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Get Started With Your Own Website or Blog

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If you're serious about your career as an author, you need a website. And the sooner you get one going, the better.


The most important reason: There's a learning curve. You don't want to be scrambling to put together a site when your book releases, or when you have an agent's interest, or when someone asks why you don't have a site.

You also learn a tremendous amount about how the online world works, and what works for YOU especially in finding your audience online. (I learn something new every week!)

This is a topic I'm passionate about, so you can find a range of past blog posts at NO RULES covering multiple angles of site development and strategy. Here are some of my favorites.

Should You Hire Someone to Design Your Website?
A controversial post where I recommend that a writer in the early stages of their online presence NOT invest in a designer.

5 Things That Make Me Stop Reading Websites/Blogs
The advice here is evergreen and will always apply.

How Writers Can Start Blogging in a Meaningful Way
I offer 4 tips on approaches any writer can take.

What Should Fiction Writers Blog About?
Often when I give blogging advice, the novelists all complain, "But that's great for nonfiction writers. What about us?" This is my answer for them.

Managing Multiple Identities Online—Avoid
Tackling another big question I get frequently, about pen names and/or managing different audiences/relationships under the same site.

Probably the big question for any unpublished writer, with nothing to market & promote: What are the must-haves for my site? What should I put on it? What purpose does it serve? Here are 4 things to get you started:

  1. About/bio page. Impress and charm people with your writing skills here. It's an opportunity to show off.
  2. Hub for ALL online activity. Wherever you're active online, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, etc, your homepage should be the central hub where people can see EVERYTHING you're active in, and connect with you wherever they want.
  3. Newsletter sign-up. I've covered this here and here.
  4. Content. This might take the form of a blog. Or it could be a podcast or video blog or something else entirely. If you're not sure what your "content" looks like, check this post for ideas.

Other questions I frequently hear:

  • How do you make sure your website looks professional to people in the publishing industry?
  • How do you know whether to gear it toward agents, publishers, or readers?
  • What are the best (or easiest!) tools to use?
  • Who should I hire to help me? Can I do it on my own?

If you read every post on the topic at NO RULES, you'll get a good idea what all the answers are. Or, if you want a full, interactive course on the subject, then all these questions and more will be answered in a live class I'm teaching tomorrow: "The 5 Essential Components of a Strong Author Website."

The webinar is happening at 1 p.m. EST, and lasts 75 minutes. Keep in mind that you do not have to make the live webinar to get the event. You can see the recorded webinar online and communicate questions to me afterward. Sign up here!

What you'll learn

  • If you don't have a site: How to get started easily, efficiently, and for very little cost
  • If you do have a site: What elements you need to evaluate and possibly revise on a monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual basis
  • When you should hire a professional designer or site developer, and how much you can expect to spend
  • The secrets of a strong "about" (or bio) page
  • What kind of information to make available for your books—or what to say if you're unpublished
  • How and when to integrate social media onto your site
  • How and when to include an e-mail newsletter sign up
  • How and when to integrate a blog onto your site
  • What website plug-ins or features are most effective and helpful
  • How to start using Google Analytics, a critical tool for helping you understand how people find and use your site

Hope to see you there! More info and sign up here.

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.