Create a free WordPress website.
Create a free WordPress website. First let’s look at established websites. A website — especially an online store — must have high traffic to succeed and attract visitors who buy books or any other products or services offered. The best situation is to have an established website with followers. Book sales will happen, but you have earned it because you have likely been building your site and your following for some time.
It is especially important to start a website before you write a book. The goal is to build traffic and an email list. Existing websites already have content that many people search for if they have a niche and good SEO. The site may work well organically with somewhat unique keywords that are not too obscure.
Let us assume that you self-published a cookbook. There are many cookbooks for sale in the marketplace, so you have competition. Drill down as far as you can, writing posts with keywords and longtail keywords. Search competitors’ sites for the keywords that they are using.
An existing website does not guarantee the needed traffic to sell books. Even if you have a great website and solid SEO, you may still need to spend money on advertising.
Be sure to send existing or prospective customers an email to sign up. They may be extremely interested in news about your book launch. Send them emails about any other books you publish, or products and services that you may offer now or in the future.
Connect with visitors
A website can instead be a place where buyers come to learn more about your product or service. They need to be directed to the site especially when a search engine does not bring the desired results.
However you use your website, it is very important to connect with the people who may be interested in your book(s) if you are an author or self-publisher. It is equally important if you are a small publisher. Keep in touch with your email list to announce the book launch, a new book review, or insights on something that you write about or photograph. Promote a new post or page. Offer information, A second printing is news, especially if you have just penned a new title. Do you have any other products on your website to promote?
Book retail pricing
Charge the full retail price for your book on your website. However, realize that while you have buyers who come to your website, most of them just want more information. Friends may buy at the retail price on your site. But the average buyer will head over to Amazon to find a lower price.
We advise self-publishers to print their books with our company because Star Print Brokers prints and binds the best books anywhere.
Sell your books on Amazon because they have more traffic than any other website. Get exposure to the largest audience of book buyers. Use their “Look Inside” add on. Target other places for potential book sales, like groups you belong to, Barnes & Noble, or brick and mortar bookstores.
There are many paths to follow when creating a website. It would be overwhelming to discuss all the possibilities here, but we can give you an overview and provide information about what we have learned in more than 20 years of building and maintaining our websites.
I built the Star Print Brokers website in November 1998 with an early sitebuilder. I made the switch from that sitebuilder to WordPress in 2010. We continue to use WordPress today.
There have been many changes since then. I am a fan of WordPress, owning your own domain, using Kadence as a framework, and a good child theme that works with Kadence, or a Kadence child theme. Whenever I built a site using WordPress but not using a framework, I ran into security concerns, or the theme would just break. That is just my experience. Your experience may be different.
Still Free, or a very minimal cost
Yes, you can use WordPress.org CMS (free) with your domain (slight cost), and use free child themes too. There are free plugins at https://WordPress.org/plugins/ too. So it is possible to have a website that is a very minimal cost. Some people really like Wix as a sitebuilder too.
WORDPRESS.COM VERSUS WORDPRESS.ORG
WordPress.com is okay for small blogs, but we do not recommend it for a business website. WordPress.org is where you can get WordPress and plugins. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) is in use by 42.9 percent of all websites at this writing.
Road Map to building a WordPress website
Most hosting companies break down their WordPress website hosting options into several different plans, but do use a host that uses WordPress. If you want a simple 1- to 3-page site, start with shared hosting. You can always upgrade. We use a managed hosting business plan with SiteGround. A number of years ago we switched from another host and have no complaints. The customer service is very good. Three other popular hosts for WordPress websites are WP Engine, Bluehost and DreamHost.
If a hosting company seems obscure or does not rank highly when you do a search, it may be that an entrepreneur is reselling a major host’s services. That might be good if the host provides other services that you find helpful. Start by investigating the top hosting companies.
Incidentally, you can always migrate a WordPress website to another host. Sometimes there is a fee. There are plugins to migrate websites, so try doing it yourself. See https://WordPress.org/plugins. Always keep your site backed up. General hosting offerings:
Shared self-hosted: Inexpensive. Great for blogs and small websites.
Managed hosting: The cost might be higher but needed for bigger sites.
Cloud hosted: From $80 to $250 or more, for high-performing sites.
WordPress can be installed from your hosting panel, after you sign up for hosting. Make sure an SSL certificate is enabled. Select it as an option or contact support. Do not use “admin” for a user name. Use strong user names and passwords.
Whatever theme you choose, the installation of your child theme and required plugins will be covered in your host’s set-up instructions. In fact, all set-ups to get your site running should be covered.
There are places where you can get a domain name for free. To see availability of domain names go to a site like GoDaddy.com to see availability. The extension should be .com. Avoid hyphenated domain names or other extensions. Try to avoid domain names that are too long. A business site
should have it’s own domain. Frankly, we named our company in 1999, but now I would rather have something shorter that StarPrintBrokers.com.
I tried to check domain availability at SiteGround’s domain names link. Instead of getting results, they wanted me to select a “New Hosting Plan.” The $6.99 Start Up plan will be fine for building a site. You can then select the domain to buy at SiteGround or transfer a domain name. Check availability at another site like GoDaddy. Then buy the domain as your WordPress host.
GENESIS, and now Kadence WP FRAMEWORK
When I switched to WordPress in 2010, I still found problems with the website theme. I tried different themes which always seemed to break the site. A couple of years ago, I tried a WordPress theme that was not compatible with Genesis Framework. The Genesis Framework provides a solid foundation and is search engine optimized. Use Genesis-friendly child themes.
After finishing my book, I discovered KadenceWP.com, because my favorite child theme designer moved to Kadence and is no longer creating child theme for Kadence. I found Kadence to have a bit of a learning curve, but it is o much more versatile, and I am a big fan. I use few plug-ins at https://WordPress.org/plugins/ because Kadence has so much to offer.
I suggest specifically looking for child themes that are for Kadence Framework. The theme we currently use on StarPrintBrokers.com is “Refined Pro,” by Restored316, https://restored316designs.com/start-here/. A lot depends on the instructions for the set-up of a child theme, and customer service. Restored 316 is professional and their instructions are easy to follow. Their support is wonderful. Restored316 has a Facebook community page where you may find many answers to theme questions.
There are several child themes I encourage authors to use for selling books. Almost all the themes can be modified for use by self-publishers or small publishers. Instructions to set up your child theme will guide you through installation. However, any child theme can be modified.
- Author Pro Theme Package by StudioPress
- Navigation Pro by StudioPress
- Authority Pro Theme Package by StudioPress
- Scribe by Restored316
WORDPRESS PLUGINS FOR AUTHORS
There are specific WordPress plugins for authors and publishers.
- Required plugins are suggested in set-up instructions for your chosen child theme when using a Restored316 child theme.
- A plugin that is compatible with any Genesis Child Theme is Genesis Author Pro. It is free at WordPress.org. It creates a library which allows you to add books to your site.
- If you opt for a WordPress site and are selling one book, you need to use one of the following plugins available on WordPress.org/plugins:
- WooCommerce to sell digital and physical books
- Easy Digital Downloads for selling digital books
When building a brand, establish the CMYK process color or PMS ink colors first. Work backwards to RGB for the website. That is because CMYK has a more limited color array than RGB. If you establish CMYK, it is easier to match them to RGB equivalents. See Chapter 2, Planning a Book.
I choose process color Pantone inks first from the Pantone Color Bridge Coated guide, and then use the RGB equivalent. HTML, CMYK, Spot, as well as RGB are on the guide as well.