Category Archives: Author Websites

5 Biographical Elements NOT To Include On Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re a New York Times Best Seller or a new writer ready to self-publish your first book, the moment your author website goes live—you’re a public figure. Your readers will want to get to know you better, and you’ll be eager to tell them your life story. But along with true fans and interested literary editors and agents, Web Design Relief knows you’ll also get visits to your author website from scammers. So how do you share your personal journey while maintaining your privacy and not putting yourself at risk?

Five Biographical Elements NOT To Include On Your Author Website

Legal Name

Between social media and online databases, you’ve already shared a huge amount of personal information with the world. An online search of your name will quickly bring up social media pics, information about the trips you’ve taken, the houses you’ve bought, the cross-country moves you’ve made, and maybe even the funerals you’ve attended. So you might want to consider using a pen name to protect your privacy and identity.

But if your legal name is already established as your author name, you can still protect yourself and your identity from those who want to do you harm.

One way is to obtain domain privacy protection for your website. When you registered for your URL, you were required to input your real name, address, and phone number. That information is publicly available in a database run by WHOIS, the overarching organization that manages domain registration. Domain privacy protection allows you to mask your personal information from the public, adding an additional level of privacy.

Home Address

If Google Analytics states you have only a dozen visitors a day, you might think that it’s okay to include your hometown or your home address in your biography. But if your next book takes off like a rocket, the number of visitors to your website will also increase—and most will be strangers.

If you feel you must include an address on your website, don’t use your home address. Instead, get a locked post office box in another municipality. Better to make a few quick trips a week than risk finding a stalker at your door.

Email Info

It would seem to be a no-brainer to include an email on your website so fans, editors, or agents can contact you, but scammers troll websites in order to deluge them with spam. Some of those spam emails may be infected with viruses and other malware that can steal your personal info and do real damage to your computer.

Instead of offering up your email address, use a contact form page on your author website which masks your email. Then, to ensure you’re dealing with humans, use CAPTCHA codes to ward off dangerous bots.

Identifying Information

While you’re telling stories about your wild and colorful family in your author bio, make sure you’re not spilling more information than you should. These days, many banks and credit cards require that you answer personal questions if you forget your log-in information. If you’re giving away some of that information publicly, you’re setting yourself up as an easy target.

Common identifying information can include:

  • birthplace
  • birth date
  • mother’s maiden name
  • high school where you graduated
  • name of your first pet
  • name of your first car
  • name of the street you grew up on
  • place where you met your spouse

Combined with your legal name, this information can be used to steal your money and your identity.

Personal Social Media Pages

For safety and privacy purposes, it’s always smarter to keep your personal social media accounts separate from your writer social media accounts. Setting up a Facebook author page and a separate author Twitter handle allows you to continue posting personal communications on your personal profiles while you cultivate a following on your author platform. Make sure to link only to your author profiles on your website.

Be mindful of what you share on all your social media pages. Scrub them so that your high school, birth date, current address, etc., aren’t available publicly. And watch what you post: Don’t use geolocation services for pics taken in and around your hometown. Periodically check your privacy settings to make sure you know with whom you’re sharing your personal data.

 

Question: If you have a pen name, why did you decide to use one, and how did you choose it?

Author Website Tips For Writers Who Don’t Want To Deal With Having An Author Website | Web Design Relief

Sure, having a well-maintained, active author website is a vital element in your author platform and social media support—but who has the time to deal with that? You have your day job, appointments to keep, groceries to buy, children to drop off and pick up, and your writing time to squeeze in. You may wonder why you should worry about building an author website if you haven’t even written a book yet!

Fortunately, the experts at Web Design Relief have a trick or two up their sleeves for hassle-free author website prep.

Tips For Planning An Author Website With A Minimum Of Cost And Fuss

Claim your domain name for your author website. Author websites aren’t created in a day. There are multiple steps before you actually build the site itself. And the most important step is to claim your domain name, i.e., your “URL.”

If you have a relatively common name (like John Doe), you may find that a simple domain URL using your name, such as www.JohnDoe.com, or even a more elaborate one like www.JohnDoeBooks.com or www.AuthorJohnDoe.com, may already be taken. That means you’ll have to think up some creative domain names so your future fans can find you—a job best done when you’re not under pressure.

Decide on your web hosting company. After you’ve registered your domain name, you need to decide which company will “host” your website. Web hosting companies allow your site to be stored on their servers as they provide the technology that allows it to be viewed on the Internet. Check prices and fees carefully to make sure you find the best hosting company for your website. Remember, a bargain isn’t always a bargain: Make sure the hosting company offers the best security and regularly scheduled backups. For the most hassle-free, dependable hosting, talk to Web Design Relief!

Prepare your content. Sooner or later, you’ll have to write an author bio. You may also have to write a back-of-the-book blurb about your story or nonfiction project. You certainly will need an author-dedicated email address. An author photo wouldn’t hurt, either. When it comes to these marketing and promotion basics, you might as well start now.

Build an author website, or have one built for you. Even if you don’t have plans for a book, or it won’t be released for over a year, people interested in you and your writing will be searching for you on the Internet. What will they find?

A single page with info about your project, yourself, and your contact information is all you need to make yourself “searchable” on Google and other search engines. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities!

Some authors build their own websites using drag-and-drop builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Jimdo. Tech-savvy authors may use WordPress. But if you want to avoid handling all the technical complexities yourself, consider hiring someone to build your author website for you. You may be surprised at how stress-free and inexpensive it can be to have Web Design Relief do all the work for you.

While your author website is the hub of all marketing and promotion efforts and the best first step to creating a platform, you should also act now to claim your social media profiles as well. By having all your foundation elements in place, you’ll be ready to market and promote your writing when the moment arrives.

 

Question: When you go to an author website, what’s the first thing you look for? A bio? Book list? Contact information? Upcoming events? Breaking news?

How To Monetize Your Author Website (Without Annoying People) | Web Design Relief

By the time you factor in expenses like Web hosting, site design, updates, headshots, registration fees, etc.—maintaining an author website can take a big bite out of your budget. But with a little creative thinking, you might be able to get some of that money back by turning your author website into a source of income with smart website monetization. The trick is to not turn your website into an advertising three-ring circus in the process!

Web Design Relief Explains How To Appropriately Monetize Your Author Website

Build a book-selling website. If your books are selling well, capitalize on that by creating an author website that has been designed from the cyber ground up to generate book sales. With emphasis on your books and a simple/easy buying experience, your author website can help put extra money in your pocket. But there are right ways and not-so-right ways to make the most of your online retail space: Be sure you’re working with a website designer that has experience in the publishing business. (Wherever will you find one? Um…see our banner above.)

Blog to a big audience. Bloggers can make money by offering vital information to voracious audiences. Consider starting a book fan blog and promoting it with lots of giveaways for avid bookworms. Once your audience has grown, you can charge for advertising and guest blogging. Or try blogging about your hobbies with posts that are jam-packed with clever, useful tips. If your blog gains popularity, you may be able to muster the power of your fan base to create affiliate link relationships, accept sponsorships, or even parlay your blogging into a book deal.

Create and sell an eBook. Offer your readers how-to information in an eBook format, and make it available through your website. A successful indie author can write an eBook on self-publishing. A writer who pens short stories could write an eBook about how to get short stories published. Short books and novellas might not make you rich, but every little bit helps!

Sell ad space. Partner with a third-party company like Google AdSense that will place pay-per-click targeted ads on your author website. But you may not have control over the content being shown to your visitors.

Accept sponsored blog posts. Some bloggers have such a great audience that other bloggers/writers will pay for the privilege of publishing a guest post. If your readership is already vibrant, you could make this opportunity available to other writers who want to guest blog on your site.

Take donations. Seriously. You don’t have to be pushy about asking for donations on your author website—but a respectful “donate” button on your site will probably not hurt anyone’s feelings. And you may be surprised by reader support!

Add a “hire me” page. Are you willing to consult with other writers on their projects? Or do you have other skills to offer? Visitors who want to work with you will be glad to know that the opportunity is there. They might not ask otherwise!

Remember To Keep Your Priorities In Sight

You don’t want to send out conflicting messages to your audience about your author brand. Some visitors might not take too kindly to “hard sell” tactics if what they’re looking for is more information about your creative writing. Also, if you spread your moneymaking efforts too thin, you run the risk of not succeeding at any of them. Monetizing your website can work; you just may need to experiment to find your visitors’ comfort zone.

 

Question: Would you consider monetizing your author website?

What Is Your Author Website’s Primary Mission? | Web Design Relief

Let’s talk about a new way to think about your author website in order to reach your goals. The experts at Web Design Relief know that successful author websites have one clear, primary mission—whether it’s to sell books, develop a fan base, connect more personally with readers, or build a brand. So…what is your author… Continue Reading

6 New Ways To Get People To Visit Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Ideally, you’ve designed your author website to project your unique author brand. You’ve maximized your bio, included a list of books with blurbs and reviews, started a blog or newsletter, and provided the necessary contact information. Since your author website was launched, you’ve been driving as much Web traffic as possible to this hub of… Continue Reading

Strategies To Keep Your Author Website Safe (For Yourself And Your Visitors) | Web Design Relief

When building your author website, you’ll carefully select your theme, typeface, and color scheme. As a writer, you’ll agonize over every sentence. But, while the creative elements of a website may be well in hand, many writers are not as savvy about the technical security aspects of smart web design. If your author website isn’t… Continue Reading


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