I finished creating a website and blog with WordPress recently. I've also used Squarespace and Wix. All have their benefits and a few challenges. I like all three platforms, and they are fairly easy to use. All have good online tutorials, learning videos, and customer support.
Here are thirteen things writers need to consider when building a site or know about their website if someone else creates/maintains it for you.
- Decide up front if you want to maintain all or parts of your website and how comfortable you are with the web-building tools. I needed a website that I could easily update when events, books, and photos changed. I like to keep my content fresh, so I'm updating something at least weekly.
- If you're going to blog, the blog should be on your website. This drives blog traffic to your website.
- You are your brand. Your website, blog, and social media sites should have the same branding (look and feel).
- Your website should provide you with a way to see your statistics/analytics. You need to be able to see how many visits you receive daily, monthly, and yearly. I like that I can compare my totals to previous points in time. This helps me to see if my marketing/social media campaigns are working.
- Whether you or someone else creates your site, you need to do a quality check on it. Make sure all links work. Click every button and link. Check all forms and contact information.
- Make sure you have your own URL. You are your brand, and it should be your name.
- Make sure the colors you choose for your website match the tone that you're trying to set with your books. Lighter genres should have brighter colors. Horror, thrillers, suspenseusually have darker palettes of blacks, grays, and red.
- Don't go crazy with fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read online. (Sans serif letters do not have the tiny tick marks at the letter's endpoints.)
- Your website should adapt to mobile devices (not just shrink down the page for a small screen). It should be mobile friendly. Check your website on a tablet and a phone to ensure it looks right on all devices.
- If you're not sure what you want on your website, visit other author, agent, and editor sites to get a feel for what to include.
- Keep your content and pictures fresh. Nobody returns to an outdated site. And don't have a 10-year old author picture.
- Have a place on your site where folks (reporters, reviewers, bloggers, event hosts, etc.) can get your picture and biography. A short and long biography are ideal.
- Make sure you have a way for people to contact you (email or contact form).
What else would you add to the list? Best wishes with your website.