Create an Author Website – Marketing for Authors

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It’s time for another marketing lesson! This is my third video in my Marketing for Authors series, so if you haven’t checked out the first video, The Basics, be sure to do that now.

Today we’re going to be talking about the thing every author needs, and that’s a website. Your website will be your home base. All roads (social media outlets) lead back to your website. Today I’m going to cover three things for you: finding a host for your website, creating a domain name, and what type of content you should be putting on your website.

Find a Website Host:

The first step when creating a website is choosing your website host. There are a lot of options for website hosts, but two I recommend most are WordPress and Wix. Wix is great for beginners but it’s very limited in what you can do. The website you’re on right now is a WordPress site. I love it because it’s still easy to use if you’re a beginner, but there’s a lot more tweaking you can do if you’d like. If you really know what you’re doing, you can also upgrade to WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com) that let’s do use different plugins that make your options almost endless for your website. Both Wix and WordPress have a free version and paid version. The difference between free and paid is your domain.

Claim Your Domain Name:

Your domain is your website address. For this website it is mandilynn.com. If I had a free account through WordPress my domain name would be mandilynn.wordpress.com. That’s not very professional, right? Using a free domain name is fine when you’re first starting out, but when you become more serious about your career you’ll want to claim your own domain name. To do this you’ll have to find a third party to register your domain. I use GoDaddy, but I’ll admit that I’m not sure what the differences are between all the different website registrars are. When you’re choosing your domain name, make sure it’s something that will be easy to find when people search for you, such as your name. Don’t use your books in your domain name, because that means you’ll have to make a different website for each book. Keep it simple and use your name. If your name is common, throw in the word author.

Website Content:

Now that you’ve got your site up and running, what do you put on it? When I was designing my website for the first time I looked to other authors to see what their websites looked like. Here’s a list of what I think are must haves:

  • Blog feed and easy to find subscribe button (if you have a blog)
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a blog but been unable to find the subscribe button.
  • About you page
  • Social media
    • Have a list of everywhere you can be found on social media.
  • Book page with all info of each book you’ve written:
    • book cover
    • summary
    • links to buy
    • chapter excerpt
    • book trailer
  • Contact form 
    • Make sure people can get in contact with you easy. Start building bridges!
  • Events
    • Doing a book signing soon? List it on this page! I also like to make a log of all past events I’ve done. PS- I’m doing a book signing at the end of this month!

Here are some pages that are nice to have, but not totally necessary:

  • Press
    • Keep a log of everywhere you’ve appeared in the press (newspaper, TV, radio, blog interviews/guest posts). This is a great thing to have in your back pocket in case anyone ever asked about your media appearances.
  • Photos
    • Have any photos of book signings that you want to show off?
  • FAQ
    • This is a great place for people to get to know you more.

Overall, remember your website is a place for your author career. Be professional at all times. Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Finding Your Social Media Platform – Marketing for Authors

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Last week I talked about the marketing basics, but this week we’re going to delve a little bit deeper. In my last video/post, I said you needed three things: a product, a home, and a presence. Today we’ll be talking about creating your presence on social media.

Being Present:

Social media is a dream and a nightmare for marketing. On a bright side, it’s free! On the down side, you’ve got a lot of competition. These days everyone is on social media, which is good because that means there will be a look of eyes for you to catch. This key is figuring out how to make yourself present. To do that you’d think it means going on every social media site ever, right? No! Of course not! Do you realize how many social sites there are? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads!

And that’s just a small sample. It’s impossible to be present on all these sites, and if you are, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and you won’t get anywhere.

Finding Your Niche:

So now that you’ve realized there’s no way to be everywhere, it’s time to come to the realization that you have to choose just a small handful. If you’re a new author, start with three or four social sites. As you build your presence online, and you feel more confident, you can start posting on other social sites as well. PS- Goodreads is a must as an author (enroll in the Author Program!).

Where is Your Audience?

The whole point of being on social is so people will know who you are and know that your books exist, right? But what if you choose, say, LinkedIn, which is great, but you’re writing young adult. LinkedIn is typically an older demographic. You need the audience of your social accounts to match up to the audience of your books. If you write young adult, go where the younger audience is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Really any of the social sites but LinkedIn.

Develop a Post Plan and Socialize!

So now you’ve got your social sites chosen, so upload your profile picture, write a short little bio, and let’s get going! The point of being on social media is to develop trust among your followers. Present yourself as someone they can come to, talk to, and rely on. This is a great place for you to post updates on your writing, what books you’re reading and your latest blog post. But you can also share other blog posts you may find helpful. Build relationships with other writers and share their work. Social media is a community. We are here for each other. If you share or re-tweet someone’s post, they may do the same for you.

Is There More?

Yes. There are loads more. THere’s a lot of tools and resources and ideas I have to share with you, but that’s for future posts, so subscribe and stick around!

Where am I?

Since I don’t consider myself a “new author,” I’m present on a lot more than just three or four sites. Here’s where you can find me: Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn.