Category Archives: Author Websites

Everything Writers Who Have Websites Need To Know About Cookies | Web Design Relief

We all have our favorite type of cookie: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, thin mint—just to name a few! But when it comes to computers, many of us have absolutely no idea what a “cookie” is or what it does. Just what are Internet cookies? Are they dangerous? Should I have cookies on my author website? Are they tracking my personal information? Do they come in tasty flavors? So many questions! Fortunately, Web Design Relief is here to explain everything you need to know about these digital cookies.

FAQs About Internet Cookies And Author Websites

What is the definition of an Internet cookie?

An Internet cookie—also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie—is a small packet of data that is transferred to and from computers. When you visit a website, a cookie is sent from the website to your computer via your web browser. The cookie consists of various information that helps the website keep track of your visits and activity. Each request you make via your browser is separate, so cookies help websites keep track. For the most part, this is harmless and even beneficial: Without cookies, retail websites could not keep track of the items you left in your shopping cart, and music-streaming sites would be unable to recommend songs or to play your favorite playlists.

What data is contained in a cookie?

Most cookies only contain data about your browser and the last time you visited a website. For websites that require you to log in, the cookie will contain that login information so the site can remember who you are and your preferences. This is how websites know who you are when you return to them. Without cookies, you would be met with a more generic welcome screen, instead of being greeted with your name, your personalized layout, your most recently viewed items, etc.

Are Internet cookies dangerous?

No. Cookies cannot transfer viruses or malware, because the data doesn’t change when it travels between computers. However, a virus can be disguised as a cookie! Fortunately, most browsers and anti-virus software will block these. This is why it is highly recommended that you keep your anti-virus software active and updated so it can protect you when you’re accessing the Internet!

Are cookies really spies?

Internet cookies only contain information that you’ve given the site already. This information is not shared between the websites you visit. And while cookies can track which ads you have viewed, they don’t directly create those ads.

Some people might want to get rid of cookies, but be forewarned: Cookies help some websites work properly.

Should I use cookies on my author website?

If you want your audience to have a personalized experience on your website, or if visitors make purchases on your website, then you should utilize cookies. When your website uses cookies, your visitors won’t have to repeatedly enter their user data when they visit your site, and their shopping carts won’t empty every time they browse to another item! If your site is purely informational and does not offer visitors any purchasing or personalization options, then you do not need to use cookies.

If you don’t have an author website but are thinking it’s time you got one, schedule a free consultation with Web Design Relief today!

In the meantime, don’t worry about Internet cookies. Sit back, grab a glass of milk, and enjoy a few cookies—the yummy kind!

 

Question: What are your experiences with Internet cookies?

Pen Names And The Internet: 5 Writer Problems—Solved!| Web Design Relief

Many prolific authors use pseudonyms (pen names) in order to write in multiple genres without muddying brands. And some writers with long or difficult-to-pronounce names may opt for shorter, easier-to-remember monikers. Pen names can also be used to build walls between day jobs and writing ventures, or to provide a fresh start if a writer’s previous efforts have failed in the marketplace. But, while there are many good reasons why a writer might use a pen name, Writer’s Relief has discovered that using a pseudonym can also introduce problems—especially when it comes to author websites and social media.

Problems—And Solutions—When Using A Pen Name On A Website Or Social Media

Problem #1: Someone Already Has The Same Name On Social Media.

With billions of people active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s no surprise that you may find a non-writer with the exact same name. So how are you going to distinguish your pen name profile from thirty other non-authors with the same name—without losing or confusing your readers?

  • Facebook requires you to set up a personal profile with your real name, but you can create an author page with whatever name you please. Consider calling your new page “Pen Name Author,” “Pen Name Writer,” “Pen Name Books,” or some other simple title. Focus all of your writing-related Facebook social media efforts there.
  • On Twitter and Instagram, you can set up (separate) accounts with “handles” that also incorporate “author,” “writer,” or “book.” Just make sure to note your writing career in your short bio so your readers can feel confident that they’ve found the real you.
  • To build authenticity, keep your social media name consistent across all platforms. Ideally, all of your pen name’s social media handles will be short, easy to spell, easy to remember, and contain your pen name, preferably first.

Problem #2: Which Name Should Appear In The Website Registry?

If you’re going to use a pseudonym online, you’ll need an appropriate domain name to set up a website. But who is going to buy that domain? If you buy it with your legal name, then your ownership of the pseudonym will become searchable in website registries—and thus available to the public.

  • If you’re not concerned about anonymity, then the simplest choice is to buy your domain under your legal name.
  • If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, but want to buy your pseudonym domain name under a legal name, consider purchasing privacy insurance for a monthly or yearly fee.
  • If you wish to ensure anonymity, consider adding a layer of privacy with several corporate or legal options. Some authors write under pseudonyms connected to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation. Others file DBA (“Doing Business As”) statements with their counties. If anonymity is the central reason why you’re using a pen name, you may want to seek legal help for your particular state, county, and situation.

Problem #3: Which Name Should The Website Copyright Notice Be Under?

U.S. copyright allows for the listing of both a legal and pen name. If you register your work under your legal name (whether you choose to include your pseudonym on the copyright materials or not), your book will remain under copyright protection for the author’s life plus seventy years. However, your legal name and your pen name will be linked and thus publicly searchable.

You do have the option of registering your book ONLY under your pen name, but if you leave off any record of your legal name in the copyright, you’ll run into two issues. First, you may have trouble proving the book is yours if you don’t take the necessary legal precautions. Second, the term of the work’s copyright will be changed. As opposed to the author’s life plus seventy years, the book registered under a pseudonym alone will be protected until 95 years from publication or 120 from the creation of the work.

An IP (intellectual property) lawyer can help you consider your options wisely.

Problem #4: What’s The Best URL?

If you’re writing under several pen names, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of how to design your website for multiple pseudonyms and determining what URL works best.

If the readership of your genres is quite different—you write both middle grade books and adult erotica—you may want to set up two separate websites so the two audiences never meet. In that case, your best URL for each website is the domain name of the associated pseudonym.

If you write in several subgenres under one strong brand, you may want to consider creating one branded website that has different tabs for each of your pen names. Each of the associated domain name URLs could be directed toward the one landing page.

A good website designer can help you choose the wisest course for managing pen names.

Problem #5: How Am I Going To Manage More Than One Writing Persona Online?

One of the biggest hurdles to using a pen name is the multiplication of social media accounts, and perhaps multiple websites. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when juggling more than one active pseudonym!

Fortunately, there are social media management software options like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that can make your life easier. And linking your pen name to social media profiles across platforms can amplify your efforts.

Writing under a pen name can sometimes be challenging, but with a little planning, smart website design, and clever social media time management, embracing a pseudonym can give you anonymity and the freedom to write what you want, and multiply your chances for breaking out in a new and exciting genre.

 

Question: In what situation would you choose to write under a pen name?

Free Author Website Worksheet: Every Question Writers Need To Ask | Web Design Relief

Creating an author website involves making a lot of important decisions. From choosing a web host, to selecting the home page design, to determining which font you want to use, there are a lot of questions writers need to ask! Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. The experts at Web Design Relief know exactly what you need to do to create the best author website possible, and have put together a worksheet of questions you can use as a handy guide.

Worksheet: Every Question Writers Should Ask When Building An Author Website

  1. What is your main goal for creating an author website?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. Which web host will you use?
  5. What domain name do you want?
  6. Which domain provider will you select?
  7. Do you want multiple domains all pointing to the same website?
  8. Have you picked a username and password?
  9. Is your password unique and secure?
  10. Do you want to design the website yourself or hire a professional?
  11. What is your genre’s style?
  12. Have you found other websites to use as design inspiration?
  13. What do you like most about other websites you visit?
  14. What specific features do you want your website to include?
  15. How many pages do you want on your author website?
  16. Do you prefer serif or sans serif fonts?
  17. Have you selected fixed-width or fluid-width design?
  18. Do you want a pop of color on your website, or are you keeping it grayscale?
  19. Do you want a textured background?
  20. Do you have a title for your website?
  21. Do you have a tagline?
  22. Will you have a search bar?
  23. What items will be in your menu bar?
  24. Do you want a sidebar or full-length menu?
  25. Will your website be author-focused or project-focused?
  26. Will the website be more fun or more professional?
  27. Is your author bio ready?
  28. What will you feature in your header?
  29. Are you going to include photos on the website?
  30. Do your photos have high resolution?
  31. Do you need a photo gallery or slideshow?
  32. Will you feature videos on the website?
  33. Will you feature animations?
  34. Do you want social media integration?
  35. Will there be live social media widgets on the website?
  36. Will you have social media buttons and if so, where?
  37. Are you planning to have a blog on your website?
  38. If you said “yes” to the above: Do you have your first blog post ready to go?
  39. Will you have an editorial calendar?
  40. Will you enable comments on your blog?
  41. Have you planned how to make your content SEO-friendly?
  42. Are you going to sell your writing on the website?
  43. Do you prefer shopping carts or Buy Now buttons?
  44. Are you going to feature a list of publications?
  45. Do you need an events calendar?
  46. Do you plan to utilize a mailing list?
  47. If you said “yes” to the above, have you selected a host for your mailing list?
  48. Will you offer an incentive to get visitors to sign up for your mailing list?
  49. Do you have outside websites you want to link to?
  50. How will you design your contact form?
  51. Do you have CAPTCHA protection for your contact form?
  52. How else will you keep your website secure?
  53. Will you proofread your website yourself or hire a professional?
  54. How will your website be optimized for mobile devices?
  55. Can you test your website on multiple browsers?
  56. Can you test your website on multiple devices?
  57. How often will you update the website?
  58. Will you update the website yourself or hire an administrator?
  59. Have you planned a website you can be proud of?

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider before your author website can go live: functionality, content, aesthetics, marketing capabilities, and so much more! If finding the right answers to all of the questions on our worksheet seems like an insurmountable task, Web Design Relief is here for you! We’ll help you choose the best answer for every question about building your author website.

5 Real-Life Elements That Will Make Your Author Website Appeal To Real-Life Readers | Web Design Relief

Rather than relying on overused marketing concepts, your author website should be designed with one goal in mind: to connect with the right audience for your work. At Web Design Relief, we know that once you’ve determined who your real-life readers are, you can then offer better, more targeted content. Don’t be afraid to share… Continue Reading

Your Author “About Me” Web Page: What To Include (And What Not To)! | Web Design Relief

Any savvy writer will tell you: An “About Me” page on your author website is an absolute necessity. The “About Me” page is usually one of the first pages new readers will visit, and the first stop for literary editors and agents who are interested in your work. But that doesn’t mean you should dump… Continue Reading

Is A “Free” Website REALLY Free? 10 Things Writers Need To Know | Web Design Relief

You know all the reasons you need an author website—to act as your online information source for readers, editors, and agents; to provide a hub for your author platform, etc. But like most folks, you don’t want to spend all of your hard-earned cash building a website. Budget-conscious writers might therefore jump at the chance… Continue Reading


Sign up to receive our FREE four-part series, The Writer’s Essential Guide To Reputation-Building In A Digital World—the ultimate resource for building your online author platform.
YES! Send Me My FREE Guide!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
close-link
Live Chat Software