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Websites for Authors


This is a duplicate post — same as I posted earlier over at RWKF

I’m creating a presentation for my local RWA on website design for authors, and I could use your input.

My life has been steeped in design from art in high school to a design major in college and a career as a designer after college before changing careers to the medical field. Then when I needed to indulge my artsy side once again, I trained in website design.

I worked as a web developer for four years with large corporations and many years, before and after, independently creating more freestyle sites for various companies and individuals.
So, while designing and implementing website style and content comes naturally to me, when I sit down to define the steps of the process so that someone without a technical background can grasp the big picture, I feel like I’ve slipped on a straight jacket.
Creating an author website is multi-faced, far more complex than creating a business website because while you’re selling a product–your book–you’re also communicating your personality, your genre, your brand. And I’m struggling to get that big picture and all there is to consider into a helpful snapshot for a 90 minute workshop.
Since those of you who visit here are web-savvy and so many of your either have your own website or blog, I’d love to get your input. If you can answer any of the questions I’ve listed, I’d appreciate it and will weave your information into my presentation. Once completed, I’ll also post the presentation on my website for all to access.
What are some big DOs for an author website?
What are some big DON’Ts for an author website?
How did you create your website (yourself or hired help)?
If yourself, what program did you use and how did you learn it?
If you hired out, what service/company did you use?
If you hired out, what DOs and DON’Ts can you offer regarding the process?
Do you think agents/editors look at author’s websites? Can you give examples?
Which author websites do you love? What do you love about them?
Please feel free to offer whatever other information, thoughts, opinions, examples you’d like on the subject.
I’ll be adding links to some of my favorite sites (over at RWKF) and explaining why I feel they are effective in the comments section as well — so check back for more info.
Thanks for your help!