Authors Website

FeaturedAuthors Website

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Authors Website.
Perhaps you are a new author and have decided to build a website or you have one up and running. There is much advice floating around about website design. Some is very good and some not so much. After seventeen years of working my own website, I have identified five critical website design issues.
You may have additional ideas and I welcome your comments. But here are mine.
The Home Page
This is regarded as the most critical page because this is where your visitors will most likely land. And this is true whether you have one or more home pages.
More than one?
Yes. As an Independent author I am also an independent publisher. Therefore, I have designed my website as a publisher’s site, and every author (all two of us) have their own Home page, plus more.
The Home page is where you want your usual visitors to come to. Therefore, you will have most or all of your marketing linked to that page. If the visitor Google’s your name (author’s name) it should bring the potential customer to your (the author’s) Home page.
Now, as I mentioned our website is actually tied to T&R Independent Books – the publisher of our books. Like other publishers we then have “home” pages for the authors. For this to work the authors need to be:

  1. Identified on the Main Landing page
  2. Be accessible from the Main Landing page
  3. Have their own pages where their books are featured
  4. Author’s Home page should be accessible directly from Internet

On this page (whether site’s home page or author’s) it is always wise to employ good SEO practices. As you build your site you may want to see how well you are doing. I recommend Website Grader, which you can use for free.
The Url
The Url is critical. Put a lot of thought into this. Among the things to consider is whether you are a one book author or you have or will write more books. If you write multiple books, you will want to use your author’s name in your url. The exception would be like a publisher’s site. But even then you want a url that goes to the author page, such as r.-frederick-riddle-books.html. If you are doing your own publishing don’t forget the primary site. Click on the link above to see the full url. You can also give out a bit.ly shortcut.
Most of you will have your own personal site. You might wonder why it has to be your name and not the name of a book. Simple. As you write more books you want people to know your name. People may seek a particular book title, but as your name recognition grows they will seek your name.
The About Page
The About page is very important because you want the visitor to know as much about you as you can reveal. How much you reveal is up to you, but a variety of experts say we should include our bio (of writing career), education, awards (if any), and a peak into your personal life.
Only reveal that which you want people to know. And please don’t include your Social Security Number or other potentially vital information.
The Store Page and/or Book Page
A Store page is very important if you sell on site. I would recommend that you also have a Book page where visitors can learn about your books. If not selling on site, it is important to have links from each book to the site(s) where it is sold.
A Book page should include a Cover photo, a description of the book, important stats (such as publisher, author, title, ISBN, and ASIN) and, of course, the links.
Media Page
Aside from potential buyers, you also want the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) to also visit your site. This page is designed to provide them as much information as possible without their having to search the site. Some of the things included is a listing with links of every book you’ve written, a photo of you (a professional photo is recommended), links to any blogs you may have written, links to such things as Press Releases and other marketing sites where you are active.
Contact Page
Even if not selling directly, you need this page. It provides an opportunity for your visitors to talk to you. Perhaps they have questions about you, your books, or even an opportunity for your book to be marketed or turned into a movie.
These are only five ideas, but you might want to also include a Blog page (assuming you write a blog). But the five listed above are absolutes. You need these. Seek expert advice and don’t be afraid to visit other authors websites for ideas. This will combine a visual with the technical advice available all over the web.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Five Important Website Issues

Five Important Website Issues

Perhaps you are a new author and have decided to build a website or you have one up and running. There is much advice floating around about website design. Some is very good and some not so much. After fourteen years of working my own website, I have identified five critical website design issues.

You may have additional ideas and I welcome your comments. But here are mine.

The Home Page

This is regarded as the most critical page because this is where your visitors will most likely land. And this is true whether you have one or more home pages.

More than one?

Yes. As an Independent author I am also an independent publisher. Therefore, I have designed my website as a publisher’s site, and every author (all two of us) have their own Home page, plus more.

The Home page is where you want your usual visitors to come to. Therefore, you will have most or all of your marketing linked to that page. If the visitor Google’s your name (author’s name) it should bring the potential customer to your Home page.

On this page it is always wise to employ good SEO practices. As you build your site you may want to see how well you are doing. I recommend Website Grader, which you can use for free.

The Url

The Url is critical. Put a lot of thought into this. Among the things to consider is whether you are a one book author or you have or will write more books. If you write multiple books, you will want to use your author’s name in your url. The exception would be like a publisher’s site. But even then you want a url that goes to the author page, such as r.-frederick-riddle-books.html. If you are doing your own publishing don’t forget the primary site. Click on the link above to see the full url.

Most of you will have your own personal site. You might wonder why it has to be your name and not the name of a book. Simple. As you write more books you want people to know your name. People may seek a particular book title, but as your name recognition grows they will seek your name.

The About Page

The About page is very important because you want the visitor to know as much about you as you can reveal. How much you reveal is up to you, but a variety of experts say we should include our bio (of writing career), education, awards (if any), and a peak into your personal life.

Only reveal that which you want people to know. And please don’t include your Social Security Number or other potentially vital information.

The Store Page and/or Book Page

A Store page is very important if you sell on site. I would recommend that you also have a Book page where visitors can learn about your books. If not selling on site, it is important to have links from each book to the site(s) where it is sold.

A Book page should include a Cover photo, a description of the book, important stats (such as publisher, author, title, ISBN, and ASIN) and, of course, the links.

Media Page

Aside from potential buyers, you also want the media (newspapers, radio, tv, etc.) to also visit. This page is designed to provide them as much information as possible without their having to search the site. Some of the things included is a listing of every book you’ve written, a photo of you (a professional photo is recommended), links to any blogs you may have written, links to such things as Press Releases and other marketing sites where you are active.

Contact Page

Even if not selling directly, you need this page. It provides an opportunity for your visitors to talk to you. Perhaps they have questions about you, your books, or even an opportunity for your book to be marketed or turned into a movie.

These are only five ideas, but you might want to also include a Blog page (assuming you write a blog). But the five listed above are absolutes. You need these. Seek expert advice and don’t be afraid to visit other authors websites. This will combine a visual with the technical advice available all over the web.

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Hosting Your Website

There are different ways of studying this subject. Some are much more technical than this blog will be. So for a detailed plan of action on hosting, then I suggest you Google ‘hosting your website.’

But I want to discuss the concept of hosting. Recently I blogged about marketing your website. In a sense this is an expansion on that subject.

There are two ways you can go. First, you can have a server such as Godaddy host your domain. The primary advantage of this is that you will have professionals design and maintain your website.

Chances are that the site will look good, attract visitors, and maybe even sell your books.

BUT YOU WON’T OWN IT!

What’s the big deal?

Let’s image for a moment that Godaddy goes belly up. Not likely, but let’s just pretend. Do you know what happens to your website?

It disappears.

You see, you don’t own it. Godaddy does. The domain may still exist (if you own that), but all content is gone, Kaput!

Second, I suggest the following:

  • Buy a domain
  • Make sure it is your name or company name (discussed in previous blog)
  • Do your own hosting

You might object that you don’t have the knowledge to do your own hosting. Well, that is a problem that is easily resolved. There are many companies out there, such as Godaddy, that provide easy to use interfaces that allow you to create dynamic websites.

Godaddy, for instance, has Website Builder. They also offer other hosting programs for relatively inexpensive costs.

I use the Website Builder. It is easy to use, has some powerful tools available, and is low cost.

In my blog about marketing the website I mentioned having good content above the fold. This term refers to when you first bring up the website on your computer or remote device. The fold is the bottom of the screen. You want some good, eye catching content above that fold.

Take a look at our website at www.tr-indbkstore.com. On your computer you immediately see our logo, site title, menu, marquee (showing clickable pictures of our books), our site motto, and the beginning of additional content. On a small cell phone you will see less, but all of this is information you want the visitor to see in the first few seconds.

Why? Because when we visit a site our attention span is very short. If we don’t see something to attract us and scream “Check this out!” then we will likely move on.

All of this was accomplished through Godaddy’s Website Builder. There are other hosting plans by Godaddy and other vendors that are just as strong or maybe stronger.

Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order) taken from Authors Academy:
·         1 and 1 (1and1.com)
1and1.com is a domain registrar that is both trusted and a reliable provider of hosting. Its services pretty much cover all types that are related to domain and Web hosting. Ideal for ITs (Information Technicians) as it has a dedicated server, website builder, SEO services, powerful web hosting, and email solutions.

You can get a domain for only $0.99 (first year) plus up to 5 sub-domains. In addition, it offers ecommerce.

·          Bluehost (Bluehost.com)
Bluehost.com is one of the best at the web hosting services. It is very useful to manage and host your website. Its one click installation of options allows you to easily install Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, Zencart, and WordPress.

·         Dreamhost (Dreamhost.com)
Provides Web Presence Solutions to professionals, individuals and small businesses. Helps customers grow and develop their online presence by providing business class email service, ecommerce solutions, website builder products, digital certificates and web hosting.

·         Godaddy (Godaddy.com)
This is probably one of the best web hosting providers and domain registrar in the world. We use it for our author websites as well as the T&R Independent Bookstore.

Godaddy provides many services in addition to buying a domain ($2.95/year) and hosting ($1.99/month). These are Godaddy website builder, business email accounts, SSL certificates, SEO and other services.

·         Hostgator (Hostgator.com)
It has a popular web hosting service. They provide various types of hosting such as shared hosting, Reseller hosting, and VPS. In addition it provides dedicated server and domain registration.

These are just a few of the options available. Once you choose a hosting plan, dive in. Take their tour (if they offer you one). Learn about their tools and how to use them.

My suggestion is that you program yourself to write your website. That is just a fancy way of saying schedule the work. When people see a huge obstacle or job, it is like seeing an elephant. I always ask people, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?”

They usually give me a blank look until I answer, “By eating one bite at a time.”

And that is good advice when designing your website. Take your time, accomplish one task at a time. Before you know it the job will be done.

If you liked this blog visit our Facebook page, like it and post a comment.

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 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. Authors Academy provides training in writing, publishing, and marketing.