can purchase at GoDaddy. Then, you need to set up your hosting. I recommend using Siteground because they have AMAZING customer service and will even help you set up WordPress for free, plus I’ve never had any issues on my sites through them in over 2 years. Check them out here to learn more.
Once you have your hosting, then you get to do the fun stuff: make your author site look pretty! I highly recommend getting the Genesis Framework from StudioPress because it’s mobile responsive and very user-friendly to set up. Plus, they have pre-built themes you can choose from which allows you to avoid any hard coding. Check them out here.
What Should be Included on Author Websites?
Required Pages for all Writers-
- About the Author Page
- Contact Page
- Books (With Buy Now Button, if Available)
Author websites are nice because they don’t require that much information. You mostly need to tell the world about who you are and what kind of books do you write. Having the contact page is nice to add because then you get to connect with your readers, plus can work towards building your email list!
Optional, but Encouraged, Pages-
- Events Page
- School or Conference Bookings
- Extra Resources
The biggest benefit of having an author website is being able to connect with your readers. And to hopefully have them come back for more books when they come out! You should use your website to do this.
Creating pages like an events page or blog, allows them to get to see you in person or know you on a more personal level. You’ll be able to increase engagement with your readers and have more attendance at your events.
If you can add speaking opportunities or extra resources, then you also have an extra place to monetize your writing in addition to book sales! And who doesn’t like a little extra money, right? Having these options directly on your page tells potential readers what you offer for them to reach out and contact you.
You don’t have to have a website, but author websites are a great way to connect with readers and to create more buzz around your book. Either choose to set up your author site for free or on your own.
Ps. If you want help setting up your website, I will sit down for an hour and walk you through all the steps! You can schedule a time here and we will set you up for success. 🤗
Other articles that will help your writing:
- How to Create a Website Yourself
- The Best Writing Books to Help Your Writing
- Everything You Need to Know to Publish a Children’s Book
- All You Need to Know to Write a Children’s Book