We live in a digital age, and even the most techno-phobic among us have used the Internet to search for a book or author we love or whose work we want to read. Few things are more frustrating than when not even Google has the answer to what you’re looking for, and if you’re a writer without a website, we have some bad news for you--this is most likely the case when people search for you. Don’t worry, though, we have good news, too! You can clear up a lot of this search confusion. Enter: the author website.
Why should I create an author website?
Your book may be available for sale on a publisher's website, but what if someone just searches your name? You may use social media to promote your work, but not everyone uses Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, so how will you reach those people?
You may be interested in teaching workshops or speaking/conference opportunities, but how can anyone get in contact with you? It may seem silly for someone who writes for print to need a significant online presence, but a good author website can and should serve as the online core of everything you do as a writer. Like the proverbial home, all Internet roads should lead back to this central spot, where all of the answers to the above questions are consolidated and localized. In fact, in this day and age, not having a website can actually have quite a negative impact.
How do I create an author website?
Luckily for writers everywhere, we live in a time where creating an author website can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. It can also be as inexpensive (free!) or expensive as you want it to be. But where do you start? We suggest with a Wordpress, Wix, or Weebly account. These three are the best website builders for beginners, and they are all user-friendly with a broad scope regarding capabilities.
Each of these options will allow you to choose the look that best suits you as a writer, whether that means working off a template or dragging-and-dropping the elements you want. They are all free to sign up for, but also have paid options for various benefits like more capabilities, increased access to improved templates, and, most importantly, a customized domain name. A few dollars a month is well worth the investment to be able to have a domain name tailored just for you!
What should I include?
Your author website should be as clean-cut and straightforward as possible, which isn’t always necessarily a simple thing to do. To help, here are the most important things we think should be included:
Beyond that, the more often your website is updated, the better for Google search results, so a blog is always a great way to keep your content fresh!
Have we convinced you yet? Author websites aren’t only easy to create, or a useful marketing device, or an avenue to more opportunity. They are all of these things, and--we would argue--are a necessary tool for author success.