Although I’m a book designer, I started setting up and coding my own websites for my art and writing when I was a teenager (way back in the 90’s), and then switched to WordPress, because it’s the ideal SEO solution for an integrated blog with updated content.
Initially I wasn’t eager to offer Author Website Design, but my clients keep asking for it and whether I could recommend someone, and after searching around I realized that “author website design companies” are overcharging authors by thousands of dollars simply because authors aren’t tech-savvy enough to do it themselves.
They charge you extra for things like “SEO, Social Network Integration, Google Analytics, and Premium Templates” – but they don’t tell you that almost all of those tools are free and easy to use, or that a “Premium Template” costs around $50. Even worse, a lot of these companies’ portfolios are really not that nice at all. (I’ve been looking around at author marketing services, I can’t believe how ugly their sample websites are!). There are a lot of people who can put a website together but don’t have the design skills or ability to make it look good.
A common sales tactic is to offer 3 or 4 service tiers, going from a basic site design to a “Supreme Total Amazing Package” or something like that which costs thousands of dollars, but only adds a few cheap extras: by showing the higher priced versions, they make the simple package seem like a good deal. That’s probably a smart strategy, but I feel it’s less confusing to do just do everything you need for one price, so here’s mine:
$997 for a Custom WordPress Author Website
You can order one through me, or through my book marketing site.
What I will and won’t do for you
The main reason author websites are so awful to look at, so confusing and jumbled, unfinished, disorienting, and basically useless, is that the authors take control of the process. Authors often admit to not being very visually-oriented. They are “idea” based (not a stereotype I support, but something many authors believe about themselves). They have lots of ideas about how to organize and layout the site, which colors and fonts to use, which pictures to add. But mostly they treat their website like a Rorschach test of their own mind and personality. The result is invariably cluttered.
Moreover, authors don’t know much about website design and online marketing. Did you know that where you put your email list sign up form matters? That using “buy now” vs “add to cart” on buttons makes a big difference in sales? That there are simple tricks to hook attention and keep readers on your page?
I won’t make you a website that is your online playground, where you can practice digital finger-painting and scare people away from your book. I will use the decade I have of website design, online marketing, entrepreneurial research to make a simple, clean, professional WordPress website designed to give you credibility and authority, to quickly expand your author platform, and sell lots of books.
I’ve paid for thousands of dollars worth of resources to learn how to do things online, how to sell books and products, how to get viewers to like you, trust you and buy from you. That’s some pretty powerful knowledge I can use in your favor (I’ve used it to start several service websites that make over $100K/year).
Just to be clear: what I’m offering is WordPress installation/customization, not a totally unique site built from scratch (which, to be honest, is really what everybody else is offering too, they just aren’t as upfront about it).
Here are some of the things I will include in this package. I made sure to include all the things other companies offer in their multi-thousand dollar packages, plus some extras that they don’t.
- Managing/Registering/Transferring your Domain Name
- Installation of WordPress
- Premium WordPress Template
- Guidance for Online Strategy
- Social Media Integration
- Up to 6 Pages of Content
- Integrated blog (with suggestions of what to write about based on keyword research)
- Up to 5 premium images from 123rf.com
- Social Media and Contact Form Integration
- Google Analytics Code (if needed: I don’t use it, and you probably won’t either).
- Linked posts (automatic posting) to your Facebook/Twitter (if needed, this isn’t always a good strategy).
- Mailing List sign up form (with Aweber/Mailchimp)
- GoodReads Profile Widget
- FREE TypeKit or Google Fonts
- FREE custom header (graphic banner)
- FREE background texture, if you want it
- FREE submission to all major search engines
- FREE backlinking strategy to boost Page Rank
- FREE integrated “Buy Now” buttons to sell your book on your site
- FREE custom Amazon widgets, with your own affiliate code, to make more profit off each sale.
- And more – basically if you need it done, I can do it.
- Blog Marketing strategy and book promotion tips
The main reason to choose me is that the most important parts of a website are graphical. You need a great banner, logo, header… you need professional fonts and colors that define your brand and protect that important first impression. Other people may be able to put a site together, but I doubt they can help you make it as elegant and stylish as I can.
But I won’t give you everything you want or waste time on ideas that won’t help sell
Most authors spend way too much time and money setting up their blog, telling their website designer exactly what to do, obsess over every little detail for months, and then… nothing. No content, no posts, nothing to write about. Your website or blog is important, but it’s worthless real estate if there’s no content, and the design won’t matter anyway if you don’t have any visitors.
Keep it simple. Make it nice and functional. Get it done quickly. Trust me and my knowledge – people spend millions of dollars researching how people use the web. Why not use the established, tried and true, best practices that convert accidental browsers into loyal fans? This isn’t the place to take creative risks.
I can’t help you write the content – that’s up to you. But I can give you an author website much more attractive than average, for less than you’d pay elsewhere.
Please note, for first time authors, I actually recommend you start with the default WordPress theme and get a cheap header from fiverr.com, or just use a Google font plugin to redo the fonts. Don’t spend a lot until you get used to using WordPress and have some content up; that’ll help you focus on what you want and don’t want. Make sure your book is selling and getting decent natural reviews. Once you’re sure that the people who find it are buying it, then you can increase traffic and visibility with a more professional website.
Check to see if I’m available!
Since I’m so busy with cover designs already, I can’t commit to helping you with your website.
But I am open to the suggestion, if I have time, and if I like the book and the project and feel I can contribute positively.
I think $1000 per author website with everything I’ve included above is more than fair (you will too, if you browse around and compare prices). But remember the deal: simple, stylish, professional, will sell the book, will be unique and brand you as an author… but won’t be crazy, cluttered, busy, and you can’t decide to move this over here and that over there (within reason – but those requests may demand total coding site overhauls, and that’s not something I’m willing to do).
Focus on what matters: the Typography/font, the colors and graphics, a clean, easy to read, well-organized site that is beautiful without being distracting, and gets out of the way quickly so readers can find the message, see if they like it, and then do whatever you ask them to do. We’ll start with a WordPress theme (I can help you pick one out) gut it by changing the fonts and graphics so it’s completely unique, and add in the content. Ideally I could get it done in a week.