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Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Create a Website +QoM



NOTE: This is tailored toward authors but these tips can benefit anyone.


A website is a must-have for authors. A blog is good but websites are better landing places for readers to get all the news about you and your books. It’s where readers will go to more often. Having one also makes a good impression. It says you are serious. (Please don’t think that translates to that you’re not serious if you don’t have a website, because that’s not what I mean.) But having a website is a good sign. Agents and publishers like to see that, and readers will think you’re more established even if you’re new.


If you want to create a website, follow these steps:

1. Research website hosts.

There are a lot of website hosts out there like GoDaddy.com and many more. Not all of them are equal. Their rates differ, some offer more, some offer less. Google website hosts, ask authors you know what host they use for their site, and weigh the pros and cons before you commit. FYI: I use Wordpress.com for my website.

2. Think long and hard about your URL.

You’re going to have a DOT COM! This is something that will be on the Internet for everyone to see. You don’t want to mess it up. The first and best option is to use your name/pen name. Mine is www.ChrysFey.com. Simple and easy to remember. You can add “author” to it if you need to.

TIP: Do a Google search to make sure the web URL you want is not already being used.

3. After you decide on a web host and URL, make your payment…make it permanent!

4. Spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of the site before you do anything.

5. Once you feel comfortable with the site, pick a layout. You can use a free one, one you have to pay for, or have someone create one for you and implement it. On Wordpress, it’s easy to choose and set up a layout.

6. Add a banner if you can. Make it unique to you and your brand.

7. Work on the Home page. Make it the static post if you have to (like with Wordpress), so it’s the first thing everyone will see when they go to your website.

Things to add to a Home page: 
-       Welcome message. 
-         An announcement if you have a new book release, an upcoming event, or a giveaway going on. 
-       An event calendar if you do a lot of book signings or author visits. 
-       Fun insights into one of your books or characters.

TIP: Update news and announcements periodically. And try to change up your Home page every 1-2 months. Make it fresh for returning guests.

8. Spice up the sidebar. (In Wordpress.com you can add widgets.)

Things to add to the sidebar: 
-       Your author photo. 
-       Social media icons. 
-       Images of your published books. 
-       A list of pages on your website. 
-         And whatever else you think is important. On my website I have a grab button for my website and an icon for my publisher.

9. Create pages that your readers can click on and explore.

Possible pages you can create:
-         About Me (with your complete bio and links.) 
-         My Books (with the cover art, blurbs, and links for all of your published books.) 
-         Blog (You can use a direct link to your blog, so when someone clicks on the tab it’ll bring them right to it.) 
-         Press Kit (see: How to Create a Press Kit) 
-         Newsletter (If you have a newsletter, create a page that’ll take a visitor to the opt-in form.) 
-         Services (If you do editing or cover art work, set up a page to talk about these services and how someone can hire you.) 
-         FAQ (If you get a lot of questions about your books or services, create a page to highlight these questions and show your answers.) 
-        Testimonials (of your services, writing and blog to show potential clients and readers how professional you are.)
-     Freebies (This is good for someone who has eBooks that are always free. You can also add giveaways as you host them.) 
-         Contact Me (Include your email, social media links, and a form so a visitor can send a message right from that page.)

     You can also have drop-down links, so if someone hovers over a page, more will reveal themselves. I have a few drop-downs on my website. One of my pages is called Fan Fun and the drop-down pages are: Book Extras, Recipes + Excerpts, and Flash Fiction + Poetry.

     10. Get creative! Make your website reflect you, your style and your books. Explore the websites of your favorite authors to get some ideas. 
     TIP: Get people to come to your website by offering something new daily, weekly or monthly and promoting that.

     When your site is how you want it to look, let everyone know about it! Add the URL to your email signature, to your social media sites and your business card if you have one.


      QUESTIONS: Do you have a website? What do you like to see on an author’s website?




To join this monthly blog hop visit Michael G D'Agostino's blog.



      QUESTION: Have you ever met an idol/influence/someone you really admire? How did it go? (If you haven’t met any of your idols before, talk about the person you’d like to meet.)

      If I could meet one of my idols, it would be Lady Gaga. She is extremely talented, unafraid to speak up for what she believes in, and is proud to be exactly who she is, even if others don’t like it or understand it. I’ve been a fan of hers almost from the beginning. I saw her range and talents when she performed live (on TV) years ago—way before she surprised everyone with her tribute to Julie Andrews and sang the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. Yes, I even liked her wacky style back in the day, and designed several outfits inspired by her.

      I image us drinking tea on a pretty couch and discussing everything from being bullied to creativity and female empowerment. She is so wise and intelligent that I know I’d walk away from that meeting feeling twice the woman I was before.

      Check out this moving performance she did at the Oscars:



     If you’re participating in the A to Z Challenge, can you share the blurb, image and links for Seismic Crimes on its release day (April 22nd, which is for S)? I don't expect anyone to have a theme to fit my book, just to maybe add it to the bottom as a bonus S. :)




89 comments:

  1. Definitely have a press room and be sure to include a 300 dpi image of yourself on that page. Those looking to do a feature on you shouldn't have to search any further than your press room for all they need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, an image of yourself should be on the About Me page and in the Press Kit somewhere. Mine is also on the sidebar.

      Delete
  2. Great advice. I just have the blog so no website. Yet. But with other author websites, the ones I find interesting have an interactive landing page featuring book trailers, latest info of new releases with 3d book images.

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  3. I used to have a website only. The I had the website and the blog. After awhile, I found I could put pretty much everything on the blog - one stop shopping! :) - so, though I no longer have the website active, I still have the link directed to the blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes a writer will see that their blog is more effective, and that's okay. It's different for every one. :)

      Delete
  4. For an author website, I like to see what they have written in terms of title, cover art, short description, and a quick link to where it can be purchased if I want to buy.

    I am impressed with some author's websites, but I almost like blog sites a little more. Everything is there at once. There is no clicking through various pages.

    Lady Gaga is an excellent choice. I love how she is constantly surprising us with her talent--taking it to new levels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, the My Books page is a must-have for a published author.

      Blogs are great. I love them, but not many readers go to them because they usually don't care about what an author posts there. Unless they are very popular and posting about their upcoming books. That's why a website is better for fans.

      Delete
  5. Cool you saw her live.
    My blog is my website but I do have a domain for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I meant I saw her live on TV. LOL

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  6. Great advice! I hadn't really thought of making a website before, but I think it would be a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Got my site down I think, hostgator has been good to me for hosting. Maybe one day you'll meet her.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had my own website years ago. Not really sure why I gave it up. I wasn't utilizing it to it's full, especially to a writing degree. I probably should have. Considering your suggestions, it may be something I should think about again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should think about it again, and consider ways to get people to go to it, such as something new you can offer daily, weekly or monthly.

      Delete
  9. Great tips for creating a website :)

    I do admire Lady Gaga; she is very talented and she blew me away with her performance of the National Anthem for the Super Bowl. I always loved the commercials around Christmas time when she and Tony Bennett did just a bit of the Baby Its Cold Outside song :)

    betty

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  10. Lady Gaga is talented and speaks intelligently about issues unlike some entertainers. Good tips on a website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some entertainers try to sound intelligent but fail. Gaga is intelligent and about many things. :)

      Delete
  11. Lady Gaga is a great choice!! And, yesss to the pretty couch. Lol

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  12. Lady Gaga has one beautiful voice, too. Did you hear her sing at the Super Bowl? Wow!

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  13. Another page I've heard writers can add is book recommendations. I think the reason given was it had to do with connecting with readers through similar interests in books outside of your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good page to add! I never thought of that. :)

      Delete
  14. my website needs a revamp, so thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have a website, but most of the time I forget it exists. So, I'm probably not doing things right...

    Thanks for the tips. I'll have to take a stab at revamping it one of these days. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! It's easy to forget a website.

      Delete
  16. This was very interesting to read as I have always wanted to k now how a website is created. Wonderful read Chrys.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found it useful, Yvonne!

      Delete
  17. I've had a website for six years or so. You're right, if not for other writers sharing, it would be too easy to put on the back burner since the advent of my blogs. You've inspired me to pay more attention;-) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to become forgetful with a website. Not many people think of updating it.

      Delete
  18. I have a website (I use hostmonster). When I go to an author's website, I'm hoping that it'll be easy for me to see their books. The only other thing I need to add to mine is a media kit (it's been on my to do list for about a year now!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Creating a media/press kit can be a little pesky at the time, but once you have it it's invaluable and easy to update.

      Delete
  19. One more important suggestion: A FOLLOW BY EMAIL button, not just a sign-up for a newsletter. Sometimes I enjoy reading what people post on the blogs/websites themselves, especially if it is different than what they send in a newsletter. ~Lori~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think websites have "follow by email" buttons. I believe that's mostly for blogs. I have one for my blog. For my website (although it is Wordpress and they offer that), I don't publish posts, so people who follow by email wouldn't ever receive an email. haha

      Delete
    2. Ah! then I guess a newsletter will have to suffice under those circumstances.. lol I just know many authors have Blogger or Wordpress accounts and they still don't offer the follow by email option even if they do make blog posts. Very frustrating.

      Delete
    3. You're right; if an author does posts, a follow by email option is always good to have. :)

      Delete
  20. Hi Chrys, great list of things to do to start a site. I really think the About page is the most important. Also, social follow links are a great way for readers to connect with you as a writer first, maybe before they buy your work. love Lady Ga Ga. She really is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Social links are important. They have to be scene on every page. Which is why mine are in the sidebar. :)

      Delete
  21. Hi Chrys, awesome post and great list of things to do.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've heard a lot of people say a blog is an author's website these days, though I understand why some people want both. If I go back to having a website, it'll be something that looks modern, with more ease of navigation. I had my Angelfire site until the fall of 2010, and its web design was profoundly stuck in the early Aughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see where people would say and think that, but readers don't usually go to blogs.

      Delete
  23. I have to admit I was a Gaga basher back in the days of the meat-dress. I get it now.

    A Life Examined

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  24. No website for me. Just the blog. I don't really look at websites for authors I like, either. I tend to look for them on Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, authors should be everywhere...Twitter, Facebook. The list goes on and on.

      Delete
  25. So far haven't felt a strong need for a website. Maybe someday.

    Lady Gaga's image was a bit of a put-off to me at first, but I've always liked her music. I'll have to admit that her outlandishness did gain attention for her so it was a smart move in the end.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. Not ever author festival the neef. And that's okay. :)

      It was a smart move. I do like her more classic look now though.

      Delete
  26. Great information once again. I never thought of. Website but that makes sense. I know when I look at websites I want them to be simple and eye catching without a ton of words everywhere and easy to find the things I am looking for. Lady Ga-Ga is someone I always liked. From poker face to her most recent songs, they are all quite intelligent and so are her videos.

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    1. I loved her since Poker Face as well. :D

      Delete
  27. I missed Lady Gaga singing at the Super Bowl because I was a little late to the party... I don't have a website, but I have two blogs and I have presence on a corporate website.

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    1. A presence on a corporate website is great!

      Delete
  28. While I do believe that a website has it's importance and place. Not all authors go that route. Trad. published authors like Kiersten White stick with their blog as their main site.

    http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I know not every author goes that route. It's up to the author.

      Delete
  29. You have a well set-up website and great tips for starting one :)

    I must admit that I was not a fan of Lady Gaga at first. She seemed too over-the-top, but then Miley Cyrus came around and suddenly Lady Gaga seemed a lot more classy in comparison. I loved her Sound of Music performance, she does have a beautiful voice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. It took a little bitoo of trial and error.

      Oh gosh...Miley. *cringes*

      Delete
  30. One thing I love to see on an author's page is easily readable type and white space. Sounds weird, but crowded websites that are difficult to read and decipher give me hives. :)

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  31. Great tips. Though I'm using my blog as my website right now (I don't have my own books out), I try to keep tabs that are consistent with pages I'd have on a website. I still have a list of changes I want to make, but I did make some progress a few months back with other changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fashioning a blog to be like a website is a good idea if someone doesn't have a website.

      Delete
  32. Thanks for the tips, Chrys :) Perfect timing! Have a great week.

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  33. Hi Chrys - interesting thoughts and post - and I've kept it - as at some stage I'll need to do something serious re the blog and author site ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found it useful. I hope my tips help when the time comes. :)

      Delete
  34. I still haven't got a paid site, but I refuse until my sales can pay for it. I get the feeling I may be waiting awhile longer.

    Great post. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Ha! I don't even think my sales pay for it. :P But a Wordpress website is very affordable.

      Delete
  35. Great tips. I'm sure this post will help a lot of people out.

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  36. I know I need to do more with my blog/site. A banner and static post are things I'd like to add.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to work on my website and blog. :)

      Delete
  37. I should really make a press pack... Oh well, I'll get to it some day. My website is my blog. Though I have Wordpress installed, it's self-hosted with a personalized child theme. My husband bought me the domain a few years back. He's wonderful like that. <3

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  38. Thanks for this post packed with advice. All necessary and important tips, too!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great tips, Chrys. I really need to make a website. I have one, sort of, at Wordpress, but it still has Wordpress in the address and is more a blog. Will work on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WordPress is an easy way to make a website. Even to turn a blog there into one. Good luck!

      Delete
  40. Ha! Jeb Bish would do well to read this as he let his web domain expire and Trump bought it ... http://www.jebbush.com/

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  41. I like your tips for setting up a website. I already have a good blog set up, but it's still good info to consider. I'm not a big Gaga fan, but I do think it would be cool to me her. She's definitely a major influencer in today's culture.

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    1. Even though your not her fan, at least you think meeting her would be cool. :D

      Delete
  42. I have a website, but this reminds me that I actually have to update it in the near future.

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    1. I'm always happy to give reminders. :)

      Delete
  43. She would be interesting, that's for sure!

    ReplyDelete

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