Having a home for your books and a page for your readers to find you is vital in a competitive online market. Authors can achieve this leg up with a website. And you don’t have to be an expert coder or super technical to create an author website yourself.
I know that using technology can give a lot of people anxiety and invoke a high level of fear that you might mess something up. However, I’m going to try to make this as painless as possible for you. All you have to do is believe you can do it!
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How to Easily Create an Author Website Yourself:
Not all writers need to create an author website before they receive an offer for publication. However, you will need a site after you’ve officially sold your story to a publisher–Read the Guide to Author Websites to learn more about when to create a site and the different options out there for you.
Before you set up your site, think about what kind of URL you would like for your website and use a laptop or desktop computer.
1. Start with a Domain Name
Before you can create an author website, you will need a domain name. This is the URL that people will use to find you. A lot of authors use their full names, but it’s not a requirement. Just make sure it’s something easy to remember and spell, and that it doesn’t have any dashes.
Once you know what name you’d like to use, go to GoDaddy.com, or another domain provider, and make sure it’s available.
Search for the URL name that you would like for your website here.
This is what your screen will look like if your name is available. Click “Add to Cart” for the .com of your choice and follow the payment steps.
Once you’ve finalized your domain name purchase, you need to select the hosting provider for your website.
2. Set-up a Hosting Account
A hosting company is the place where your website lives. They make sure that your site speed is high and everything loads correctly. You can also get your email accounts with your hosting that are associated with your URL so you look extra fancy on your business cards. 💁♀️
There are quite a few hosting companies around, like Bluehost, GoDaddy, A2, etc. But out of all of them, I recommend using SiteGround. They have AMAZING customer service, awesome load times, and will help you set up your WordPress account for free. Plus, you get a FREE SSL which is the https at the beginning of your URL. This is HUGE for search engine optimization and having a secure site.
Here’s how you set up your hosting with SiteGround:
Awesome! Once you’ve reached this step, you have officially created your website. Now comes the fun stuff. Setting everything up the way you want it to look. 😄
3. Choose a Theme that Works for You
Your theme is what your website will look like to the outside world. There are SO MANY beautiful themes that people have made, so you don’t have to worry about coding or writing HTML to make changes. Instead, go ahead and look for what you like.
*If you want to choose a Free Theme, use Twenty-Nineteen (or the Latest Version).
When you create an author website, focus on clean lines and lots of white space, instead of cluttered pages. This will make your design look modern and fresh and allow people to find things easily.
If your budget allows, I would suggest avoiding free themes, as they are easier to hack into and can have issues with malicious spam. Instead, I would suggest getting a Genesis Framework theme on StudioPress.
*Purchase a Theme that’s mobile-friendly.
Over 75% of web traffic is mobile, so you need a site that will allow for those devices to have a good
4. Customize Your Website to Fit You
Now that you have purchased your theme, you will want to install it and start to add all the pages that are important for your specific website. You can also add posts if you want a running feed or a blog on your site. The possibilities are endless!
This is going to be the main screen–Also known as the Admin Panel on SiteGround. You will want to be on this page ALL the time to update anything on your website. Be sure to bookmark it on your browser!
- Select theme and upload the new theme you purchased
- Select customize to set up everything the way you want
- Menus- how you want things organized
- Widgets- create your sidebar and homepage
- Create About the Author Page
- Set up Your Contact (Use WP Forms to make an easy one!)
- Add any others that are important to your website
- Set up the Categories You want to Have (Can be used under menus later to organize your site)
- Create any new posts for events or your blog
*Add Any Plugins-
- Plugins are add-ons to your site. Popular ones to get are Yoast for SEO, Monster Insights for Google Analytics, a Social Sharing button, and an Email Collecting Pop-Up.
Would you like some help?
If you are feeling overwhelmed after looking at these steps, I can help you out. Together we can walk through each of these steps and I will answer any questions that you have along the way. Plus, I’ll even help you with your customization!
Does that sound like something you’re interested in?
Set aside one-hour and grab your laptop or sit down at your desktop. Here are the times I have available. Select the time that works for you and get ready to create an author website that will look AMAZING!
You have just walked through the steps to create an author website. Great job! Now, you have to go out and make your own. 🤗
Remember to buy a domain name, select your hosting provider, purchase a theme, and customize everything the way you want it to look.
Ps. if you want a guide to help you, sign up for a one-on-one appointment time. We will walk-thru the complete website set-up together.
For more articles to help you with your author journey:
- The Complete Guide to Author Websites
- How to Publish a Children’s Book
- How to Write a Children’s Book
- The Best Writing Books All Writers Need
- Free Marketing Ideas All Authors Should Use