5 Tips on Creating an Author Website as the First Step in Your Online Marketing Strategy
There is an abundance of website design and hosting services on the internet. You can get services that handle both the design and the hosting, or services that provide one or the other. Whatever your needs, there is a service out there for you.
But . . . consumer beware.
Some design/ hosting website services prey on unsuspecting and naïve authors or individuals and charge to not only create a site, but they keep control of managing the site. The customer is only allowed to add or edit content on the site.
This means the author can’t add links, change images, or tweak the site for SEO optimization, such as page title optimization. I get upset when I hear of occurrences like this. There is no reason why a design and hosting service needs to control website functions and features to the point that an author or individual needs to pay the service to add or delete a simple link.
Authors need to be aware.
This just happened to a client of mine who hired a website design company for her author site. She didn’t realize the company is simply a middle-man for a design company subcontracted to actually do the work. And, there is also a subcontracted content writer to write the webpage copy.
Do you see the costs rising and rising?
If this isn’t bad enough, the process is like the Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first. What’s on second” routine. For even the simplest of changes to the site, it has to go through the middle-man to the subcontractor for anything to get done. And, it can take weeks!
This is just mind-boggling. What a waste of money and time.
What’s an author to do?
There is so much information online advising on the basic dos and don’ts of creating a website, but you do need to do a bit of research to find it. And, there are plenty of legitimate and reasonable services out there. If you’re confused or uncertain, ask around.
Here are 5 starting tips to create an author website:
1. Choose an effective domain name. Think about it carefully. You want a name that will be search engine effective, reflect what the site is about, and is able to grow with you (unless you are creating the site for a specific book, service, or product). You can also use the title and subtitle to elaborate on the domain name.
2. Decide if you have the skills, or want to learn them, to create a website of your own. It can be pretty simple. You can check out Create Your WordPress Website Today (no code, no technical stuff, no fuss). It’s an interactive 5-day eclass through WOW! Women on Writing with lots of hand-holding and video instruction.
3. If you decide you want to hire someone to create the website for you, look for someone:
– Who wants to establish themselves as a website creator
– Who does it in her spare time
– Who has a writing/marketing service and does it more as a courtesy to clients
You will pay much, much less. And, try to make arrangements that will include the designer teach you how to manage your own site. This will make updates, changes, and posting much easier, and cost free.
4. If you feel you can create your own, you can choose a free hosting site, such as WordPress, Weebly, or Blogger. On the flip side, if the thought of having to create a website feels daunting, go for Blogger.com; it’s very user friendly and good for beginners. And with its updates, it has a number of features much like other websites.
Hot Tip: If you’re serious about marketing you, your books, and/or your services, go for a paid-hosting site.
5. Keep in mind that down the road you may want to have a website that can be effectively optimized and that’s more SEO versatile, and one that you actually OWN.
For these reasons, you should have a paid WordPress site from the beginning. The prices range from around $4 to $12 per month – depending on how long you sign up for. And, they have occasional specials where you can sign up for as low as $3.95 per month for a 36 month plan.
I use Bluehost for my sites and love it. I’m also an affiliate for them. You can get your own website and hosting through them too!
These five tips are the starting point for your author website and will hopefully help you from being taken to the website design cleaners.