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Complete Guide to Setting up an Author Website

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Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Now you know how to get your book published, you’re going to want to start building your online presence with an author website!

Complete Guide to Setting up an Author Website

Despite having your book listed with online shops, you still want to have your own piece of digital real estate.

An author website is considered necessary, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are easy-to-use website builders out there, and even website designers who do all the hard work for you.

It’s important to note that once you’ve set up your website, you going to want to maintain it. Which is why this guide to setting up an author website includes an extra content curation section!

Here’s what to expect in this guide.

Choose your style

As much as this might come down to your individual preference, there are many different types of websites out there.

  • Blog
  • Informational
  • Funnel site
  • Company
  • Ecommerce
  • Portfolio

It’s much easier to work out what YOU want when you know what your readers want.

Authors will come up with many reasons not to write a blog. But at the end of the day, a blog offers so much more in terms of reaching an organic audience.

An author blog is the go-to website style for most authors because it’s easy to maintain and allows you to remain active in the eyes of your readers.

A combination of a blog, informational, funnel, and portfolio site tends to be the way to go.

A funnel is where you’re bringing an audience to your site then funnelling them to a location to buy your book or a newsletter.

TIP: Only choose the ecommerce route if you have the time and dedication to maintain it. There’s also added expense when it comes to developing and running an ecommerce store.

Blogging

Many guides will tell you exactly the type of blog post to write, and they would be wrong.

A blog is an individual’s way to express themselves through the power of words, freely accessible to everyone. What you want to write on your blog is your choice.

I wouldn’t recommend going the paid content route unless you really have the audience willing to pay to read your posts.

With so many paywalls popping up all over the internet, a reader is more inclined to click through to the next site to find the content they want to read.

There’s only one rule when it comes to blogging the right way…

Post regularly!

Develop a schedule and stick with it. It doesn’t matter if you post once a day or once a month, sticking to a schedule helps you and your readers.

Microsoft To Do is one way to keep on top of lists and schedules.

If you don’t have the content or ideas to write a post once a day, then don’t. A larger relevant post once a month is better than 30 smaller irrelevant posts over the same timescale.

Domain name

A domain name is important as you can use it in marketing material, and use an email ending in the same name, like hello@yourchosendomainname.com

It also helps with directing people to your website and gives you a solid base to conduct your author business from.

If your name’s already taken, then try adding ‘author‘ or ‘books‘ to the end of it. Alternatively, choose a publishing name and run the author site from there.

Your author domain name should be:

  • Memorable
  • Easy to read
  • Easy to type in!
  • Relevant

Domain names can be purchased direct from the website editor you choose for the job!

Alternatively, domain registrars like Namecheap and GoDaddy are the go-to options. Namecheap’s also a good place to search for available names.

Select a platform

Now you have the style of author website you want and the name, it’s time to select the best website editor for you.

The most common website builder or CMS (Content Management System) is WordPress.

You can either build your author website on WordPress.com or opt to host your own WordPress installation on your own hosting, which is discussed in the next section.

Other options good for authors include:

Bear in mind that all subscription website models will offer you many upsells. Only buy what you really need.

It’s also a good idea to get a free trial first, to see if the platform is a good fit for your site and abilities.

Host your own site

Hosting your own website with a hosting company isn’t as hard as you might think.

The top hosting companies, like Hostinger and Bluehost offer various ready-made WordPress packages.

These can be beneficial on your bank balance and offer better scope for growth and futureproofing.

Once you really get the hang of hosting your own site, you can even expand to add additional websites under the same hosting.

Additional websites are perfect for authors wanting a site specifically for a book’s character or series.

Add basic pages

Once you’ve got your site up and running, you’ll need to add basic pages.

These include both legal and informational pages based on the type of site you want.

  • Privacy
  • Terms
  • Disclaimer
  • About
  • Contact
  • Books
  • Blog
  • Homepage

Don’t forget to add links to social media, reviews, testimonials, and other sites your books are listed for sale on.

Author website pricing

It needn’t be expensive, and with hosting packages from a little as £2.42/month, there’s enough choice out there for everyone.

Some hosting packages include a free domain for the first year, which means you can get started for less than £30.

If you want more features, then expect to pay more for the services you need.

If you decide on platforms like Wix or Squarespace, then you will pay higher prices for premium services. The benefit is the customer service that comes with it, and the ability to produce a professional website with ease.

Having someone design a bespoke website for you is great if you have a large audience. However, paying thousands for an author website is completely unnecessary.

At the end of the day, it comes down to:

  • The style of site you want
  • Your budget
  • Which platform you prefer

Setting yourself up as an author business can be taxing on the mind and wallet. So, if you can save on the wallet then you can put your mind to the main part of being an author – the writing!

Marketing

You’ve done all the hard work. You’ve built the site, added a few posts, and the site is open for visitors to come along!

Unless you have a built-in audience, they won’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to work hard to build your audience.

We’ve put together a giant guide on how to market your book, right here on this site.

Content curation

One of the most overlooked aspects of running any site is content curation.

Content curation means to look after the content already published on your site. Too many sites leave their old posts to rot in the doldrums of the internet.

By practicing a little bit of content curation, you can ensure the older posts remain relevant and up to date.

You wouldn’t want a new reader to come across an old post from years ago with a different blurb to the one you have now!

Blogging isn’t an immediate win, it takes time, patience, and dedication.

But in the end, it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears you put into it.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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