All writers must have their own author website. Yes, that includes you, whether you have already published your first book or not.
It’s not that complicated to set up your author website. However, it does need a certain degree of comfort with technology. For someone who thinks Microsoft Word is complicated, making an author website from scratch is probably not a good idea. However, for those who are highly motivated to learn, it can be a lot of fun, and once it’s done, highly fulfilling too.
Step 1: Buy a domain name.
A domain name is a unique web address that will take people to your site. Most authors (especially the established ones) just use their own name, like www.SueGrafton.com
, for branding purposes.
If you don’t want to use your name, you can use a business name; just make sure it’s memorable, short (anything over two words is too long), and without hyphens, numbers, or special characters in them. Buy a .com, or failing that, a .net. The .com, however, is still highly recommended because it’s what most people remember.
Once you have decided on a domain name, sign up at domain registrars like Namecheap
and pay for your chosen domain there. Prices start at less than $10 for one year’s registration. Don’t forget to set it to auto-renew so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to renew it when it expires.
Step 2: Decide on whether to have your site hosted or not.
A web host is where you store your site’s pages and everything that you upload to it, including pictures and other media. You can forego paying for a host by signing up at Blogger
and just assigning your newly-purchased domain there.
However, if you are serious about getting your author website up and running, a free host is not recommended. There have been several instances in the past that Blogger had mistakenly deleted posts (or entire blogs!), and getting those missing posts back can be a nightmare.
Web hosting is paid annually; you can check out reputable hosts like BlueHost
for their rates and special packages.
Step 3: Connect your domain name to your host.
Once you have paid for hosting, explore your account’s cPanel (just follow all the information given to you once you register) and connect your domain name to your host. You want those two to point at the same place so that readers can read what you will write.
If you need assistance, you can always use your web host’s Live Chat feature to enlist the assistance of their customer service representative.
Step 4: Install Wordpress.
Once you have succeeded in connecting your domain to your web host, it’s time for you to install Wordpress. It’s one of the content managing systems (CMS) that’s the most helpful. Other examples include Joomla and Drupal which are way harder to learn on your own than Wordpress.
Again, if you’re not confident doing this, find the Live Chat option of your host and seek the assistance of their customer support. Your goal is to succeed in installing Wordpress as that’s what you will be using in making your site.
Step 5: You now have your own author website. Start writing!
You have a domain name, a host, and a Wordpress based author website. There’s only one thing left that you can do: write!
Once you’re familiar already working with Wordpress, you can change how your site looks, install plugins, and create pages. If you want your site to be uniquely designed, you can hire a freelance web designer from online job marketplaces like Elance.com and oDesk.com to do your site.
In the meantime, your site is up—make sure to create a plan on when to write new posts and stick to it!