If you read my post on What Do I Need to Know to Start Blogging, you learned that you need to create what I call in my Expanding Your Author Platform workshop The Basic Four.
This is the starting block for all writers, bloggers and authors in building your platform. Your platform consists of the ways in which you are able to reach and connect with your readers/customers.
The Basic Four Things We Need to Have
- Website (aka your home base)
- 1-2 Social Media Accounts (I recommend Facebook and Pinterest. Check those links for examples of what they look like.)
- Subscriber List (start this right away)
- Professional Email
Today we will start with what to include on your website, at the end there will be links to click on and learn about the other 3 musts for writers and bloggers.
#1 A Website
I want you to think of your website as your home base, because it is your home base.
Everything that you do professionally and socially can and should link back to your website.
When someone searches for or comes to your website they should be able to click forward to any aspect of your platform.
Your website should be listed on every single one of your social media accounts, be in the signature of your emails, be on your business card, be included in your about me section in your books/eBooks/whatever you create.
The topic of websites is huge and you can research on your own, based on your own skill level, the various components of creating a website and all the how to.
Things to Think About
I am going cover a few simple things that pertain to being an author, writer and blogger.
You do not need a big, expensive fancy website to thrive.
Keep it clean and keep it simple.
You want your website to be easy for viewers of all backgrounds to be able to find what they are looking for.
Your website does not need a lot of frills.
The first thing to think about with a website is your domain name. Most authors use their name/pen name which makes it easy to google them. If you have a blog, business, or brand you can also use those for your domain.
Do not use your book title!
Your domain name needs to be something that allows you to grow and create lots of stuff under the name.
Mine is my brand because it is literally the core of everything else I do and it was a decision I thought long and hard about before choosing it over my name.
Your About Me Page
This is where people learn about who you are and this is one of the places to really let your authenticity come through and be visible for readers.
This is where you mention your 7 dogs and pet iguana. This is where you say I live in the mountains or on a sunny beach.
*Don’t share your personal information like your address, city or phone #. Don’t mention family names unless they’ve given you permission and if blog about your kids keep their identities safe!
This is where you mention being on the NYT BS list or working with so and so publisher or company and briefly talk about some of your professional achievements.
This is where you blend a taste of your personal life with your professional side.
Include a nice or fun photo. If you are a frilly person, bedazzle the heck out of it.
How Can Readers Reach You?
Somewhere on your about page needs to be a contact me here link either to your actual contact me here page or your professional email.
If you create an actual Contact Me Here page, you can also include your business mailing address, your agent if that is how you prefer to be contacted, your email or even a drop me a message on my FB page link.
If you want professionals to work with you they need to be able to contact you!!!
You can make this page its own tab or add it as a drop-down from your about me tab in your home page menu.
Just be sure it is VERY easy for people to figure out where you contact info is and that it works. Too many professionals don’t do this and they miss out on awesome opportunities. Allow those opportunities to reach you!
The Blog Itself
If you do decide to have a blog, you need a blog landing page, which is where people can go to find a list of categories that you blog about.
You can also do a drop-down menu from the blog tab too with all your categories.
Some bloggers just have a running list of their blog posts with the most recent date on top and a brief summary of what the post is about. Set it up however you want it.
The thing about having a blog is you can literally link it to everything else!
If you don’t know what to blog about – make little articles about what your books are on. Take a chapter, break it down into five different articles. This gives readers a taste of your work. The blogging world is big and is a great place to connect with other writers, find resources for learning how to do all this stuff and can bring a lot of readers into your realm.
The next thing you need on your website, obviously as authors, is a page with your books available. If you only have one book just start with one Books page. If you have more than one book, create a main books tab and page, which each of your books on it.
Just have the cover, a little blurb and then both a buy now link and a link to your page on that particular book where readers can learn all about the book, including any related articles/videos and products like eBooks/audiobooks or stuff you’ve created in regards to that book. Also, be sure you have buy now button or link to where readers can purchase it.
The PR Media Kit Page
This coincides a little with your contact me info especially if you are doing well and do utilize an agent/editor/assistant/publisher.
*For those who only blog, your media kit is what brands will look at in considering whether or not they want to work with you.
You want to include that contact info on your PR page too. Your media kit is where other professionals can see what services you offer.
If you get a lot of traffic you can rent out ad space on your website to other companies and events. If you do other writing, website and social media, blogging related services you can list them on your media kit page along with pricing and package info, links to additional information about these services and contact me here links.
You also need a disclosure on your site and your PR page is a great place for it. Your disclosure doesn’t have to be fancy but it is important to have and is often required if you do any advertising especially with Google and Amazon.
On your PR page, you can also list the resources you use, which if you have affiliates with your resources you can also get paid when people click your link and make a purchase. Many people will include who their host provider is, where they get their social images from and so on.
Click here to see my Resources page for an example.
Extending Your Platform
Next up is where your extended platform arrives on your website.
The extra tabs on your home page menu could include:
- Speaking events
- Online courses
- Other products and services you have available.
This is where you can hook in first time visitors to your site.
Fans could get lost in your site and spend hours thoroughly enjoying everything you’ve got for them to read, watch, listen to and learn from.
Those potential professionals that you could and want to collaborate with – man does it make a huge difference if they in their busy day take two seconds to visit your home page and see all these other things you do beside just writing books and/or blogging. THEY might end up getting intrigued and spending hours going through everything you offer!
So, these are the must haves for your website. Start with these aspects and once you have them up and looking decent then add whatever else you’d like to you.
Remember to keep your website in tune with your personality, style and vision for what you are wanting to create.
Coming up next is #2 of the Four Basics for Writers: Social Media
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