There’s quite a few tips on this blog from optimising your author website, blogging for authors and author platform building tips.
But first, finish reading this article because what you’ll find is that I often refer to a website and blogging framework which I whole heartily believe is THE best website and blogging framework for writers and authors to use.
Where I started out
My blogging efforts first started ten years ago on the early version of what is today known as ‘blogger’. It was good at the time, I didn’t know any better and it opened my eyes to the new online blogging world. It wasn’t long before the limitations became apparent and my ideas became too big for the platform’s available features.
From this point on, I did a lot of research into blogging, looking into other options such as Typepad, Joomla and WordPress.com, the latter is not to be confused with WordPress.org.
In the last 5 years I saw the benefits of WordPress.org over all the other alternatives and it was a no-brainer.
Today, I use the core WordPress.org framework to run all my websites, including Book Cover Cafe. All the author websites we build for clients are on a premium WordPress framework with our own customisations. It’s what I recommend to any writer and author looking to create their author brand and business ‘home base’.
And here’s why.
First, I’ll define what’s different between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com: A free blogging platform. Unfortunately the idea it’s free is the only factor on why writers and authors use it with no further research to determine if it’s the right choice for them. For the most part, the lack of long term planning, goals and purpose also plays a part of why writers and authors begin using this platform.
Many of the tips and best practices I mention on this blog can’t be implemented with WordPress.com because of its limitations with expansion, flexibility and customisation. Some may argue that it’s a good option for those starting out. I understand this notion but it’s also flawed, because any SEO (Google juice) you build up, including all those links from people connecting with you can be lost when making the transition to WordPress.org down the track. This is another reason why I say to start with WordPress.org from the start to avoid frustration later.
WordPress.org: This software is also free to use, but requires the additional step of purchasing hosting and your domain name. Today these aspects are so affordable it shouldn’t be a deal breaker, as you can get a hosting account and domain name for as little as $5 bucks a month! The price of one cup of coffee.
This option allows you the flexibility and customisation that WordPress.com doesn’t. Your credibility is also elevated significantly, because you’ll have a proper domain name like, ‘YourName.com’ and email address. With WordPress.com, you’ll have a domain name like ‘YourName.Wordpress.com’. This makes a big difference with creating that first impression.
Why you should use WordPress for your author website
1. So easy to use
You don’t have to worry about ongoing developer fees. WordPress makes it so easy to update.
- Blog Posts: Just click the ‘new post’ button and start writing. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, then you’ll be all set. It’s easy to add your blog post meta data for Google SEO benefits, add to categories with a click and schedule your blog article to go live whenever you like.
- Website Pages: Just add a new page with one click just like a blog post. All the page meta data and page features are practically the same as creating a blog post.
- Add Media: This includes uploading images, photos, videos and audio, all with the click of a couple of buttons. While writing a blog article or page, you can simply click your cursor when you want an image to appear, click the insert image button and bingo.
- Sidebars: Easily add ‘buy book’ badges and buttons to your sidebar, so you have a consistent ‘call-to-action’ and reminder about your books.
I admit, I get a better impression of an author who has a proper domain name, as it signals to me they take their writing and platform building seriously. It’s more than just a “nice idea” or “light hobby” to them. This increased credibility and perception is huge when seeking the attention of the media, agents, reviewers and yes, even readers. Underestimating the power of credibility will be detrimental to your author platform building efforts.
3. Flexible and Expandable
The beauty about WordPress is that is that your author website will grow as you do. You might start off fairly simply at first, but then over time you may want to add:
- email list forms
- a shopping cart
- custom contact forms
- additional social media integration
- a podcast
- galleries and portfolios
- change the look; completely change the theme design of your author website, while keeping all your posts and pages intact.
Plugins: these allow you to add additional functionality to your website in a flash and is a big differentiation from WordPress.com. There’s a huge community of developers out there building both free and premium plugins to take your website to the next level.
4. Continually Updated and Improved
Because WordPress is opensource software, this means it’s constantly being updated free of charge. You simply click the ‘update’ button in your dashboard. The original developers continually strive to improve the features and security of WordPress, while the huge community of users and developers contribute their own unique features and additions available at the global WordPress depository.
This is why I love WordPress and why you should use it to power your author website. It simply makes the creation and ongoing blogging and platform building efforts fun and rewarding.
For more author website tips click here.
Be the captain of your own ship.