author website

An Author Website: How to Create an Effective Website

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

March 9, 2023

You may have seen many recommendations to create an author website as part of your marketing and brand awareness. How do you do that, and will it be a difficult or time-consuming process? The good news is that it’s much easier than you think. Here’s how to build an author website you’ll be proud to put your name on.

Get a Domain Name

The first step in creating an author website is buying a domain name. A domain name is your address on the internet. You rent a space where you can “park” your author website under your own name. This service is known as “hosting.”

Several companies supply hosting services. When you build an author website, you pay a small amount yearly to use your domain name. This ensures that nobody else can use the same domain name for a website.

What is the best domain name?

If you want a professional-looking author website, it’s best to use your name. That’s straightforward and simple. It also makes it easy for readers and others to find your site. You may want to give your author website a creative or artistic name, but this will make it hard for others to find you. Using your name means your site will come up when they do an internet search for your name.

If your name is Angela Barnes, choose the domain name or If you have a long, complicated name that’s hard to spell, use just your last name or first name.

Once you have a domain name, you must find a hosting site. Then, you can begin building your author website.

Note: If you choose a do-it-yourself (DIY) website builder to create your author website, the builder will include a hosting service and will handle getting your domain name. You can take care of all these steps at one location and for one fee. We’ll go into more details in the next section.

Choose a Website Builder to Create Your Author Website

DIY website builders allow regular people to design and build their own websites, even if they have no knowledge of coding and no technical knowledge. These sites have exploded in popularity because they allow you to have a professionally designed website up and running in a matter of hours. Whether you want to set up a portfolio or an online store, these DIY builders will help you get started.

In the past, building a website meant learning to code and building a site or hiring professionals to do the coding and design. It was costly and time-consuming. The arrival of WordPress made it easier for ordinary people to build their own websites, but WordPress has a steep learning curve. You don’t need to learn code to use it, but you must learn a specific site-building software. It could take several days to complete your author website using WordPress.

How much technical knowledge do you have?

That said, many people like the flexibility and control they get using WordPress. Websites built with it are highly functional and very professional. If you’d like to maintain that control and don’t mind getting some hands-on technical work, using WordPress is a good option for you.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have any technical expertise and don’t want to learn these skills, a DIY builder is an ideal solution. These services come with hundreds of beautiful templates, drop-and-drag editing, easy setup, and the ability to build, design, and launch an author website in just a few hours. You can customize the templates, change fonts and colors, and add images with ease. They feature “what you see is what you get” technology that lets you see exactly what your site will look like.

These new DIY builders are much faster and easier to use than learning WordPress. They have made it easy for anyone to blog, and they’ve made it easy for anyone to create a well-designed, highly functional, site. Millions of people now use sites like Weebly, HostGator, SquareSpace, and Shopify to establish their online businesses.

They make author website management easy

When you use a website builder, everything is done online. Instead of downloading website building software onto your computer and building a site, you go to the DIY builder’s site, log in, and run your author website while you’re there. These services will also take care of hosting and buying a domain name.

These DIY builders typically have several subscription levels ranging from free to premium. They come with a free email address. If you want to expand your offerings later on, you can add extras like e-commerce features, lead generation, and payment processors.

Advantages of using a DIY website builder:

  • You don’t need any technical knowledge.
  • Hosting and domain name purchases are included and done for you.
  • Templates make it easy to design a great-looking author website.
  • Most have affordable subscription levels.
  • As your success grows, you can add features that expand its capabilities.
  • They make it possible for anyone to have a website.
  • You get ongoing help and support.

Disadvantages of using a DIY website builder:

As helpful as these website builders are, they have a few disadvantages that you won’t find on a professionally built site.

They limit customization. Although these builders have templates you can customize, there is a cap on the number of changes you can make to your site. There are limits to the amount of flexibility you’ll have on a platform designed to be easy for everyone to use. If you want a highly functional, totally customizable site, you must have it professionally designed.

You share hosting. You may see that these website builders refer to themselves as “shared hosting” sites or platforms. That means you’re sharing the hosting spot with all the other websites that use the DIY builder. This limits how big your website’s traffic can get. If you’re a small website, this is unlikely to be a problem. It will only become a problem if millions of people suddenly visit one of the websites on the shared hosting platform.

Top DIY Website Builders

Here are some top website builders you can use to build your author website today.

  • Wix: With more than 800 templates, Wix uses an easy, drag-and-drop design to make customization easy. You get access to many free features at all subscription levels.
  • Weebly: Weebly is another affordable website builder with many features, including a built-in image editor and hundreds of professionally designed templates. It’s one of the easiest DIY sites to use.
  • WordPress: The most advanced website builder has a learning curve, but it also comes with advanced flexibility, total customization, and pricing that includes hosting, domain, and plug-ins.
  • HostGator: With three subscription levels, this website builder is part of a well-established hosting platform. It has three subscription levels and many well-designed templates.
  • Shopify: Designed for e-commerce sites, Shopify comes with many features that make it easy to sell online. It has free templates to make designing, selling, and paying easy.
  • SquareSpace: This site is favored by artists and creative professionals who like its elegant templates and built-in e-commerce features. It is slightly higher in price than the others, but many users say it’s worth it.
  • Zyro: This new, budget-friendly site features more than 100 free templates and 24-7 live support. It offers affordable subscriptions and is the only site that offers totally free hosting.

Add These Elements to Your Author Website

Certain elements are standard to every professional website. Make sure you include these.

  • Header: Your name, image, or logo at the top of the website. Use a simple design tool to create the header, or use the website builder’s design tool to do it.
  • Feature banner: The banner is the first thing you see when you visit a website. Use it to call attention to your book.
  • Email sign-up form: Put this in a prominent spot, and link to it from several locations on your author website. Building your email list is key to your marketing efforts.
  • Menu: Every website needs a menu directing people to the about page, blog, contacts page, and book list.
  • About: This page tells readers about you. It’s your place to post a short biography and perhaps a photo.
  • Reviews: Use this space for reviews of your books or other products.
  • Social media channels: Post links to your social media accounts here.

It’s Fun and Easy to Create an Author Website

If you’ve been hesitant about building an author website on your own, we hope you’ve learned that it can be a fast, easy project. Plan to spend a couple of days building and fine-tuning your website. It’s an investment that will pay off. If you need help with any aspect of printing your book, talk to Publishing Xpress.

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