The rise of self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has made it easier than ever for authors to release their books. However, with more authors vying for book sales, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. One way to increase exposure and connect with potential readers is to create your own author website. This step-by-step guide will show you how simple it is to build a platform on WordPress to showcase your books, earn extra affiliate income, and attract new readers through blogging.
Step #1: Choose Your Platform
We recommend using self-hosted WordPress for its relative ease of use and high level of flexibility. For hosting your site, a provider such as Bluehost is an inexpensive option with pricing tiers that cater to all manner of users. To set up your website, simply choose a Bluehost pricing option to suit your needs, then install WordPress through the one-click option found in your account.
Step #2: Customize Your Site’s Design and Functionality
Once you have WordPress installed, it’s time to start customizing your site. Choose a WordPress theme that fits your needs. You’ll be spoilt for choice, as there are all manner of free and premium WordPress themes available. Once you’ve chosen your theme, you can customize it using the options found within your theme’s settings. In addition, you’ll want to install some add-ons called plugins to enhance WordPress’ core functionality. For example, you could display multiple book covers on your homepage using the Slider WD plugin, or showcase your book’s reviews with a plugin such as Good Reviews for WordPress.
Step #3: Create and Publish Your Key Pages
The most important pages on your website should be your About and Books pages – so take the time to craft your bio and showcase your book covers and descriptions. Also consider adding a contact form via a plugin such as Contact Form 7. Once you’re ready, you’ll want to either save or publish your pages. In addition, don’t forget to add social sharing buttons to these pages so that fans can share them with others.
Step #4: Add Great Content
One way to attract readers is to update your website with fresh content in the form of a blog or newsfeed. It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly, but providing some occasional updates can keep your existing visitors coming back, and also attract new ones. To create an even closer connection with your readers, consider setting up a newsletter in order to email subscribers with news about releases, signings, and promotions.
Step #5: Drive Traffic
There are many ways of driving traffic to your website, including social media, guest posts, and search engine optimization (SEO). Once you’ve exhausted all of your options for earning traffic, check out our article with more tips to drive traffic to your WordPress site.
Step #6: Monetize Your Site
Affiliate marketing can easily be incorporated into your monetization strategy and can become very profitable – particularly if you achieve high levels of traffic. One of the most obvious affiliate partnerships for authors is Amazon Associates. As you search, you may also find other affiliate programs that are relevant to your website’s content.
Using these six steps, you can create an author website that connects you with readers, helps you sell more books, and offers you the opportunity to earn extra affiliate income.