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Building an Author Website

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Ghost, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Inkling

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    I wasn't sure what forum to put this under. How do you go about making a professional website as an author? I know you buy a domain name, but I'm clueless about the rest.

    I certainly can't afford anything fancy right now. Even if I could, I want something basic until I get my sea legs in the writing world. For now, I can get the domain name so no one scoops it out from under me. I don't have the patience and dedication to do a blog on a regular basis, so that's out.

    For those of you who have websites or web development backgrounds: what do you recommend? What's your favorite domain registrar? Web host? Did you pay for your website design and, if so, how much? Did you do it yourself or use a website builder? What's the most economical and professional way to go about this? Any tips or insights?

    I've been obsessing about this the last couple of days, and I find all this internet stuff overwhelming. I half expect someone to bust into my house and slap the me to bring me back to my senses.
     
  2. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I have a pretty cheap website from GoDaddy. I built my own website with their Website Tonight. That being said, it's certainly not fancy, but then I didn't need anything really fancy. I needed something I could do myself, because I'm not as cool as some people who have mad skills. This is the link to my website in case you want a look at what I have done with very minimal skills.

    Home Page

    It was inexpensive, and you probably don't need as many pages as I have, so the cost will be even less.
     
  3. Cinder

    Cinder Scribe

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    I've used Webs in the past. There's quite a lot of customisable options available. It takes a little time to fully understand the set up, but once you get used to it, it's all good.

    And you can buy a domain name, or fill in hundreds of surveys and other dodgy tidbits to earn enough credits.

    I don't have my site anymore, otherwise I'd show you. But I did manage to get it looking pretty solid.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I don't have anything for the exact question you're asking. I'm not sure which webhosting services you should look at.

    But I've a few tips, if you don't mind hearing them. I think the thing to remember with a website is that the purpose is sales, not necessarily to build a readership for the website itself. Most people who visit your site will visit once and only once. That's all you need them to visit. Honestly, that's all you should want them to visit - you want them to then proceed to your Amazon page. Promoting a blog or a steadily-updated website can actually ending up dragging down your writing time and isn't likely to get you very far.

    If it's a readership you want, there's better avenues to go about your work than to promote a website.

    All the same, I've a mock-up of what I would want my own website to look like, if I could ever pull it off. There is a blog, but it wouldn't serve the same role. The idea is to have a Home Base to present my work, not to build a regular viewership. I could send it to you, if you'd like.
     
  5. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    Check out Wix. Its all flash based which is a nightmare for SEO and simply isn't supported by some platforms, but its free ( for a basic package) and with little to no experience you can make something flashy ( pun intended). I wouldn't consider this a long term solution though, for numerous reasons, the main ones stated above.
    Most hosting companies, like godaddy or host gator offer their brand of instant website templates. Keep in mind thats what it is a template, having knowledge of HTML, XHTML, Java, PHP, etc can really push the limits of these templates, but if you know all those languages you wouldn't need a template to begin with lol.

    Best advice I can give you is research other websites that correspond to whatever field you are intending on entering, in this case authors. Look up big name people, little name people, and mid range people. See what they are offering and what they are not.

    I'd agree with this if it was 1996 and 2 out of every 10 households had internet. Nowadays websites are not just one page wonders. Blogs, forums, RSS, 3rd part social networks, are all integrated via your website. I personally wouldn't waste a penny on a website that I think people would only visit once, but its your money.
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Yeah, but we're not talking about any website. We're talking about an author's website. Presumably to promote a book.

    Of the books you've read, how many have websites that you regularly visit?

    The point of an author's website is to usher people towards buying the book. That may mean some interaction with the author, but it doesn't mean you need people to be regular readers of your blog.
     
  7. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    Regularly? very few honestly. But mainly because they are garbage and never updated.

    Absolutely, but keep in mind Amazon doesn't sell your book, it merely is a place for your book to be sold. A website ( or other marketing venues) is really at the forefront of this internet/e-commerce driven world.

    I agree 100%, so it should be clean, sharp, user friendly, and a place that people would like to go for updates and whatnot.
    Look at Brandon Sanderson's website for example. He uses RSS feeds and he has his own forums. Which means people go to his site more than likely on a daily basis, much like many do here.

    For whatever reason author websites seem to be lacking a great deal, many of the high dollar authors have absolute crap websites, but then again at this point in their career it probably doesn't matter. George RR Martin's website is one of the worst websites I have ever seen ( or it was last time I went there). I just personally think an aspiring author would benefit from a well done website that sucks people into the world they created, and not just be a jump page onto amazon. I think the goal SHOULD be to have people come back, the often the better.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    You can make a nice site with Wix, but I've found their sites load slowly many times, and from experience I know a lot of people can't view them (I had one, and got a number of emails about this due to the Flash nature). Also, with Flash seemingly destined for the dust bin I don't know that I'd start there. There are tons of places you can make nice-looking free sites off templates without making a flash-based site.
     
  9. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    yeah, thats always going to be an issue with flash, or rather the overuse of it. But, Wix is free and easy to use.
    Flash isn't going anywhere, how its used and packaged will change, it has too. But flash when used as it was intended is a great application, but HTML5-Jquery-CSS3 are making great strides in offering experiences that made flash so popular.

    Ouroboros- Figure out what you want from the site first, and what you want others to take from it. It would be a lot easier to point you in the right direction or help you out. Look at other author websites, see what you like and don't like. Build a model in your mind and even on paper. The last thing you want to do is give a web developer free reign on your website creation.
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    OK. I thought Adobe had kind of sounded the death knell for it, but I could be wrong. I don't know why I got complaints from people that they couldn't view my Wix site. I never had a problem actually viewing it, except on one Linux machine when I was in Opera, because for some reason the flash plugin just refused to work properly.
     
  11. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    It actually could have been for a good many reasons. They haven't updated there browser, they were on an mobile device that doesn't support flash etc etc. Believe I'm not saying flash is going strong and is a staple in the web community, it is falling on hard times. And at some point It may not be called flash, but Adobe cannot let years of AS3 and SWV coding go to waste, hence them working on Adobe Air and abandoning Flash Mobile projects. Any browser can view HTML, its native language. Flash is a plug-in. I would be very choice in using it, if at all. I only recommended Wix because of the cost and ease of getting set up.
     
  12. Ghost

    Ghost Inkling

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    I can't use Wix. I registered my domain name at namecheap.com, and you have to pay to use your own domain name on Wix. When browsing Wix templates, you can limit the selections to HTML 5 instead of Flash. I don't know if that's the same as regular HTML, but it's good to know. At this point, I don't need anything fancy and I want the website to be easily accessible. I don't think I'd use Flash.

    I couldn't figure out how to change the background color on Weebly :redface:, so I'm trying Moonfruit for now. It seems easy and intuitive, but I haven't tried connecting it to my domain yet.

    If anyone's got general suggestions, chime in. Other people may be interested in setting up their own sites.
     
  13. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I have used free sites for my pages, but they aren't for business use. Not sure if the free sites allow for professional use.

    I have one for my family webpage, and one for my SCA persona, neither of which I have updated lately.
    My family website:
    Home Page
    The kids in the pictures are now 14 and 16, so its been a while.

    Looking over the ad, I don't see anything about professional versus non-professional on Freeservers. The starter website without banners is about $60 a year. With banners its free.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  14. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I like the website. One problem, I liked the bracer with the dagger, but you can't see it enlarged. Just a thought for improvement. Not buying garb currently, at least until I get back into SCA.
     
  15. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Why not start simple. Use one of the free blogging sites. You can reserve you domain name and have the name direct to the blog. With the blog you can make announcements, have links to your books, etc. A lot of author sites, to me, look like fancied up blogs and tend to be used like blogs. I look at Dan Wells and Brandon Sanderson's sites and that's what they look like to me.

    My two cents.
     
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