Website Planning for Authors

by Tina Gayle

One of the first things authors are asked? “Do you have a website?”

Some have authors use wordpress or blogger to host their site while others decide to try hosting sites.

As a former programmer, I wanted a site where I had more control. Why? Because there has been times when for one reason or another blogger has decide to take down my site. Trying to get answers as to what the problem entails is almost impossible. If you have a hosting site, you can call them and get immediate help.

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By using a hosting site, I know I’m can control what happens with my site. My site is programmed using HTML code, but don’t let that scare you.

A number of internet provide now have Weebly Drag and Drop Web builder. This feature allows authors to put together a professional looking website in a few hours. (I use Hypermart as my service provider.)

However, I still use blogger for my blog and just use a link for my readers to gain access to my home site.

When planning a website, an author needs to decide on a number of things.

Branding- what do you want to show on your site?
Number of pages? (note: Weebly sites have 5 to 6 pages with the basic plan…more pages cost more.)

What type of pages?

Here are some examples of the different type of pages one can have.

  1. Home Page / Welcome page – is like the entryway to your house. It is an introduction to you. It should include things like author’s picture, available books, a welcome note, brief biography and links to all the other pages on the site.
  2. Books Page – as an author you want people to find your books. This page should contain all the books you’ve written with either blurbs, excerpts or reviews. Or links to this information.
  3. Bio Page – a page to tell people about yourself. Who you are, what you write, more about your personal interests and other information you want to share.
  4. Links Page – this page gives visitors to your site links to other places on the Internet where they can find you. Also, it can include links to your friends and publisher. This is important because links to other sites that link back to you increases your rating on the Internet. (This also increase your SEO rating—see definition below.)
  5. Other Pages – the possibility for other pages are endless. Here is where you make your site your own.
  6. Picture page – share pictures.
  7. Contact page – where you give fans your email address.
  8. Excerpt pages – giving excerpts of your books or the ability to read the first chapter.
  9. Video Page – to display video you’ve made. (A great way to connect with readers.)
  10. Some sites also have chat areas or forums.

Each author has to decide what they want and why?
Feel free to hop around mine and see what you like and don’t like. Viewing other sites can help you decide what you want on yours.

Once these things are decided then comes the creative part of the process – colors, pictures, type print, headers, footers, etc.

This is not a one day project. Take some time and thing about what is best for your site.