Having an online web presence these days seems like a no-brainer to so many of us.
But there is an entire network of internet hold-outs, little underground rebels as i like to call them, who insist on NOT having a web presence. I also imagine they still send faxes and own a pager too but I digress. I'm talking about WRITERS! Book writers, published authors, unpublished authors. This beautiful hold-out of creative force who for some reason RESIST the idea of a personalized online web-presence for themselves and in so doing have literally STUNTED their marketing potential. So just for you writers, here is an easy step by step guide that will literally spoon feed you the steps to take to have a full-blown web presence in a week (or less!)
DAY 1: FIND YOUR WHY
I talk about the actual WHY of needing a web presence in my article titled Why Writer's NEED a Blog. But drilling down into that is more why do YOU...as a writer....NEED a web presence, at all? This is a crucial question that only you can answer but answer it you must. Do you want a website so you have a place to list and possibly sell your books? Do you want a website to play around with the alter-ego you use as your Pen Name? Is your website going to be, like mine, a branding place to house your greater writing portfolio? You must make this crucial decision because it will drive all the coming days and steps so don't skimp on this one. Really think about not only the NOW but the LATER. Honor your craft enough to set aside your other projects for one week and focus this day on this question. WHAT do you think a website will do for you as a writer, an author, maybe even (GADZOOKS!) a blogger? If you decide you want a storefront to sell your self-published works now...what about the writing you do that's NOT for sale?? Don't look so surprised, I'm a writer too, we never have just ONE form of writing going. You can publish the latest YA Sci-fi thriller on a Friday and be blogging about your favorite bottle of wine by Sunday night. I know you have more in you than just the current book. WHERE is the rest of your writing work at? Hiding in a word document on your laptop? YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! Stop hiding all that creative ramblings behind an generic named folder. UNLEASH the full you on the unsuspecting world. Who knows, maybe that humorous prose you wrote during a frustrated trip to a grocery store is the one to launch a new career direction! Thing LONG GAME here people. Don't short change yourself....really envision the entire ARC of where you want your writing career to take you and then play with the idea of what a website would do for that. Once you have made that decision (in theory in a day or less) move to the next step in the process.
DAY 2: GET A DOMAIN NAME
If your website is the house you live in, the Domain name is your street address. It's the WWW dot
FIND ME HERE dot COM that you need to make your "house" findable. There is one small caveat in that you must decide on a UNIQUE domain name that no one else has. Google search the options for DOMAIN NAMES, choose a provider you like the price of (they don't need to be your host company either so you can skip that part of now). Focus on a domain that fits the WHY you decided on yesterday. For me, I wanted a website to re-brand myself as a writer. I wanted a one-stop-shop for any and all my writing works. A storefront if needed to sell books on, a blog to ramble on, etc. So my domain name is the pen name I use as an author. Simple, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. LUCKY for me my name was available. If your name is John Hancock....um....you might not be able to secure that cause I'm guessing that's taken. But perhaps your middle name is Perceval and BLAMMO your in the win. A Domain will cost you a tiny bit of money (some places as cheap as a dollar or 2 a month) but it's an investment that's necessary to get online. And your domain name will stay with you as long as you pay to maintain it. So....assuming you REALLY thought "long term" yesterday you should have a solid idea of a domain name.Day 2 is easy. Google search for a provider....find and reserve a domain. TA-DA! Your well on your way. Pour a glass of wine and relax for the night because tomorrow....we get to work.
DAY 3 & 4 (& maybe 5): BUILD A WEBSITE
Don't Panic! I know it seems like I just said building a website will take you 3 days. But it won't, or it doesn't HAVE to! I'm going to be very blunt and level with you here. I AM NOT A WEB DESIGNER! I don't have a graphic design background and frankly I'm pretty sure HTML is short-hand for Hot Tamale's. (and now I want mexican food). While you can get REALLY technical and learn how to build a site from scratch, you don't NEED to in order to have a polished online presence. Likewise,
you COULD invest in a professional designer but again, it's money you don't NEED to spend. There are so many free site's out there that let you start playing with design themes but frankly, I threw this website together (the one you are on right now) in ONE WEEKEND using WIX. WIX Had two options to design my site using their advanced ADI or doing a custom build myself. I opted for the latter option cause I'm a control freak. EVEN CUSTOM though it was so simple, so easy. Literally point and click, drag and drop, What You See is What You Get. The design was clean, RESPONSIVE FOR MOBILE VIEWING, and ready to go within less than 48 hours. WIX ROX! And again I repeat, I AM NOT A WEB DESIGNER. I'm just a mom, who writes, and blogs, and now builds websites. hahahah No Really, I'm not a Designer. CHECK OUT WIX. Their sites are beautiful and simple and clean and super easy to make look polished and professional. They have lots of plan option but for my money the PREMIUM PLAN is the way to go. It's a one-stop shop solution and lets face it, we need that. We writers need this done so we can get back to figuring out how to 86 the villian in our latest story. Plus - spoiler alert - they HOST and will help you secure a domain FOR FREE if you get their premium plan which is ridiculously cheap at less than 15 bucks a month! I said it before but I'll say it again. WIX ROX!
DAY 6: NADA!
Check it out....especially if did your homework, choose a domain name, spent a day or so building out your site (especially if you went to WIX) your done and your site is live. If you used another provider you might have a few steps to get it hosted and live but overall BAM! YOUR DONE! Google and other search engines can now begin finding your work as they troll constantly for internet content. Your goal can now be to begin uploading content. Get a solid set of pictures done for you or your books etc, make it polished and professional, and start creating content! Consider this part the fun part. The "stretching your writing muscles in a new way" part. YOUR A WRITER! Who better to write about your website and it's content, THAN YOU! Go....Do....CREATE!
STAY TUNED for my next article: 1 Month to 1000 hits!
Check out some of my other articles at:
Why Writer's Need a Blog
7 Ways to NOT get Published
#1 Tip To Be A Published Author