The old saying is “writers write.” But when it comes to being a successful author these days, creating a great author website should almost be added on as an addendum to that saying.
The good news is that this tutorial will walk you through an easy step-by-step process for creating an author website that will help you grow your readership and ultimately sell more books.
If you are simply looking for a place to share your writing online without creating your own author website, then check out our article on the best sites for writers to share their work online.
This guide will show you how to plan your author website, how to create it, and simple ways it can help you market and sell your books. Here is a list of the main topics we will cover in this author website tutorial.
How to Create an Author Website on WordPress? Here are the steps to creating a new Author Website on WordPress:
- Intro: Understanding an Author Website & Why it’s Important
- Step 1: How to Map Your Goals to Your Website Design
- Step 2: Picking the Right Platform for Your Author Website
- Step 3: Select a Domain and Hosting
- Step 4: Installing WordPress on Your Website
- Step 5: Choosing and Installing a Premium Theme on Your Website
- Step 6: Choosing Settings & Installing the Best Plugins for Author Sites
- Step 7: Creating Crucial Legal Pages
- Step 8: Creating Content For Your Author Blog
- Step 9: Get Inspiration From Other Author Website Examples
Don’t be overwhelmed, I’ve created this tutorial for beginners. Even if you have any idea what some of these concepts are if you follow along step by step through the end of this how to create an author website guide, you will be amazed at what your new author platform looks like! I promise!
Intro: Why is Your Author Website Important?
Before we get into the mechanics of making your website I think it’s important to take some time and explain why it’s so important to the overall success of your author career. I could just take this point for granted and move on, but I know some of you reading this might still be conflicted when it comes to building an author site.
10 Reasons You Need A Dedicated Author Site.
- 1. The Core of Your Author Platform: What is an author platform? An author platform is essentially a writer’s ability to reach and market their works to their potential audience driving sales of their books. You probably already know how important creating an author platform is for the long-term success of a writer. I know some of you might be thinking that’s what Amazon is for. But think about it for a second, Amazon is a huge platform where you can publish your books, but you have absolutely no control over how often they show your books to potential readers or even any insight into who your readers are. This is no way to build a long-term career as a writer unless you already have some much name recognition that readers are searching for you by name.
- 2. Establish a Brand: As writers, our words are our art. But sometimes it’s great to supplement those words with images or content that isn’t in our book to help build our brand. A website will help you do exactly that. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, developing a brand will only help readers remember you better and get them coming back for more of your books in the future.
- 3. Connect More With Your Readers: Your website will allow you to connect with your readers. You can turn communication that is traditionally limited to a series of one-way volleys, into a more fluid and dialogue. Normally, you write a book, the reader reads it. (Volley 1) Then, maybe the reader decides to write a review of your book, and you read it. (Volley 2) If you have an author website, readers can engage with you in real time, making the exchange more meaningful for everyone involved.
- 4. Build a Community of Fans: Thanks to technology you can now make a living from your writing like never before. Your website will allow you to cultivate your 1000 True Fans, a concept famously created by Kevin Kelly. It basically discusses how you don’t need the millions of fans that you once needed to be successful when there were far more layers between the artist and their fans. Now you can build a community of fans with your website that can become the core to supporting your writing career. Here is a good quick read on Amazon. Take a look at this interview to learn more about the concept if you are interested.
- 5. Cross Promote Your Book Catalog: Whether you already have a large back catalog of books or are launching your first book soon. Eventually having multiple books is the key for all authors. With your own website, you will be able to take more control of your readers to experience with your writing. Meaning you will be able to set up cross-promotional opportunities to introduce other books to readers that may not otherwise be aware of your other books. It’s much easier to get someone to buy again then it is to get someone new to buy for the first time. So make sure you are taking advantage of your full book catalog to drive your sales.
- 6. Better Book Launches: Successful book launches are so important. They allow your new book to move up the charts on platforms like Amazon, by signaling that there is a demand for your book. Amazon is in the business of selling things, and they will increasingly show items the more they sell. Taking ownership of your readership with a personal website will allow you to plan and execute book launches more efficiently.
- 7. Build an Email List: Internet marketers will tell you that the money is in the list. The same goes for authors. Email is still a great way to communicate with potential buyers. It’s a great way to stay connected with them between books, build anticipation for a new release. Offer pre-order discounts, and get a big push on launch day. Your website is the hub for building your email list. Once you own a thriving list, you can almost dictate the success of your books.
- 8. Decrease Dependence on Platforms You Don’t Own: The more you can drive sales to your books, the better off you will be. You will diversify your risk. If Amazon or another platform has an algorithm update and you lose half the traffic that they were sending to your books, you can recover if you have your own author platform and website. It might still take some time and effort, but at least you have a chance.
- 9. Get The Gift of Feedback: The more you engage with your audience, the more insight you will get into what they love and hate about your stories. This will make you better by sheer osmosis. You can build a team of beta readers to keep you from publishing a book with glaring errors. You can get ideas for your next book in the series. Your readers are a blessing that keeps on giving if you give them a voice and a way to use it.
- 10. SELL MORE BOOKS: Ultimately there are a lot of ways that having an author website will help your writing career. But the reason I capitalized SELL MORE BOOKS is that everything we do as authors should ultimately be based on selling more copies. A website is something that will help you drive more book sales in the many ways we have discussed above, and so many more. We write for the love of the game, but having people buy and read your writing sure does make the game a lot more fun.
Hopefully, by now you are sold as to why you need to create a winning author site, so let’s get into the tutorial. Follow the steps and you will create a website that represents your writing in a way you will be proud of.Step 1: Map Website Goals to Design