Creating your author website is a crucial part of the promotions process, especially for self-published authors. It’s how you’ll represent yourself, your book, and your brand to potential readers. The web design process can be overwhelming – especially if this is your first time building a website – but taking the time to learn about it ahead of time will reduce the amount of stress and frustration along the way.
Here’s three tips to keep in mind as you prepare to build your new site:
Know your budget.
Back when I was building my website, people told me, “WordPress is easy! You’ll be able to figure it out yourself!”
And, while I’m sure that – for many people – WordPress and HTML come naturally – I am not one of those people. Instead of whipping up a functional website on my own, I floundered, losing valuable time that I could have been writing to frustrated tinkering. Months went by in a horrific cycle of trying, failing, and quitting before I threw my hands up and hired someone to do the work for me.
In the end, I effectively doubled my expenses (if not more) because I didn’t have a realistic understanding of the time investment. Making the decision to hire a designer – while one of the best decisions I’ve made as a writer – stung because of substantial time lost on top of the money I would pay a designer.
You’ll have a much more rewarding experience if you go into it with a budget – for both your money and your time.
Tip: If you’re planning to design the site yourself, check out StudioPress. Their themes will cost you a bit of money, but their support is fantastic!
Know your style.
As you start the design process, take the time to really think about your graphic style. Will you want a site that coordinates with your latest book cover? Or do you prefer a site that is less about a single book and more about you?
Browse sites like ColourLovers and design palettes that will guide you or your designer throughout the process. Take some time to browse Pinterest for inspiration for great websites.
As a writer, it might even be helpful to spend an hour writing down what you think are the most important elements of the graphic style that will represent your book – your brand – online. It will help you bridge the gap between your literary tendencies and the graphic representation of your book.
Know your voice.
You’ll be amazed how much writing actually goes into developing your author website. From the about blurb to the copy for your book, you’ll spend a lot of time writing (and rewriting) the content for your site.
Make the content on your site unique – this gives readers an added incentive to check out your site.
It’s easy to simply copy/paste the book description you wrote for Amazon and call it good, but this is your personal space. This is where prospective readers will come to learn about you, your book, and your future plans as an author. Ask yourself the questions that you would ask your favorite authors and use the answers to guide the information on your site.
With all this in mind, I hope that you’ll have an easier time building your website than I did! Have any other helpful hints for authors who are building their website?