An Author Needs A Web Presence

One of the first marketing tips a writer is given is to make sure she has a web presence–and do it before she’s  published.

Three years before my publishing contract, I created a blog and used it as my author site. For the most part, I was quite happy with it. I updated the site on a monthly basis, along with a newsletter reminder, and had formed a nice reader base, so it served me well. When I received my contract from Zondervan, however, I realized I wanted more. I had two choices–pay someone to build a website, or do it myself.

So began my journey. I began visiting author sites and kept track of those I liked best, paying attention to colors, layout schemes, page descriptions, and author photos. I also studied web designer sites and their client portfolios. For learning purposes, my favorite sites were:

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From there, I requested price quotes. And that’s when my enthusiasm began to waver. Some of the designers were charging over two-thousand dollars–and I’m sure worth every penny, as their client pages were gorgeous! To add to my dilemma, I’d heard it said that your website must look professional–an outward reflection of who you are as an author (or in other words, not cheap & dowdy). Well that’s great, if you have the money . . . but this gal from Kansas didn’t have that kind of money to spend.

With a sigh, I began searching for less expensive alternatives. I considered updating my blog. Blogs are free, and I already knew how to manage them. But I really wanted a new look. So I set my chin, determined to figure out a way to make it work.

That’s when I discovered a host program called Homestead. Several of my author friends used the program and were quite happy with it. I began studying the tutorial and realized I could create an author site with nearly all the functions I’d requested of the designers–and for a smidgen of the price.

Of course, I would have to design the pages myself–which would take time and creativity. Fortunately, Homestead’s design program has an easy learning curve, and it turned out to be quite fun. Plus, I had the added advantage of being able to update my site whenever I wanted–an option I might not have had if I’d paid a designer. The company also offers a free trial period, to make sure it fits your needs. After 2 weeks, I’d designed a Website that was a reflection of who I am as an author.

Check it out here.

I went into this venture desiring the best, settling for less, and being quite satisfied with the end result.

For those who enjoy the creative aspects of web design (and who are working with a limited budget) this may be a nice option for you, too. Next  time, I’ll visit with you about publicity photos. Until then, enjoy the moments  . . .

14 thoughts on “An Author Needs A Web Presence

  1. Great information that I will be checking out. I am in much a position as you have descrbed. I love my current blog, but I can see where I will be wanting a website soon. I’ve already established some pretty decent web presence, but the professionalism of having ones own website strikes me as the ultimate way to go.
    Thanks

    Arlee Bird

  2. I’ve been thinking about this more lately and think that I will be ready soon to start a website. I, too, am concerned about the cost, though. Several thousand dollars is a lot of money! I can’t wait to check out this site. Thank you for the information. I also think you’re very brave to do this yourself! I hope I can be that smart! 🙂

  3. Great advice, Deb! I know someone (Mr. Stewart 🙂 ) who is VERY good with all things computers, as it’s his occupation. So I’m sure he could help me out with the program you recommend, should I need it. Sounds pretty user-friendly, though, and that’s just the ticket for me.

    Thanks for this post!

  4. Hi everyone, I’m glad this post was helpful. I do recommend Homestead if you want to go the route of doing it yourself. It is very user-friendly and has many options to give you just what you want. I’m hoping to update my site in the months ahead to give me a fresh look for my next book. That’s something else that’s nice about doing it yourself. You can change it after a few years . . . Blessings. 🙂

  5. Your site looks great! You did a wonderful job! I did Wendy’s blog design and certainly don’t charge thousands 🙂 If you know of anyone who needs a blog design, ALL of the money from my orders will be donated to “The Mercy House” (a maternity home for at-risk girls in Kenya) so please pass my name along! 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience, Deborah. I’m in the process of updating my website and am exploring the many options. Thanks to you, I have another one to consider.

    Good job on your site. It looks nice.

  7. Deborah, I couldn’t agree more!! In our technology age, website presence is no longer an optional luxury. Thanks for sharing your journey and some really great tips!

  8. Thanks, Deborah, for all this good information. Website design sticker shock…that’s what I got, too!

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments. Please be sure to leave your own recommendations for website designers or other places similar to homestead. We’re all here to learn. Thanks bunches!

  10. I love your new site, Deborah! It is very easy to navigate and I like the clean look. Thanks for sharing your research! I’ll be saving this info for future reference.

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