Friday, May 16, 2008

Basics Can Work For New Authors

Whether you are just starting out as an author or writer or maybe you've been around for some time and want to get a new presence online. In this entry about The Writing Life, I wanted to give a few ideas about how to use the basics with your website to easily build a presence. At first, it may look complicated but it's not.

A long time ago, I learned the value of creating my own website. Yes, I could hire someone to do it for me. Many years ago I actually went in the outsourcing direction--and I found it frustrating. At times I couldn't get in touch with my web person--and every time I wanted to make the smallest and easiest change, it involved someone else's time--so I was charged for it.

The first step is to figure out what theme or topic you are going to address on your website. Who is your target audience or reader? Is it for a particular book or author? You need to focus on that theme so anyone who comes to the site will clearly know what they are getting and you can build repeat visitors.

I personally use one of the largest domain places, Godaddy.com Find an available domain and right before you purchase it, do a Google search for "godaddy coupon" and you will often find a discount code that you can use to get some money off the domain purchase.

After you have your domain, you need a hosting site. Choose one with flexibility and that hosts many websites and provides good service. The one that I'm using and recommending these days is Hostgator. It's inexpensive and you can do many things with it. Previously I was recommending Homestead. I still have some of my material there but I'm slowly moving everything to the new place. Homestead is still a good place but doesn't allow me to do some of the technical things that I want to do these days.

One of the options to quickly set up your site on Hostgator is to start a WordPress Blog. For an example, I've done this process for my terrywhalin.com site. The search engines like blogs and will pick up on the fact that you are using WordPress--even if it doesn't look or function like a blog. It will help your overall traffic and exposure online.

As I mentioned earlier this week, with your basic site, set up a newsletter and start the process of being directly connected to your audience. Pick up this free ebook about newsletter creation and read it carefully then begin the communications process. It's a step I recommend for every author or would-be author. Jump in at any point and if you do it consistently, it will reap rewards for you.

Finally I wanted to point out an article which yesterday appeared in my local newspaper, The Arizona Republic. I found this same article online and it's about Henry Winkler and his new children's book. Notice in the article Winkler is promoting his 14th Hank Zipzer book called Enter At Your Own Risk. I was fascinated with his struggle with dyslexia and how he's overcome it--yet notice Winkler's co-author or the writer for the series, Lin Oliver. I instantly recognized Oliver's name as the long-term Executive Director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Many would-be book authors look for their own entrance into the marketplace yet struggle with their lack of visibility. If you are in this situation, can you get near someone high profile, join forces with them and use their platform to propel your writing into high gear? It's something else to think about for your writing life.

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3 Comment:

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Cheryl Barker Left a note...

Terry, thanks once again for some good information. I'm sure there are many of us who really need this kind of basic info. Appreciate the help!

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Bonnie Calhoun Left a note...

LOL...late last year I also switched to Hostgator for all of my websites. It is truly awesome, and I have a ton of room in my own account to spread out in! I would recommend them to everyone!

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Amy Wyatt Left a note...

These were very helpful suggestions. I am currently caught in the trap of having someone else update my website... which is why it's not updated :) I hope to learn how to do it myself soon!! Thanks for the info. Hope you are well.


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