Building an author website and blog

Home-300x300With all the social media tools at our disposal in 2013, it is tempting to think that building a website is a waste of time and resources. Allow me to counter that with this question. Would you give up your home and go live at your favorite social hang-out? Probably not. Websites still matter because no matter what else you are doing on the web, you need real-estate that you own. No matter how much you love your virtual social circles, you don’t own them. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube do. If your account was deleted tomorrow, you would lose every scrap of information you ever put into these sites. To truly show off your wares, and protect your information and content, there still is no substitute for a great website. And the good news is that building and maintaining one is cheaper and easier than ever before!

There are six primary steps to getting your site going:
1. Hosting: the plot of real-estate where your site lives
2. Naming: marking your territory
3. Designing: your blueprint for success
4. Publishing: opening up for business
5. Promoting: getting the word out, and getting “found”
6. Maintaining: necessary upkeep

I personally recommend Wix or WordPress as the best current services to build and maintain your virtual homes.

One of the most effective ways to launch your website is to integrate a blog into the site. I created my first blog in 2006 as a way to chronicle my journey from hobbyist to novelist. It was designed to be the narrative of the writer who dreams of one day entering the pantheon of the publishing greats. I didn’t really know if anyone would take the time to read my random musings on the highs and lows of trying to get published or not, but I didn’t really care in the beginning. I was doing it more for myself.

At the time, Blogger, was the dominant blogging platform and social media was still in its infancy. I also created a blog to showcase my poetry on Myspace, which was at that time the dominant social media platform. I added a hit counter to my blogger page and Myspace made it easy to see who was viewing and commenting on my content. Both of these were major steps for me because prior to this moment I had never been much of a journaler. But it was great fun to plot out a blog, post it, and see the reaction. I was hooked!

I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about html, search engine optimization, and web widgets at the time. That was the beauty of blogger…it took the headache out of blogging. I was, however, very aware of blogging as a potential traffic generator for a website. And I knew this would come in handy should I ever publish a book someday.

Six years later, the blogging landscape has changed dramatically. Blogging is now serious business. People are getting paid for their opinions, expertise, and random musings. Google adsense has changed the game. Social media has altered the way you interact with your audience. But these changes mean more opportunities to express your narrative, hook your audience, and build a lasting connection.

So what are you waiting for? Get to blogging! And if you need more reasons why, here are my top 5 reasons to start blogging today!
1. It’s easier than ever before
2. It’s FREE!
3. It drives traffic to your website
4. It helps you GET FOUND online
5. It allows you to control your story.

Here and here are 2 slide share presentations that should help you build your website and blog.

To more effectively get found online, let’s now discuss search engine optimization (SEO).

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