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Marketing Tactics > Author website setup

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message 1: by Lara (last edited Aug 05, 2018 09:01AM) (new)

Lara | 45 comments Any advice (good or bad experiences) on setting up an author website from scratch - and can you recommend any particular providers?


message 2: by Cliff (new)

Cliff Yates | 1 comments I have been looking at transitioning to something like Author pro. But I still act and do comedy. And want to still showcase videos and appearances. Interested in feedback on different themes


message 3: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Gilmore (goodreadscomnicole_gilmore) | 5 comments I'm a new author and I just set up a sort of author website with Godaddy. I personally don't think that it has to be an "author" website per se, but it should be a site that will display author information. I hope this helps.


message 4: by Lara (new)

Lara | 45 comments Nicole wrote: "I'm a new author and I just set up a sort of author website with Godaddy. I personally don't think that it has to be an "author" website per se, but it should be a site that will display author inf..."

Thanks Nicole - I agree. I'm looking for something that suits authors, rather than being designed specifically for authors. I've seen GoDaddy advertised. Would be interested in feedback on it.


message 5: by Lara (new)

Lara | 45 comments Shobhit wrote: "The best effective way will be to start a WordPress or Blogger blog and then host it on your web address. It is the most easy way for any author who is not that tech savvy to start the website.

Li..."


Thank you!


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
The no links rule is still in effect, guys.


message 7: by Leonard (new)

Leonard Clifton | 2 comments Lara wrote: "Nicole wrote: "I'm a new author and I just set up a sort of author website with Godaddy. I personally don't think that it has to be an "author" website per se, but it should be a site that will dis..."

Godaddy is good. I used a self-publishing company's website to create mine. They use WordPress. I am not tech savy at all myself. I hope this helps.


message 8: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 143 comments I think most writers use Wordpress. It seems to have a nice look to it. Some of us (myself included) use Wix. I am not sure I would use it again, it seems more oriented to retail businesses. Still, it works ok.


message 9: by Erica (new)

Erica Forrest | 14 comments I'm blogging with WordPress too. I've tried both Weebly and Wix, and the design was slick but it is more retail oriented. WordPress suits me better because I blog, but the themes are unfortunately not so attractive unless you're able to get the paid plan. I'd recommend working with a WordPress blog then upgrade to a paid site.

Has anyone had an experience with SquareSpace? I've seen the ads but not checked it out.


message 10: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I use WordPress for my own and a number of other sites. I've used Wix for the landing of a book bundle I collaborated on, I just wanted a long single-page landing page and wanted to see what all the buzz about with Wix. I wouldn't want to use it for anything really involved. It's pretty limited. I haven't used SquareSpace. And I've used Blogger for my hubby's blogs.

Godaddy is just a host, you can use WordPress or something else with them. I haven't been particularly happy when I've worked with them. Certainly don't pay for any of their extras.

WordPress has tons of different themes to choose from. I use Prose on mine, but I don't think it's available anymore. I use a number of plugins and CSS coding to expand what I can do with it. I use Author Pro on the one I set up for my boss this year, and it is good, but quite limited. Even on the very simple website I have set up for him, I'm already looking at the CSS coding required to expand the number of front page widget areas.

There are also a number of different plug-ins you can use for authors/books in WordPress, and I think I've played with most of them...


message 11: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments I use Wix. I do blog but don't particularly like the blog app. They had a reasonable paid plan (on sale when I got it) and it was easy enough to set up something that I can manipulate to my liking except perhaps the blog and the code used to create my sign-up page (tied to my email list).

My suggestion is to find an author whose site you like and would like to emulate then find the platform that best meets what you want to accomplish.

You need to determine the following:
- If you want to blog or not, if so, how fancy you want it to look
- Whether you want to have your own domain or not
- If you want to build an email list
- If you want your email list to use your domain: myname @ mydomainname.whateveryouchoose

You can link a WordPress blog to Wix (google to find out how).

As for your own domain, if you want one, I suggest getting a domain separate from wherever you will end up hosting your site so that your domain stays with you if you decide to change web host.

As for email list, you need to purchase an inbox from somewhere if you want to be able to "receive" email from someone using your domain specific email. There are plenty of email marketing tools you can use to send emails as if it's from your domain but no one can reply to it unless you have an inbox tied to your domain to actually receive those emails (this may depend on the email marketing tool you choose). Don't forget to think about scale when choosing - some are free but then the price is high after a certain number of subscribers is reached.

All the wonderful things I learned about last fall when I set up my author website.


message 12: by Lara (new)

Lara | 45 comments Lots of great advice, so far. Thank you!


message 13: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Hi Erica . . . I used Square Space to create my author website and am happy with it. It takes a bit of muddling around to figure out, but it's not too bad.


message 14: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I have two sites: and author blog and a monthly book promotion site. For both I use Blogger (free) and pay Google $12 a year for each domain name. The layouts are pretty restricted (it's a blog format, after all), but I can pin an informational post to the top if I'd like, and I can use basic HTML to build my pages (which is great for my promo site since I can dump all my collected data into a text file, pretty it up, and paste).

For my author stuff, I'm a negligent blogger at best, so paying for hosting would be wasted money. For my promo site, the blog layout is perfect and there's the added bonus that I don't have to maintain a separate mailer service for newsletters. Google takes care of authentication, maintenance, distribution, etc, but I can make some minor tweaks.

There's also the option to add email addresses at my domain, but I haven't done that because I'm allowed up to 100 alias addresses, so I can still have 'info' or 'contact' at my domain.


message 15: by Angela (new)

Angela Joseph | 132 comments I use my blog for my freelance writing business as well as my author blog. I purchased my domain name from Go Daddy and use Mom Webs for hosting. They installed my Word Press blog and I have the freedom to change the theme whenever I feel like it. I use Mailer Lite for newsletters, which I don't have to pay for if I stay under 1000 subscribers. So far, it's working out pretty well.


message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill (jillbrock) | 77 comments I use WIX, but the their design options are limited in regards to authors/writers. It helps if you are familiar with the design options and how to use them. For me it was a learning process (I'm still learning.)


message 17: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Walker (jetplague) | 33 comments As someone trying to save money, I’ve just used weebly. I don’t own my domain....again, spending money is not an option right now. But I’m ok with it for the time being.
Really, I haven’t found a good enough web hosting site that really is user friendly and economical. I’ve tried many and found them all to be lacking in service and functionality most of the time. Wordpress is hard to grasp...I don’t understand it at all.

I shouldn’t have to take a course on how to operate and build a website - they need to be simplified and accessible so that anyone can get on there and just do it without complications.
This probably why writers go to publishers and agents...they’ll do it for you. When you self publish...you’re kinda on your own to figure it out. And it is frustrating.


message 18: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 726 comments Mod
I, personally, found Wordpress quite easy to grasp. Register, choose a theme, fiddle with it a bit if you want - in quite an intuitive manner - and that's it.
Of course, if you want something more complex, it might need more work. For basic needs, it's quite easy (+ all the themes have live previews you can look through).


message 19: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments A publisher won't build a website for you. They may give you a way to maintain an author page but what reader goes to the publisher's site to find information about an author? Best-selling authors pay for their own site. My domain name costs about $12 a year, hosting with wix about $85. It costs more in supplies for a painter to paint than it costs me to have a website. Wix is pretty simple.


message 20: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments Does it take time and effort? Yes. Is there a learning curve? Yes. But the effort is worth it and it really is the set up that may require some technical fiddluig, a one time thing.

It still remains the author's responsibility to add, create, maintain content of their author's site, traditionally or self published. That's really where the most effort lies.


message 21: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harju (pamelaharju) | 81 comments Erica wrote: "Has anyone had an experience with SquareSpace? I've seen the ads but not checked it out"

I use Squarespace. It's pretty easy to use once you figure out that everything is about the tiles and positioning them correctly. I've never had any issues, and it's pretty inexpensive. I have my own domain too, which is great. You can link it to many other providers, e.g. to your mailing list, which makes life a lot of easier.


message 22: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) It has been my experience that the majority of small/midlist trad pubbed authors do not have a website at all. I've attempted to collaborate with other authors who I have done events with, won awards with, etc. and the trad pubbed authors are almost impossible to get a hold of. No website. Many of them have no twitter or facebook account. I've even tried to reach them through their publishers' websites, and of course they never write back.


message 23: by Lara (new)

Lara | 45 comments Lori-Ann wrote: "I use Wix. I do blog but don't particularly like the blog app. They had a reasonable paid plan (on sale when I got it) and it was easy enough to set up something that I can manipulate to my liking ..."

Thanks - you've brought up things I hadn't even considered!


message 24: by Vicky (new)

Vicky Forte | 1 comments Hi! I am a self published author and also a webmaster. As a self published author I can tell you a website is a great investment, last week I was featured on a radio program and when the interviewer asked "So, where can people find your books?" I just answered "Please visit my website, you'll find the complete list of libraries. You'll also find the first chapters of my novels and the ebook at a very conveniente price." While I'm sure most people here can setup a Wordpress it's a time consuming process, specially when done by the first time. I can offer you a nicely tuned web with four sections to present yourself, your books, a blog to engage new readers and keep the old ones, integrated to Paypal so you can sell books /e-books directly and a private section so you can use your website to work on your new projects. For further information you may contact me at hola@vickyforte.com.ar Best regards!


message 25: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (last edited Aug 07, 2018 09:56AM) (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 726 comments Mod
P.D. Workman (Pamela) wrote: "It has been my experience that the majority of small/midlist trad pubbed authors do not have a website at all."

While I have a website (again, I am not an author -YET-) and I have aversion to social networks (Facebook data leaks is something I expected to happen when FB was just starting), my personal plan is to be the most active here on Goodreads. Mostly because it's a site aimed at readers while social networks are just bloat of advertisement, selfies, pet pictures, and spam - with a seasoning of personal photo books. I'd probably never bother to find something author-related there when I think it should be easier on GR or Amazon author page.


message 26: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
As stated two days ago in this very thread, the no link rule is still in effect and probably always will be. Discussing setting up web sites - good. Linking to your website - a no no.


message 27: by Lila (new)

Lila Diller Pamela wrote: "I use Squarespace. It's pretty easy to use once you figure out ..."

I also use Squarespace and have been pretty happy with it. I started with Wix, but I hated it. I didn't know what I was doing that first time. I never got a single subscriber or sale from it. I find Squarespace is much more user-friendly.

Now. I am a regular weekly blogger, so it made sense to me to pay $16/mo for all the integrations and templates and everything else they pretty much do for me. I also love that no matter how many blog posts with separate URLs I create, my blog still only counts as 1 of the 20 pages I'm allowed on the cheapest plan. The downside is that if I ever decide to offer my writing course, I won't have enough pages to host it there. (I will either need to pay more or use a platform like Teachable, which still requires a monthly fee, I believe.)


message 28: by Haley (new)

Haley Langwood (haleylangwood) | 2 comments I use wix dot com for my website and WP dot com for my blog. Plus, I do have Instagram and Facebook. Wix is very user-friendly.


message 29: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia | 22 comments Tom wrote: "it appears they [WordPress] no longer offer the free version..."

This is not correct. WP still offers the free version, I'm running an experimental free site there right now, just to learn how it works. See their page www dot wordpress dot com slash pricing. I agree with the folks here who've said WP is a bit complicated... I got started by reading blogs such as WPBeginner, and looking for YouTube tutorials. As a complete beginner, you can spend a weekend on it, and have a nice website up and running.


message 30: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
Jude wrote: "My website is....

Yeah, hi. We still have not gotten rid of the no links rule. I've only mentioned this twice in this thread.


message 31: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
NOTICE: The poster is seeking advice for how to set up a web site. No one is asking to look at your web sites and we do have a no link rule. I have had to remove several posts from this thread of people thinking this is an invitation to draw attention to their web sites. If it continues, I'll close the thread. Thanks.


message 32: by Jude (new)

Jude Hayland | 34 comments I think some of us interpreted the post as asking what some of us had intended and used for a website- hence the examples and references to our own - not for publicity for ourselves but as a means of demonstrating what you can achieve with, say, word press


message 33: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Aug 11, 2018 11:13AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
Jude wrote: "I think some of us interpreted the post ..."

Moot point. The rules state:

#7 - No links. To books. To blogs. No links.

We used to limit posting links, but due to the increasing number of harmful links being shared, we now ask that you DO NOT POST ANY LINKS.


And in two posts in this thread I asked people to stop linking.

If Lara is truly interested in looking over anyone's web site for any reason, she can message you and ask you for a link. Since she is not asking for links and links are forbidden by the rules anyway, there is no reason to be posting links.

I'm not sure why this isn't clear and why any misinterpretation should be happening.


message 34: by Arwen (new)

Arwen Spicer (arwen_spicer) Random Wordpress 2 cents: I have two Wordpress sites, my official author site, which is managed by a web designer, and a digital teaching portfolio I put up myself with little web experience (I know some basic HTML and did use it a small bit).

My official site is hard for me to figure out. My web designer usually has to go in the tweak the CSS to make changes, but it does look nicer, more pro than the other site.

The teaching site gave me some headaches in setup, but not too bad for someone with little website acumen. It's a basic website design with a home page and a menu linking to other static pages.

Both are based on free themes and both look pretty decent.


message 35: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments A topic I haven't seen here yet concerns those of us who have a WP dot org website, use the free themes that WP offers, but are dissatisfied with the choices for one reason or another. I've been with WP org for about 2 years. Siteground dot com is my web host (I think that's what you call it.)

I'm considering paying for a theme but wonder if there is one that SIA members use/have used and are pleased with that allow them to set up their website the way they want to. So many seem to focus on either retail businesses or plain blogs and don't necessarily offer what I or other authors may want for their websites.

I've studied dozens of other authors websites and noticed that a fair number use Xuni dot com. I also see that Elegant Themes dot com has what seems like reasonably priced themes that authors may like.

I'm a do-it-yourself kind of guy (mainly because I'm frugal and also like to learn new things, which is why I'd prefer to find a versatile theme and adapt it to work best with my website content.

Has anyone had a good or bad experience with a website theme you paid for (not including custom designs of course, which I assume are more expensive)? Thanks.

Chris


message 36: by Kevin (new)

Kevin I stopped doing websites for clients earlier this year, but when I did I had good luck with two themes, both free: Suffusion and Mantra. I didn't really see a compelling reason to pay for a theme, but I'm kind of geeky and willing to play with stuff until I get it to work. Hope this helps.


message 37: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments Chris wrote: "A topic I haven't seen here yet concerns those of us who have a WP dot org website, use the free themes that WP offers, but are dissatisfied with the choices for one reason or another. I've been wi..."

For that matter, has anyone had any experiences with Divi specifically (found on Elegant Themes)? Or the "Author Theme" from Olympusthemes (dot) com. Thanks again.

Chris


message 38: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments Kevin wrote: "I stopped doing websites for clients earlier this year, but when I did I had good luck with two themes, both free: Suffusion and Mantra. I didn't really see a compelling reason to pay for a theme, ..."

Thanks, Kevin, I'll check them out.


message 39: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments For anyone interested, I found a site called Beaver Builder that is apparently similar to Divi in that it works with Wordpress that enables you to drag and drop content, photos, text boxes, and do a large amount of customizing of your website. I played with the demo for a few minutes. It "appears" to have a lot of functionality and seems fairly easy to understand, but I didn't get into it far enough to see if it could do some of the specific things I want to do for my website.

Just do a search for Beaver Builder and go to their website (and NO, I am not getting a kickback or anything from them. :-) ) Just doing my own research and stumbled across it.

Chris


message 40: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 906 comments I just redid my website. First of all Wordpress does have have a learning curve but it isn't too steep. I just redid my website (still need to do some clean-up) but I used a drag and drop template from Superb which was a breeze to set up and had all the basic functionality I needed. (They have a lot of different templates for all types of sites) After paying for someone to set it up in 2014, I changed it last year as I hated the original theme as I couldn't change things and it was difficult to work with. The new drag and drop themes make it easy with no coding and easy updating. You can change themes easily. I did use a company called Thrive for a year. Yes it's pretty and has all the bells and whistles but it is time consuming and a pain in the a$$ to set up posts, especially with the new updates on top of being expensive. Because I had plans, I went the cheap way and love the results.

The bottom line is to play around with the themes on Wordpress, find one you like and use it. The drag and drop themes (they will show up if you put that in the search box) are so easy to use. If you want landing pages, Optimize press is a plug in which does those beautifully in a matter of minutes if you have what you want ready.


message 41: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments B.A. wrote: "I just redid my website. First of all Wordpress does have have a learning curve but it isn't too steep. I just redid my website (still need to do some clean-up) but I used a drag and drop template ..."
Thanks, B.A., I'll check Superb. :-)


message 42: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferoakleydenslow) | 1 comments I switched to SquareSpace when I started setting up the launch for my current book and found it much easier to use to achieve the look I wanted. I started with a very basic landing page for my book and it's been easy to build out, adding a blog and even a password only page for members of my launch team.


message 43: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments Thanks, Jennifer. I'll check it out.

Chris


message 44: by Milly Jane (new)

Milly Jane Maven | 18 comments I use blogger, I've become very familiar with it over the years as I write under three pen names and have very different looking blogs for each. It can be a little clunky at times, but it has lots of benefits too, and I can create pages within the blog to showcase not just my books but my travels with loads of photos, so it can be fun. It's easy to change themes and spruce things up from time to time, it's free and definitely worth a go.


message 45: by Chris (new)

Chris Norbury (chrisnorbury) | 40 comments thanks, Milly Jane.


message 46: by Eva (new)

Eva Schmidt | 2 comments My first website was WordPress but I switched to Weebly and find that it is easier to use. You can drag items right onto your site.


message 47: by Lynn (new)

Lynn | 32 comments B.A. - this is really helpful. I need to get a website up for my novel. I already have a blog on WordPress so I'm familiar with them.


message 48: by Lara (new)

Lara | 45 comments Thanks for all this ongoing advice. I’ve recently been trying Google’s website. It’s basic and not as ‘sexy’ as square-space, but very easy to use - although as I use Google (docs, slides etc) on a daily basis for work, that probably helps. It’s also cheap compared to most sites - haven’t gone live, yet, but I’ll feedback!


message 49: by K. Lynne (new)

K. Lynne Duvall (klynneduvall) | 2 comments I use heyleia.com, basically its an a.i. that creates a unique website for you and then you can still customize that, as well. You can use it on your desktop, phone , or tablet and its pretty easy to use all 3 ways. They have a free and paid version (i use the free one, of course) but what I most like about it is their customer service. I'm used to waiting a day or two when I go on different websites to get a question answered, but I got my responses and fixes about an hour after I asked for help and I only had to do that twice.


message 50: by Oscar (new)

Oscar Calderon (oscarcalderon) | 3 comments I used WordPress with Elementor; it allows you to drag and drop. There's a tutorial on youtube called "How to Make a Website in 10 mins - Simple & Easy." I followed its instructions and it worked.


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