Are you an author planning on creating your own website?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we’re going to walk you through the 6 main steps on how to make an author website.
Don’t worry, it isn’t as complicated as you might think.
And with WordPress, it becomes even easier to build an online presence for you as an author or for your books.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Video Tutorial: How to Make an Author Website
Here’s a detailed video guide on how you can create your author site using WordPress:
The 6 Steps to Making an Author Website
Here are the 6 main steps to making an author website:
- Plan your website
- Get a domain and hosting
- Set up WordPress
- Choose a theme
- Add pages
- Play around
Let’s look at each one in detail.
How to Make an Author Website Step #1: Plan Your Website
An author’s website should be able to do three things — introduce you, introduce your books, and get emails.
Why emails? It’s because you will want to create an email list to market your new book to your audience.
So make sure to keep these three things in mind when planning your website.
Now, planning can be a difficult task especially if you’ve never done something like this before.
To help you in this first process, we’re going to give you three tips.
Tip #1: Look at What Your Favorite Authors are Doing
Author websites aren’t new. We can guarantee that the most popular authors will have websites of their own.
Some authors choose to create blogs where they share snippets of their thoughts and announcements of their upcoming books. Other authors focus on announcing events such as book signings, new book drops, or interviews.
When planning your own author website, make sure you know what you want to share on it.
NOTE: if you want to make it blog-like, you have to consider writing at least one post a week. This way, you keep your audiences engaged.
Tip #2: Decide Whether You Want to Sell on Your Site
Another thing to decide on is whether or not you want to sell your book online. Knowing the answer to this will help you assess what kind of website you should create. It will also help you plan for the plugins that you need to make your website an e-commerce site.
Tip #3: Identify the Major Elements of Your Site
Now that you have an idea of what you want to do with your site, identifying the key elements becomes easier.
The most common elements we’ve found in author websites are large banners you find on the homepage, a section for the author’s backstory and life, a section for their works (whether books or short stories), and a button for subscribing.
How to Make an Author Website Step #2: Get a Domain and Hosting
Once the planning stage is done, you can start creating your author website – starting with the domain and hosting plan.
The domain name is a lot like an address on the World Wide Web. Domain names help audiences find your website, so you must think of a name that is related to you (more on this later).
As for the hosting plan, you can choose from Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS), or Dedicated Server.
A Shared Hosting plan is like a room in a house. You share the house with other websites.
VPS is like a house on a street. The house is fully owned by one person, but they are all in the same area.
As for the Dedicated Server, you own the whole area, so all its resources and space are only consumed by you.
If you’re a new author without a large following yet, we recommend getting a Shared Hosting plan first.
Why Choose BlueHost for Your Hosting
One of the most trusted web hosts is Bluehost.
Its Shared Hosting plans already come with a one-click WordPress installation and lots of other resources. What’s even better is that it’s only for a few bucks a month.
Another thing. BlueHost is super easy to sign up to. Let’s take a look at this.
Get Started with BlueHost
When you go to BlueHost, simply click “Get Started”. This will direct you to a page comparing the different plans under Shared Hosting as seen below:
First-time site owners usually go with the Basic plan. This plan already consists of FREE 1-year domain registration, customizable themes, FREE SSL and CDN, and 10 GB SSD storage.
In other words, all the basic features are already included.
Just like any other web host, higher plans will have more storage space, more freebies such as security features and backups, and unlimited websites.
If you want to change your hosting plan, you need to go back to Bluehost’s homepage and select Hosting > Dedicated Hosting or VPS Hosting.
Register Your Domain with BlueHost
Now, let’s talk about your domain. After picking a plan, Bluehost will direct you to the registration page for your domain and account.
Since this is your first time making a website, you will have to register your domain under ‘Create a new domain’.
As we said, your domain name is important. For most authors, their domain name is their pen name or real name.
However, we advise against this if and only if your name is hard to spell and pronounce. The reason for this is that when people misspell your name, they might end up on a different site and lose interest in you.
You can also use a domain name that has the same name as your most popular work. Of course, this assumes that there’s a good number of people who have already read your work.
Fill Up the Details of Your BlueHost Account
After your domain name registration, you can now fill in the details of your hosting plan and extra features.
Here’s the one-page registration that you need to accomplish before proceeding to create your site:
Depending on what your website needs, you can choose to just get the basic plan or avail of the add-ons.
If there’s an add-on that we recommend, it’s going to be a security feature. It can be software for automatic backup, spam protection, or stronger firewall protection.
Settling Your Payment with BlueHost
Once you’ve finalized your account and hosting plan, just enter your payment details at the bottom portion of the registration page.
And you’re in!
How to Make an Author Website Step #3: Set Up WordPress
Hosting plan, check!
Next up is to set up your WordPress account.
To do this, log in to your Bluehost account and click the ‘Login to WordPress’ as seen in the picture below.
This will bring you to WordPress with Bluehost.
As you can see, there’s a quick guide found at the center of the homepage. It suggests that you start creating your homepage — and that’s what we’ll do in the next steps.
How to Make an Author Website Step #4: Choose a Theme
When we start creating a homepage, the first thing you need to do is to pick a theme. You can access all the themes under Appearance > Themes.
Whether you get the basic or the highest Shared Hosting plan, Bluehost has hundreds of free WordPress themes to choose from.
Once you click “Themes”, you’ll see the themes that you’ve used or are currently using. Since this is a new account, it will be blank.
So go to the upper left-hand corner and select ‘Add New’. this leads you to the Themes library.
To look for certain themes, you can use the search bar on the upper portion and type in keywords like “author”, “book”, and “blog”. These keywords will show you themes that are appropriate for such purposes.
If you found a theme that you like but want to change some of its elements, you can customize it to your liking. All you have to do is click ‘Activate’ on your chosen theme and it will go to your personal theme library.
From there, hover your mouse over the theme and you’ll find the button ‘Customize’. You can customize it to your heart’s content.
How to Make an Author Website Step #5: Add Pages
Remember the plan that you’ve made for your website? This is where it will be useful.
Say, you’ve decided on creating a blog-like site that has a page for buying your works. To do that, you have to have separate pages for the blog and the online store.
To create a page, go back to your homepage or dashboard, and hover your mouse to Pages. Click ‘Add New’.
Adding a new page will give you a blank canvas that has a header, body, and footer.
Before we even get to the artistic part, we have to fill in the contents of our pages.
Now, to edit your pages, you can go to Pages > Add New.
These new pages will only show you a blank canvas with a title and body block.
What we recommend is to fill up the title block first, then write the text that you want per page on each body block.
Why do this before designing your web pages? It’s because your design will change once you see the actual text present on the blocks.
Without putting the text first, you might end up redesigning as the design looks different when it already has the text in.
This section might take some time to finish, especially since you need to put in all the pages you want on your website.
How to Make an Author Website Step #6: Play Around
We’re now at the last leg of creating your author’s website.
After putting all the text on your pages, it’s now time to add photos, videos, plugins, and other elements you want to add to each page.
We suggest starting with the simpler pages before going into the blog and e-commerce pages.
What we love about Bluehost is that you don’t need to conceptualize each page’s design. Thanks to the AI-driven templates, each page will have a template that already has a flow.
Bluehost also automatically converts your website to a mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly site. This is a huge plus if you’re planning to go up the rankings on the search results page.
Another thing — don’t forget plugins.
Some useful plugins we recommend to authors are the Simple Author Box, All in One SEO, and WooCommerce.
Simple Author Box is a free plugin that helps design your bio. It also lets you link your social media accounts in a neat and fast way.
All in One SEO, on the other hand, is a plugin that helps improve your search engine rankings. Since you’re planning to make a name for yourself, people searching for you should be able to see your website at the top.
Lastly, there’s WooCommerce. WooCommerce is by far the most popular e-commerce plugin. It’s free and easy to use. If you’re planning to sell your book online, then this plugin can help with the payment and product listing.
Finishing Your Website
And that’s it — That’s how to make an author website for your books, articles, and stories.
It may seem daunting at first, but with the help of Bluehost and WordPress, you don’t need to start from scratch. There are guides, as well as a video tutorial available. Not to mention a beginner-friendly interface that is very intuitive.
So what are you waiting for?
Now that you know how to create an author website, go ahead and make one for yourself.