If you’re an author who wants to actually sell books, a solid author platform is just as important as your ability to write. There’s nothing more important to your author platform than your website.
The fact is that you are a brand, and every successful brand these days has a website that reflects its values and operates as a means of engaging, retaining and exciting “customers,” which, in your case are your readers.
Whether you’re just getting started building your author platform, or you’re looking for ways to improve your ability to retain and grow your reader base, the following tips will help you get on the right track as you begin building (or rebuilding) your website:
#1 – Take Care of Your Domain Name
If you are the brand, the URL for your website should make that fact clear. That’s why we recommend using your actual name (or pen name if you write under a pseudonym).
You can search domain names to see what’s available by using sites like domize.com. Once you’ve settled on your domain, you can purchase the name — probably for just a few dollars a year — from sites like GoDaddy, iwantmyname or hover.
Now, you may be tempted to choose a domain suffix such as “.biz,” “.info” or “.me,” but we recommend choosing the “.com” option, if it’s available. Otherwise, you might lose some valuable traffic!
#2 – The Host with The Most
Once you’ve wrapped up your domain name, it’s time to find hosting so your site has a place to operate on the web. If this is confusing, think of it this way: your domain name is the website’s address; the host provides the actual home.
There are lots of ways to avoid paying money when it comes to hosting. For example, you could set up a free site on Tumblr, redirecting it to your own URL, but the goal here is to build a great-looking, professional website, not to pinch pennies.
We recommend using paid hosting services, such as those offered by BlueHost — a company that lots of authors have used to host top-quality sites without breaking the bank.
#3 – What Powers Your Website?
There are numerous options available, but it’s hard to ignore the power, flexibility and ease of use provided by WordPress. It’s the platform that thousands of authors around the world have used successfully to build pro-quality websites that keep readers coming back. If you’ve been wondering how you can build a site that looks and functions great without having much (if any) coding experience, WordPress will give you the ability to build a gorgeous site in just minutes.