Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writer Wednesday: The Importance of Having a Website

I know some authors don't find a need to have a website, but I definitely do. Here's why. When people who don't know me look me up online, they'll find my website first. Google me and you'll see that my website comes up at the top of the search results. Sure my blog is also there in the search results, but if people aren't bloggers, they get a little intimidated by blogs. 

Most of the people who contact me are teachers, readers, or parents of kids who have read my books. They look for a website, and they look for a contact me page so they can get in touch with me. So I spend a lot of time updating my website, keeping it current with what's going on with my writing. My home page has a News section with whatever is going on right now that I want people to be aware of. It's the first thing they see when they land on my page—well, under my custom banner slideshow that displays my books.

I also have my bio, press kit, and FAQ for any media personnel who stop by my site. Everything is right there for them to find in one spot. And I recently added a virtual business card that looks like this:
I know I'm most likely not the first person to use a virtual business card (even if I'd love to take credit for the idea) but I think it's a great idea. You can't hand your business card to everyone in the world, but if it's on your website, anyone can see it.

When I first created a website, I went with a free site. I quickly learned that having a custom domain is very important. Custom domains are easier to search for, and we want people to find us online. I now have a premium website with a custom domain, and I think it's money well spent. The proof is in the number of emails I get through my contact me form on my website. People are using my site, and that makes me very happy.

So yeah, I believe in author websites. How about you? Do you think author websites are important?

30 comments:

  1. I think they can be very important, yes, although some authors seem to do just fine without them. Then again, their info is easily available too.

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    1. I find my website is how 99% of people find me online.

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  2. You're right. I've been using Weebly for about a year and a half. I like that it's easy to use as I'm not a savvy tech/web building person. But lately I've been thinking about moving up from basic to premium /pro. Or move my site to WordPress, Blogspot, etc.

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  3. Author websites are a MUST. I've received countless emails through my website which go straight to my yahoo inbox from readers and students. If they weren't able to find me by searching on Google, then I wouldn't be receiving any of their wonderful emails.
    We are not only authors, we are also professionals. Our books are our business so I think it's best to have an author website.

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    1. I completely agree, Gina. Well stated.

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  4. I wish more folks found a need for a website. It might give me some work to do on the side! :)

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  5. Yes, I definitely plan on getting one if I'm every published. Might need help setting it up as I'm not very tech-savvy, but that's the plan anyway! =)

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    1. Leandra, check out Diane's comment right above yours. ;) She makes websites.

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  6. Sometimes yes, sometimes, no, but I know that has only the recent year. I believe I was protesting the virtual world, fighting with destiny. Being present in the virtual world can't hurt an author. But as you say or have said, messaging and image are paramount. I remember when I stared reading your blog, what drew me to you was your sincerity, Now that is branding.

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    1. That means a lot to me, Brenda. I really believe people need to be sincere. I find no reason to portray myself as anything but who I am. I have flaws, but we all do and I see no reason to hide them.

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  7. Sure, pretty essential, yes. Mine combines Kitsy Clare with Catherine Stine, but on separate pages. At some point I may create two websites, but for now it works.

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    1. My website has both Kelly and Ashelyn, but I separate blogs for each. It's a lot to maintain, but I'm doing it for now.

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  8. I'm hoping to outgrow my website design soon! It was designed specifically to promote my first book, then the second book was added when I sold it--but if (WHEN!) I sell more books or if I sell a chapter book, I'll have to rework it to allow different readers to find information on my different books!

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  9. I like the look of your website, Kelly. I'll have to get to one of my own.

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    1. I'm such a dork because I love working on my website. ;)

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  10. I think author websites are incredibly important, and you outlined a number of things that I realized I should have on my own site, as well! I'm quite inspired to go update my site now. It really is more like a "landing page" for everyday people who come looking for us online and we should have the resources they're looking for readily available. Great post, Kelly!

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  11. I agree with you that author websites are very important. Like you, I first went with a free website, but learned it is better to buy a domain. :)

    Awesome post!
    ~Jess

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    1. Yeah, it's definitely a good investment.

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  12. If you asked me 6 months ago about a website, I would have said no way. Then an editor demnded I set one up. Mine is going through the baby phase right now, but I'm learning and growing. Yes, they are important.

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  13. I don't think it a must, but a static website is the only Internet presence you can truly control. Unlike the more porous (though dynamic) blog, of a social site, websites and their content are owned by the author . For all the things a public person has to content with, having their own portrait the way they wish to display it is a nice thing. You do a phenomenal job with your web presence, Kelly.

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    1. Thank you, Mirka. And I agree with you point about control. Maybe that's why I love my website so much. It's just mine. :)

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  14. Definitely, if you intend to release more than one book. I know some authors are intimidated by blogging already, let alone running a website, but I think both are important and you don't need to spend a bomb on them at all. (Purchasing a domain name is an expense well-spent and it doesn't need to be expensive.) Let people find you easily! The virtual biz card idea is good. I'll look into that. I like tinkering with my website every time a new book is out, or sometimes just every 6 months. The other thing I'd suggest authors do is to set up an author website instead of a book website. Set up an author social media page instead of a book social media page (so readers won't have to keep liking all your pages and not having updates on your next book). You have a very nice website, Kelly. It's clean and easy to navigate.

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    1. Great point! Setting up pages and websites per book gets crazy. One place for everything is best. Unless you have a pen name like me and need to keep audiences separated because of age levels. Then you need a site for the pen name too.

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  15. I do think custom websites for authors are important. I haven't created one yet because of financial difficulties, but I plan to in the future. I appreciate these tips! I especially love the virtual business card idea.

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  16. That’s true. With today’s fast-growing technology, having a website for one's business, or even their online portfolio, is a must. It is simply because a website helps one to be visible online, and spread word of their business' products and/or services. While it might be challenging to build and maintain a website for some, it is certainly rewarding once you accomplish it successfully. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience and tips on the matter. Your readers will surely find these helpful.

    Wallace Wagner @ Zkazi

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  17. I agree. A website can also be treated as an online business card for some types of businesses and ventures these days. And it gives you more space to pitch your idea to potential clients or costumers, rather than be limited by a small piece of paper. But even it is helpful, it can also a source of negative publicity, especially if it's not properly maintained or is garishly designed. That’s why everyone is advised to make sure that it is informative and tastefully designed. Also, it must updated regularly, so that content and events posted in it stay relevant to your business' current status. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Jared Holmes @ All Web, LLC

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