Let’s be honest, there are some pretty sad looking author blogs/sites out there. They’re the kind that are obviously constructed using a barely-altered template with unused widgets hanging around, a lousy colour palate, and an illogical flow of information.
Most times, I don’t think it’s the author’s fault. A badly laid out blog is usually the result of technical ignorance rather than bad decision making. Not everyone knows how to set up or deactivate widgets. Not everyone knows how to change a template or colour palate. These mistakes are forgivable, but I still don’t feel very warmly toward these sites and the people they represent. It assumes that your content is good enough to overcome poor presentation. It’s probably not.
If you’re using a free service like WordPress or Blogger, do not accept the template you have when you first sign up. These templates have One-Size-Fits-All syndrome, and therefore don’t fit anybody’s needs perfectly. Look through the theme catalogue from your provider and select a template that works for you.
Do you photoblog? Find a template that will best showcase your images.
Is your book or platform focused on nature? Find a template that’s in line with that theme.
Do you want a clean look without many graphics or sidebar widgets? Find one that suits your style.
After you set up your blog and template, get rid of any sidebar widgets you don’t intend to use. These often include calendars, category lists, meta data, etc. Not having them on your fledgling blog looks better than having an unused widget hanging around — it’s like printing an unfinished illustration in a picture book.
When it comes time to set up your pages, look at the blogs and sites of authors you admire or who you think have nice websites.
How are their bios presented?
Do they have dropdown menus or many individual pages on their navigation bar?
Is the site cluttered, or organized for easy content access?
Take your cues from the people who have succeeded in your genre.
Brand your blog or site. This means using an image easily associated with your product (such as its cover art), and making it a visual focal point of your website. If you write several types of books or perhaps a series, consider branding specific pages of your site only.
Monetize. I don’t mean that you should sign up for Google AdSense (though it might make you a bit of money). In two years of blogging I’ve made less than $5 off that program, but many people have done better than that. Just don’t bank on it. By monazite I mean list with Amazon Affiliates, Book Depository Affiliates, and whoever else sells your book. Put affiliate links on your site so that whenever someone clicks, you not only get the royalty rate from that sale, you also get a few cents commission.
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