Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Tips to Building Your Author’s Website & Redesign!

Putting together a website as an author, a business or for personal reasons, can be a daunting task. I have such a hard time answering questions about brand and identity. And, at the same time, my writing crosses boundaries from the traditional mainstream m/f to same-sex f/f tales to the erotic paranormal. How can one possibly group them altogether?

When my first book Sex University: Physical Education came out in June 2010, I opened this blog as a stopping point for information. At the same time, I purchased the URL We’ve all heard horror stories about individuals trying to get their name as an address, and not having any luck. For a mere $11.99 or less (on, you can register your site and worry about putting something up later. Or, there’s always the option of pointing the address in the direction of your blog.

After spending too much time attempting to organize and create my own site, I turned to the professionals this year. My agent, Saritza Hernandez of the L. Perkins Agency, recommended Purple Ink Graphics & Design.   

Earlier this year, Tuesday at Purple Ink created the video trailer for The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome. Then with the time constraints of balancing life and writing, I never finished the design comp document for the website redesign. Well, I’m finally happy to say that the project is completed!

For direction, I requested the color purple, and also made the suggestion to the above-ground tombstones found in Louisiana as a header graphic to go along with the style of my erotic paranormal books. Didn’t she do a fabulous job?

 So here’s my five tips to keep in mind while creating a website:

1)   Cost – Certainly you need to decide what’s in your budget. If I would’ve hired someone to begin with, then I’d have saved time through the labor cost of trying to make one myself. How much is your time worth? I know just enough PhotoShop to get myself in trouble. I made my own Romance Trading Cards, and I think they turned out quite well, but the time it took to complete the project would have been better spent doing something else.

2)   Work in Progress – My mother, who is an artist, recently hired someone to create a site for her, and while it looks great she spent way more than I did. Her problem? She kept wanting bigger and better technology. She showed me a friend’s site and said that he paid $10,000 for it. What?! The thing is, it wasn’t his first site … it was probably his third or fourth, so he’d evolved to the flashiness. Right now, my site feels pretty complete. Is there more I could add, such as a page on where I’m doing guest blogs? Sure … but those can wait for the future.

3)   Design Theme – I can hear readers groaning now. Brand. Identity. Marketing. Oh, my. There are plenty of workshops offered to help the individual create their own persona. I recommend Invest some time in the design process, and the final result will come all that much better. Right now, my site definitely embraces the erotic paranormal realm.

4)   Content – You’re a writer, right? Well, you need to write the content for your site! Use a flow chart of pages. What’s going to go where, and what type of material will you need to fill those pages? At the same time, images also play a vital role. In addition to providing information on my books, I wanted a place to showcase the upcoming workshops that I’m teaching … so all that information was collected.

5)   Updates – To keep the page from looking stale, we chose to place widgets from Twitter and Goodreads on the front page. This way, at least some of the material stays fresh.  With a new pretty site, I also need to commit to updating the content and adding in new material. Now, if I only knew how to do that … help Tuesday! ;-)

So that’s my advice to creating a better website. What other tips have you found? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? And … what do you think of my new site?


  1. Yep, it's the changing thing that gets me. I designed my own site with a simple program and i keep it pretty up to date. I change it a lot. I'm having a designer create a Wordpress site for me but i find the "changing" to be very not intuitive so far. So i keep using my old site until i can figure out the new one. Your new site looks gorgeous! : )

  2. Thanks hon. Yes, I look at other people's sites and think ... well, they are not keeping it updated. It's not that hard. And then what happens? Knowing that mine was being re-done, I hadn't put the new 2012 information on it. So happy it was finished with the release of this new book.

    Make sure to save your info before transferring over. When I asked to go to the Wordpress design, the tech support person at GoDaddy said that everything on my current site would be deleted and no longer exist. I did a mental recap, gulped and told him to just "do it!"

  3. Great advice, Louisa. I'm looking into getting a pro to do a site for me sometime soon and the branding and design stuff all mystify me. I just know what I like to look at and that's about it. LOVE your new site, btw

  4. Then keep a list of things that you like, Bren, and definitely what doesn't work! And if you're looking at Wordpress, consider doing a blog there first since it can be integrated. Mine has to be linked out now ... and I don't want to transfer over, lol! (And I know you have friends to talk about branding with!) ;-)