For new authors, having a website is two prong. Some publishers encourage it, while most of them don't, as they believe the effort to build and maintain a website is not worth the return on investment. However, if you intend to build a writing career, it will behoove you to have a website of some sort. A website not only allows you to provide your audience with streamlined information about yourself, it also allows you to connect and grow your audience.
Below, I will give you a few pointers to consider while embarking on your digital strategy. This is by no way the full story, but it will lead you to success in the digital world. In future posts, I will tackle the author and the digital age in bite size posts, as one post could never do justice on a medium that is constantly evolving.
If you're an unpublished author working towards getting published, a blog is the best way to start as there are many free platforms available to get started in less than 24-hours. The site configuration of a blog is known as a CMS (Content Management System), a software application that is used to create and manage digital content. The most well known applications are Wordpress, Blogger, Drupal, and Joomla. The easiest to configure, with the most flexibility is Wordpress. As I have experience with Wordpress, my example will be on the use of Wordpress.
First things first, you will need to decide on what your URL (the address of a web page) will be. Often times, authors buy the URL for the book title they are about to publish, which is a good idea. However, if you intend to publish multiple books, purchasing your name for your URL is a better decision. You can always route your book titles to your main domain name, where all your books will be listed.
All web-host companies include Wordpress in their offerings, therefore no programming skills is required to configure your domain to a Wordpress website. Once you have chosen a template design, you would activate it with your web host. There are many solutions out there - ideally look for a web host that provides unlimited website space and email storage, and the ability to have your other domain names routed to your main website (parked domain names).
Now, you've got a website, what do you do? Think about your brand, and how you would like to be seen in the world. Your website should have a few static pages that provide information about yourself and what you do. Here would be a good time to think about what your bio would say. There should be a place on your site where your visitors can contact you - whether you provide an email address, or embed a contact form. And if you wish to start a newsletter or simply collect email addresses, have a prominent place on your site for people to do so. You want to be able to inform your audience of important events or even when your book will hit the stores. So definitely think about how you can grow your email list.
In terms of content, think about the kind of books you intend to write. If you are a non-fiction author, your blog can be used as a platform to discuss topics that tie into your book. For instance, a self-help author, writing about artists achieving their true passion, could discuss different topics or even share resources, and offer inspiration for their site visitors. This can be done in ways that don't give away the content of your book, but to further your topic and position you as an authority in the field.