How to create a great author website

I’m Sarah Barrie, I’m Scottish Book Trust
Website Manager and here are some top tips for the technical side of your website. the main thing that I’d like to say is don’t
be intimidated by creating a website, it’s full of technical jargon but there is nothing
that you can’t find out about by Googling. I’m not a technical person and you don’t need
to be a technical person to make a website. Just Google anything out there. From domain
names to main servers, Google has the information you need. Consider getting a domain name for your website
if you don’t already have one. A domain name is cheap, it’s only a few pounds a year
and it looks much more professional than just sending out a sub domain for a commercial
platform. Thank about the platform that you want your
website to be on. This is a completely individual thing, it’s different for everybody. The one
thing I would say is go as simple as possible. If it’s difficult to use you won’t use it.
I would generally recommend using something like WordPress. It started as blogging software
but now is a really good content management system that works for a variety of websites. Thank about search engine optimisation. It’s
a really jargooney term but it’s a really useful thing for your website. Think about
the terms that you want to be associated with and work these terms into your copy. If you
want people to find you because you’re a Scottish author, make sure you have the phrase ‘Scottish
author’ worked into your copy. Don’t be too determined to stuff those keywords in, it’s
not good for your users and it’s not good for Google either. If you say something like
‘I’m a Scottish author, who lives in Scotland’, users are going to be confused and it’s not
good copy. At the same time, don’t think that Google will know you’re a Scottish author
if you don’t tell Google you’re a Scottish author. Finally, make sure that you experiment and
you play. Your website should not be something that is horrible, that hangs over your head
and that you don’t enjoy. Just go out there, try different things, try new things. And
spend a little time pressing those buttons that you don’t know what they do. Because
what is the worst that could happen? There is no worst thing that could happen, you cannot
delete the internet by pressing the wrong button on your website. You might delete some
copy that you’ve written so just make sure you’ve got a backup, consider creating your
copy in Word to start with and then pasting it in. Don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t
be afraid to innovate. Get something out there, see what people use and see how they use it
– and use that to determine what you do next. It’s more important to get something out there
and see what happens than it is to try and strive for the perfect product that never
actually gets shipped. Done is better than perfect. And don’t be afraid to get rid of something
if it’s not working for you. There’s no point having a blog if you don’t update a blog.
Just bin it. You don’t have to apologise, to anybody. It’s your website.

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