The inside scoop on author websites.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to spread the word about your book. And an author website seems a natural way to do it.
But do you really need a website?
Well, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It depends on you.
If you’re thinking about creating an author website, here are some things to consider.
There are a million reasons to have an author website. For many, selling books is the most important.
Sound like a plan? You’ll need a website set up with a store. Then develop a process to prepare and ship orders that come your way.
Exciting as this can be, it can be a hassle. After all, you’re a writer, not a delivery professional. Making trips to the post office can be annoying. But if it’s up your alley, go for it!
That said, you can still sell books through your website without shipping them yourself. Instead of selling them right off your site, provide links where your books can be purchased. This allows readers to choose the vendor of their choice. Then you don’t have to bother with packing or shipping books.
At Argyle Fox Publishing, we rely on Ingram Spark to print and distribute our authors’ titles. Thanks to Ingram, our author titles are for sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BooksaMillion.com, and beyond.
Wherever your book is available, include a link on your site. That makes it easier for readers to find and purchase your title.
Creating a website isn’t all you have to do. Because eventually, your author website will get outdated. You’ll grow tired of how it looks or will have a new book that you want to promote.
That means update time. Adding new pages and material to websites isn’t rocket science, but it takes time to do right. And if you’re changing the design of your site, you can burn up hours of your day to make it just right.
In addition to these updates, you’ll need to update plugins and web themes. Otherwise, your site may not function well. Thankfully, these updates are usually as simple as the push of a button. Many times, you can even set these to update automatically.
Want to attract folks with your website? Add content regularly. The easiest way to do that is with a blog. On your blog, you can write about anything you want. But to attract potential readers, write about things they care about.
Oh, and how do you wind up in Google searches? Frequent updates and SEO. Not sure what SEO is? Find out, then use what you learn to help your author website land get on the first page of relevant searches.
If creating and maintaining an author website on your own, there are many things to consider. Here are a few.
- Your domain name. Make it as short and memorable as possible. Use your name or the name of your book series as the web address. After buying the domain, you’ll need to renew it regularly to ensure the URL stays in your possession.
- Web hosting. Without hosting, you can’t have a website. Web hosting is essentially rent for your website. This, too, requires regular renewal. Fortunately, you can often buy hosting from the same company where you buy your domain name. Choose a company with great customer service and they’ll help you get the hosting all set up. (Argyle Fox Publishing recommends NameCheap.com.)
- Site security. While there are unsecured sites out there, there aren’t many. By buying SSL (secure sockets layer) certification, you let visitors know your site is safe. This is particularly important if you’re selling books directly on your site. It’s also important if readers can download materials from your author website. This must be renewed regularly as well.
Is an Author Website for You?
Though a great tool, an author website isn’t for every writer. The decision is totally up to you.
If you plan to update your site regularly, it has the potential to grow your audience. However, a website isn’t a guaranteed way to boost sales. (Actually, there is no guaranteed way to boost sales.)