So you have written your books, what now? The world wide web is great for artists, authors, writers, entrepreneurs and creatives who want to expand their viewers base and get globally recognised. This can be a great tool to build your online presence and a platform to explore your audience base. A website is your primary piece of real estate on the internet.
What is the purpose of your author website
What’s an author’s biggest goal? To sell books!
A website is a key way readers can find your books and learn more about you as a writer. You can sell your books directly online or have links to online retailers ie: Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble etc. Also link up your social channels for readers to find easily and have a blog page where you can have readers coming back for more and engage with your work.
Your website also gives you the opportunity to capture people’s email addresses and to build a newsletter list. Your mailing list is extremely important, even if you’re a literary fiction writer.
Whether you are a published author or self published, here are some steps for setting up your digital home.
A domain name is an “address” on the Internet. You need to decide on your domain name before you launch your author website.
Find a domain that’s easy for users to digest and doesn’t have misspellings, numbers or hyphens. Often people choose their name or pen name, usually full names yourname.com or yournameauthor.com or yournamebooks.com. Consider using a “.com” as it is the most popular top-level domain, consider using this first. The .com domain extension has become synonymous with the internet. Nearly 46% of all registered domain names are .com domains.
You can read more about domain extension. Don’t try and use something cute or funny happylittleauthor25.com isn’t something you will want to have later on in life and you won’t be taken seriously among your competition.
You can explore for your website name:
You will register the name and pay either a monthly fee or a yearly fee. It’s usually easier to choose the provider who will handle your hosting too. See below for Hosting provider suggestions.
Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. Their computer will then connect to your server and your web pages will be delivered to them through the browser. Hosting is basically the server (computer) that stores your site and allows traffic in and out.
Here is a good article which gives a good breakdown with pro’s and con’s for some of the bigger service providers out there: Web Hosting Services. See what package suits you.
Here are some of the more popular hosting providers we have used, check them out:
Types of Website Hosting
Shared hosting is the most basic form of web hosting available. Purchasing a shared hosting plan is like renting a home with a few housemates; or in this case, up to a few thousand. Best for new websites and blogs. All websites are stored on one physical hosting server where they share server resources like storage, bandwidth, RAM and computing power. If your website doesn’t get too much traffic, this is the best place to start.
VPS means Virtual Private Server. Essentially, it’s the middle ground between shared and dedicated server hosting. Think of a shared server host with partitions between accounts that provide extra privacy and features. It iis a lot like renting your own apartment in an apartment complex.
Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server is all yours. You have all rights and responsibilities to it. The freedom comes with a higher monetary cost and labor intensity, however. Dedicated hosting is recommended for big companies with big websites and big needs.
Cloud hosting is another option somewhere in between dedicated and shared hosting. Instead of having all of your data on a single machine, cloud hosting spreads the data across a number of different machines, different servers in different places that are all connected together. You manage your data through a “virtual machine” that accesses all the different servers across the “cloud”.
Reseller hosting is kind of a hand-me-down version of shared hosting. A company takes a package from a parent host company, bundles or packages it how it pleases, and resells it to other accounts as their own.
Most websites used shared hosting, which is more affordable and it is suited for smaller websites. It all depends on the traffic you will be receiving in future. You can always upgrade your hosting if you feel it’s not working for you later on.
Security is a big deal these days, with hackers trying to access your site. Even Google has integrated the use of SSL certificates in how they rank sites in their results, with secure websites having a slight edge over non-secure websites. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, it is a security technology for creating an encrypted connection between a server and a client or visitor, keeping the data that’s being transferred secure.
It’s that little padlock on the left next to your url. If your “SITE NOT SECURE” you may lose potential clients or even be at risk of having your site hacked.
What is hacking?
Hacking is the process of gaining unauthorized access into a computer system, or group of computer systems. This is done through cracking of passwords and codes which gives access to the systems. Websites are either held for ransom, stealing of confidential data, embezzlement of funds or infected with malicious code and spam. Here is an in depth article about hacking and the objectives if you want to read up more.
What is a SSL certificate?
It used to be the case that only sites that accept credit cards or payment details had to have a valid SSL certificate, but these days it’s a must for pretty much every site.
Most of the best web hosts out there also have a one-click installer to make your site secure by installing a certificate. Often it is included in your hosting package, be sure to check that out.
Set up a professional email address. Link it to your domain name, it’s better sounding and more credible than having a hotmail/gmail/yahoo address. Try steer away from “firstname.lastname@example.org” – info accounts are notorious for getting spammed and also doesn’t sound very inviting to write to, have your email personal, even have your first name again email@example.com
Mailing Lists and Newsletters
One of the most common things you hear successful entrepreneurs say when asked what they would have done differently when it comes to their marketing is this:
“I wish I had started to grow my email list sooner!”
An email list is valuable because it is made up completely of potential clients, fans or people who have shown an interest in you or your company! When they choose to sign up, they have “allowed” you to promote to them.
Email marketing is one of the easier forms of marketing and can be done for free. Setting up an email automation or system isn’t even difficult. It just takes some of your time to fine-tune the setup and make your emails stand out more from all the other boring emails littering the average inbox. Read more about the benefits of email marketing and finding a service provider to set up your emails.
Have your mailing list signup form link to your website, have it pop up and show on various pages – not just the home page, sometimes people miss it. Offer something enticing for readers to sign up and join your mailing list. Grow that list! Not sure where to start? Read this article: Email Marketing Fundamentals for Authors
Use Google Analytics
Set up your Google Analytics account on Day 1. As you gain traffic you will find this a terrific editorial tool because you’ll know what your readers are looking for, what they actually spend time reading, where they come from (country, city etc), and much more valuable data. Nothing will teach you more about how you’re doing online than Google Analytics, and it’s free. Don’t forget: launch it on Day 1.
Don’t get overwhelmed!
Setting up your own digital world should be an exciting journey! We know it can be somewhat overwhelming and we hope this article has helped clear some things up and give you a guide where to start. If you want to set up a website to really showcase your brand, give us a shout – we would love to be a part of the adventure!