How do you market yourself as an author?
Before you start worrying about building a readership or designing a killer book cover, there’s one thing that will make a HUGE impact on everything else you do, subsequently.
Of course, I’m talking about building your own professional author website design.
While it’s great to have a Facebook page and a LinkedIn account, having your own website conveys a far superior degree of professionalism. It’s a place where you can promote your work and share your writing. It’s your home base that connects all of your other online assets.
Unfortunately, creating your own personal author website design can be intimidating. This is especially true if your knowledge of coding and web design is somewhere around the zero mark.
This post is called “A Painless Guide to Professional Author Website Design” and not “A Painful Guide to Professional Author Website Design” for good reason.
In order to proceed, you won’t need any coding knowledge. That’s the beauty of building websites in this day and age. If anything here does get a little too technical though, please let me know by asking for clarification in the comments.
We’ll get into the “author website design” portion in a minute. First, let’s talk about the “why.”
Why a Website?
Having your own website as an author is the first sign that you are taking yourself seriously. Your website is a home base where you can direct anyone interested in connecting with you, or learning more about your books. It’s also where you can freely promote yourself and what you do, without worrying about infringing on a platform’s advertising policies.
A professional website is your virtual online portfolio and business card, all-in-one.
Even as a traditionally published author, a publisher will only go so far to help you with your marketing. As a self-published author, you’re 100% responsible for everything, unless, of course, you have the money to hire other people to help you.
Even if that’s the case, the costs of hiring a professional website designer can easily land in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
I’m going to tell you how you can do it for (almost) free. Let me lay out the costs:
- Website hosting and a domain name through Bluehost – $50.00 for one year.
- A professional WordPress theme called Avada – $59.00 one time (optional, but recommended).
You can skip the professional WordPress theme and use one of the countless free ones out there. However, I’m recommending Avada – it’s one of the most powerful and easiest to use themes you can find. It’s what I used to build this site.
Also, yes – I’m telling you to build a website with WordPress – not Blogger. I see countless Blogger author websites, and while they’re easy and free to build, they don’t scream “professional.” In fact, Blogger websites have tons of restrictions in terms of both efficiency and design.
But wait – its gets worse. Want to know what I mean?
Google has the rights and authority to shut down and your blogger website and delete all your content at any time with no warning. Think I’m making this up? I’m not. This is exactly what happened to author, Dennis Cooper, as Google deleted his 14 year old blog, even erasing his unfinished book in the process.
With your own WordPress hosted website you will own everything. No one can delete your content but you.
How to Build Your Author Website
The first step in building your author website design is to pay for web hosting. There are many web hosting companies out there but the one I am recommending is Bluehost. They have fantastic customer service, great website speeds and honestly do care about their customers. Writing a Book Café is hosted through them and I have had an excellent experience.
To make your life easier, here’s a video I made of exactly how you can register your Bluehost WordPress website, purchase your professional Avada theme, and install both of them. I recorded the process I went through when I created this website so you can see exactly how it’s done.
By the way, just in case you thought you need a lot of coding knowledge to design a website like this – you don’t. My knowledge of coding is pretty much restricted to what I learned in grade 10 grade Java class.
Err, actually, I think I forgot everything.
But seriously, you really don’t need to know how to code for the purposes of author website design. Knowing a little bit of HTML will help if you want to use slightly more advanced techniques like page jumps, but you can get away with most web design these days by dropping and dragging. In fact – that’s what Avada is built around – dropping and dragging.
If my instructional video has left you with any questions whatsoever on getting started with Bluehost and Avada, please leave a comment down below and I will do my best to help you out.
Setting Up Your Website
After you’ve purchased your domain hosting and set everything up, this next video will guide you through the process of navigating WordPress.