Author websites are scary. This is a skill set you may not have. And even if you know how to build a website, what are you supposed to put on it? How do you create author website content?
Let’s start with the basics: You have to have a site before you can figure out what to put on it.
Step 1: Buying your domain
You need a domain. This is the address for your website that you will be able to give to people. You can use your name, your name + author, whatever you feel comfortable with. Mine is my name.
Buying domains should cost roughly $8-$12/year. You have to renew them annually or they will expire. I use Namecheap. You can also GoDaddy, WordPress, Squarespace, BlueHost, or any other site. There are a lot of domain providers.
Step 2: Building an author website
There are a lot of free/inexpensive options out there right now. Here are a few of them:
Wix: This is my least favorite, personally. It’s free and pretty easy to navigate, but there are a lot of limitations and the design can be clunky. However, a lot of people use it and do just fine, so it can definitely get the job done.
Squarespace: Similar to Wix, but easier to use and generally prettier. Easy templates, lot of site integration options (stores, etc). This is a great option for getting something up and running easily. You can build something totally serviceable with Squarespace.
WordPress.org hosted with Namecheap or other provider: This is the option I prefer. Admittedly, I have a bit of web experience, but if you’re at all tech-savvy you can figure it out. There are templates that you can install, plugins to increase site functionality, and robust options for email integration, analytics, social sharing, pretty much anything you could want. You have to pay for your own hosting, but it’s pretty inexpensive.
Step 3: Directing your domain to your website
Once you’ve got your site, you need to point your DNS to the site. It’s not scary, don’t worry. Here are some basic instructions.
Step 4: Creating author website content
This can be tricky! What do you put on your site before you have a book? Easy! Here are some suggestions:
Graphics you might need
- You will need a website header. Design one in Canva (or Photoshop if you have some design skills). Make sure the dimensions match the template you’ve chosen for your website.
- Some people like to have author logos. You can get these designed on Fiverr pretty inexpensively.
- Author photos! Not everyone wants their face on their website, especially if they’re using a pen name, but they’re nice to have. People like to know what you like look!
- Widget images. If you’re linking out to social media, Amazon, Goodreads, etc you’ll want to make sure those images are consistent. Sometimes your theme will provide them. On this website, we made the badges for the widgets in Canva so they matched our website font and color scheme.
An “About” page.
Yes, author bios are the worst. Nobody likes writing them. They’re important, though, and should be on your website.
Links to your social media
Make sure you tell people where to find you! Your website should serve as a hub. If you’re on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, or whatever platform, make sure you tell people!
This is optional, but it’s a good idea to have a place to provide updates, link any media you get (podcasts, blog reviews, etc), and other general updates.
If you’re feeling ambitious, updating a blog regularly can be a great outlet, and can help you drive SEO to your author site.
You should have a newsletter. Integrate it with your site and make sure you have a landing page for signups.
if you have a book out, HIGHLIGHT IT! In other words, embed your Amazon links, cover images, whatever you can. I created a whole category for my first book and grouped together all of the blog posts I wrote about the process, reviews I linked out, etc. It was a great way to keep all of that content together.
Make sure to link your site everywhere!
Once you’ve got your site and you’re comfortable with it, make sure you put it everywhere! Ultimately, you should link it in your social profiles, on your business cards, your email signatures, everywhere!
All of this to say, websites are important and attainable. Good luck! Share your website in the comments.
About the Writer: Allie Gravitt is a mom of 3 and lives in metro Atlanta with a house full of animals and plants. Her debut poetry collection, prisonbreaks, and second collection Killing Ghosts are available now on Amazon. Follow Allie’s writing journey on TikTok and Instagram.