I have been blogging for a while now, both here on the Diamond State Romance Authors blog and my own. But I had yet to build a website. Why did I wait so long? Well, until now I was in the beginning stages of becoming a novel writer. I didn’t yet have a manuscript in hand. Now I do. Now I want to publish my work, and having an author website is an necessary and natural next step.
I’ve learned some things along the way:
1. Weebly. Not WordPress or Wix, or even GoDaddy’s site creater, but Weebly. I tried the others I really was under the impression that WordPress was the way to go. Wrong. Two seperate people recommended Weebly in a matter of days, and I now know why. It’s user interface is simple and sensible. There are drag and drop text, image and store features, a variety of lovely *free* themes, (pre-set configurations to which you simply input your information) and the overall process was darn-near painless. Oh, and it’s cheap. I think I paid $33 for web hosting for the year. Weebly can even help you purchase your domain name, bypassing GoDaddy or sites like it.
2. Photo editors like Pixlr and Pic Monkey have free basic versions, wich are perfectly suitable to help you build a simple logo or web banner. A little trial and error, a little help from experienced friends and voila! You, too, can have a great banner.
3. Web banners for FaceBook, Twitter, a website or blog all have different size requirements. Most photo editors have a way to implement these requirements. You can google the various size requirements, or this listing by Jeff Bulla is helpful.
4. Keep it simple. I don’t have to go over the whole K.I.S.S. anagram, do I? Ok, good. Simple is better. Narrow it to a few navigational options on your menu. Home, About, Books, Blog, Contact. Done. I’ve seen other links, and I”m sure they’re valuable, but I’ve read that as long as you keep it around five you’re good.
5. When creating the site, think ‘accessible.’ This will eventually be not just your marketing or blogging platform, but your home base for communicating with your audience…and selling books. Implement several ways to find you on social media, by email, a link to your blog.
6. And speaking of access, widgets are ways to quickly add recognizable social media logos to your site. Site builders have these standard, and you simply input your direct links to your social media. One click and visitors are taken to your Twitter or FaceBook pages. Or Pinterest or Instagram or goodreads or Google +….
So there are a few simple tips. As I become a more experienced and published author, I am sure my needs will evolve, but for now these basics will get me by.