Lots of Indie authors find they get to the point in their marketing where a website or solid internet presence could really help them. A website is the ultimate location to direct potential readers to, it contains all the pertinent information, links and added extras that can make an author stand out.
Where to start?
First, choose between a website proper and a blog with information statically displayed.
Blogs work well on Blogger, or WordPress (which is the platform I prefer to use). They will allow you to choose a username and then add it to their platform name to give you a URL or website address. You can also whip up a basic website online using a whole host of platforms, both paid and free. Try searching ‘build free website’ to get started.
Alternately, if you want to learn some basic coding skills, you can purchase a personalised URL. You then need to ‘point’ or ‘direct’ your URL at your website so that one leads to the other. This may start to get you involved in things like server fees, so consider starting with a free blog before upgrading to anything that is going to cost you money.
You can also get a web designer or developer involved if you find you need help with the look or the running of the website. Try sites like Fiver or 99designs, or do some research on Twitter to find the person that fits your need and budget.
What to include?
As a rule, think from the point of view of a potential reader and not as the author. What do you like to see on author sites?
Obviously, the basics; name, body of work blurb & links to purchase it, maybe some reviews.
You can also include a blog and a newsletter, but only if you intend to regularly update them.
How to monitor it?
Try adding Google Analytics to your website code for in-depth knowledge of visitors interests, bounce rate, top pages, etc.
If using WordPress, there are a host of apps and widgets that allow you to track data and measure visitor rates to your site.
Do you need to splash out?
Quick answer? No. It is not necessary to spend much to get a great site – heck, you can even do it for free if you accept certain compromises, such as not having a 100% customisable web address.
Do I need a website?
It really depends on what you plan to use it for and how much time you can put into it. Anyone can make a website, but you have to publicise it in order to get people to show up and visit it. After all, no-one will turn up to a party if you forget to post the invitations.
A social media presence and a strong author profile on your chosen retail site could be all you need. You’ll still need to direct potential readers to visit you, whether it be on a Facebook page, Twitter stream, blog or author website.
Check out this infographic for some tips on your website