Building An Effective Author Website by Carrie Butler

Hey gang! Very excited to share the expertise of our fellow author-at-arms, Carrie Butler, with you today. Carrie isn't only a scribbler and marketing goddess, she's a rocking graphic designer and dark practitioner of HTML-omancy, too. (Okay, it isn't REALLY dark... more grayish. :)

Anyway, Carrie is going to give us some tips for not mucking up our websites. Take it away, CB!

10 Things to Consider When Making an Author Website

Thank you for having me over, EJ! I'm so excited to talk about author websites.

I decided to make mine right before I started querying, because I wanted a centralized, easy to find web prescience. If you're thinking about making a website, here are ten things to consider:

1. Which category do you write in? (Adult, NA, YA, MG, etc.)
Why I ask: If you write adult, you probably shouldn't make a website in bold, primary colors.

2. Which genre do you write in? (Romance, thriller, science fiction, etc.)
Why I ask: Someone who writes romance would probably opt for "softer" graphics than someone who writes science fiction.

3. Do you write in multiple categories/genres?
Why I ask: If they can't be thematically blended, you might decide to take a more neutral approach.

4. Who is your audience?
Why I ask: Like writing, you should try to appeal to your target market. Think demographics here.

5. When you go to other author sites, what are the things you want to find as a reader?
Why I ask: Those are the things you should implement, i.e. bio, books, press pack, contact, etc.

6. How can you convey your personality, while still keeping things professional?
Why I ask: You're building a brand. You'll want to keep common colors and themes across all of your sites, i.e. blog, Facebook cover photo, Twitter background, etc.

7. Where will you get your domain?
Why I ask: This one requires a little research.

I obtained my domain (www.carrieabutler.com) through GoDaddy.com and sprung for the privacy service. (Read up on ICANN and WHOIS.) It amounts to less than twenty bucks a year, and I consider it a career investment.

Side note: This was the only money I spent on my website.

8. Which host will you use?
Why I ask: Again, you'll need to do a little research.

I use Weebly, and I love it. Not only do they have a free option, but it's highly customizable. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, you can create something truly original. 




9. What will you put on your website?
Why I ask: It's best to plan this out ahead of time, especially if you're trying to save money.

The images you see on my website are Creative Commons, public domain, or of my own creation. The content is mostly what I had strewn across the Internet prior to this, i.e. social media links, my biography, information about my book, etc.

10. How often will you update your website?
Why I ask: It's something to think about, especially if you include time-sensitive material.

I update my website at least once a week, but I'm very hands-on. You may choose to only update yours once a month or whenever something needs to changed. The key here is consistency.

And there you have it! If you have any questions, I'll be in and out today. Thank you for stopping by. :)



About Carrie:



Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.


Links

WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  PUBLISHER  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS  |  GOOGLE+  |  LINKEDIN


Thanks a heap, CB! By the way, Carrie has an awesome new book out. It's called Strength, and there's a highly shirtless man on the cover. I blogged about it not long ago. Feel free to ogle the cover before clicking the link below for more details. :)





34 comments:

  1. I love, love, love your website. I think it's so eye catching, but also professional. I can't believe you did it all for free, either. Great stuff! :D

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    1. Thank you, Clare! I really appreciate that. :D

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  2. You did a good job with your website.

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  3. I needed this post so very much. I have a domain but no idea what to do with it. Thanks for this!

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    1. Carrie is a boss, M.J.! Definitely knows her stuff... I need the help as well, so figured others might find her wisdom useful. :)

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    2. I'm glad to hear that, M.J.! You should definitely play around with Weebly. It's pretty painless. :)

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  4. You never cease to amaze me, Carrie. Great advice. :)
    Hi, EJ. *waves*

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  5. Excellent. I need to print and study. You rock!

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  6. Thanks for the advice on websites, Carrie! And for hosting E.J.! :)

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  7. Thanks E.J. I wish I had a better grasp of the computer speak but this is a nice option and it sounds fairly simple. Thank you Carrie I hope to do this some day soon.

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    1. It is pretty simple! :) Thanks, Desert!

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  8. My site focuses on me as a speaker first, so it's very blue and professional.

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    1. Professional is good! :) Thanks for stopping by, L. Diane Wolfe!

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  9. Thank you so much for having me over, EJ! :)

    P.S. Did you notice I gave a shout-out to #NALitChat in my acknowledgements? ;)

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  10. Great advice. I may someday get an author website and abandon the ye olde blogsite that I use. But I think I'd have to justify it with a lot more success than I've enjoyed up to now.

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    1. Thanks, Michael! :) I think "ye olde blogsite" can work very similarly to a website. You already have the content and navigation down!

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  11. I am so website illiterate. I hardly ever stop by. I spend all my time on my blog. In fact, I'm wondering why I have a website at all. Duh. I'd rather eat cookies then think about all it takes to make a go of it as an author. You're so terrific, Carrie, and smart. Mark thinks we should adopt each other. Since you're smarter, you can be the mum.

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    1. Aww, but I like your website! I've visited it a number of times before this. It gives us a real sense of your personality. :)

      And Mark is all kinds of brilliant! I love this Butler adoption idea. Although, I'm not sure I would say I'm the smarter one. :P Maybe we can be long lost cousins!

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  12. Wow, fabulous tips. Definitely gonna take these into account.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

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  13. Great information. And I love the website. Nicely done :) Thanks for sharing this with us EJ and Carrie! best :)

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca! I appreciate that. :D

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  14. Hi Carrie,
    You are so right about all your tips. Although I use Dreamweaver for my work website, I use Weebly for my author one. I've presented one-hour sessions with teachers on how to build a website from Weebly. It's very user-friendly. Congrats on your success as an NA author!

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    1. Hi Brinda,

      Thank you! I'm glad someone else can testify to Weebly's awesomeness. :) Best of luck with your sessions!

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  15. Great tips Carrie. You do have a rocking website and it seems GoDaddy is a popular hosting site. If I ever get my book published, I'll look into creating a stand-alone site that links back to my blog.

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    1. Thank you, Elise! I appreciate that. :) And that sounds like a great idea!

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  16. Carrie, I want you to do my website. My current one totally sucks, lol. :)

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  17. Excellent advice, Carrie. Thank you for sharing.

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“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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