Ok so lets dive into building a web site as your first step to an online presence. I personally think Godaddy is the easiest to use. As marketing person, if a small business comes to me with limited funds and wants to manage their own content but have someone set it up, I always go to Godaddy first. Some people may disagree, but this is my experience.
Godaddy now has a feature called WebSite Tonight. It provides templates for you to choose from - probably about 100. And it allows you to enter content in a window that is similar to blogger windows or Word. You can get a 5 page web site for under 20$ a month.
First let me say as a marketing business owner - I always think you can do greater things with a company like mine. But if you don't have the money - and web sites can cost anywhere from 1,000 - 6,000, Godaddy is a good place for you to start on your own. If you do want to invest, you can call me - I offer 30% off to authors :) (shameless plug huh?)
1) Buy your author domain. I suggest your name unless you have a huge series like Stepahnie Meyer . Even then I would suggest a name domain and a series domain. For example: Since I am doing a knitting mystery I may use shellijohannes.com as y author but since my knitting series is called "Knit me baby one more time" I may also get Knitme.com. You can search and buy your domains right on Godaddy.
2) Hosting and a web site tonight feature - Go daddy will host your web site for you. ON the web site tonight account - you will need to choose from 5 pages, 20 pages or unlimited. I would do unlimited just because it is only a few dollars more a month and you will have no constraints as to your page numbers.
3) Take the tutorials Godaddy offers to learn the basics. They also have a Help line that is very good. They have great customer service and will help you over the phone. You will feel better about playing around if you do this.
4) Choose your design template - you can look through each one and see how it is structured. This is where a graphic designer can come in handy - because they can manipulate the files to be more "you specific". The templates are pretty constraining in color, buttons, look, etc.
5) Main topics to cover include: Do not have more than 6 or 7 main pages - menu items. Home, Books (you can separate into mg/ya and PB if you do both), Author Bio, Blog (and link to your blog), Resources, Other pages could include - Events/Media Kit/Ect - whatever you need now. If you are pre-published - I would link to your favorite authors/resources
4) Don't be afraid to mess up. You can always fix it. After any change - you don't have to publish it to the web. Just preview it. Work in preview mode until you feel good enough to launch your site.
One Word Only
This will be hard for us MG/YA authors but give it a try.:) USING ONLY ONE WORD. Not as easy as you might think!
- Where is your cell phone? Purse
- Describe your significant other? Amazing
- Hair color? Brown
- Your mother? Giving
- Your father? A. Funny
- Your favorite thing? Family
- Your dream last night? Driving
- Your favorite drink? Martini
- Your dream/goal? Published
- What room are you in? Office
- Your hobby? Reading
- Your fear? Failure
- Where do want to be in 6 Yrs? Healthy
- Where were you last night? Home
- Something that you aren't? Patient
- Muffins Flavor? Blueberry
- Wish list item? Computer
- What are you wearing? Jeans
- Your pets? Dog
- Friends? Blessing
- Your life? Content
- Your mood? Persistent
- Missing someone? Beth
- Drinking? A. Coffee
- Something you're not wearing? Jewelry
- Your favorite store? Target
- Your favorite color? Green
- When is the last time you cried? Rejection
- Favorite place to eat? Mexican
- Favorite place to be at right now? Beach