$30 off During Our Annual Pro Sale. View details »

WordPress for Authors

Betsy Cohen
January 19, 2013

WordPress for Authors

WordPress for Authors, presented at WordCamp Phoenix 2013 by Betsy Cohen, covers the process of Today we’re going to cover the process of designing, creating and using a WordPress website to establish an author as a professional with his or her own unique brand.

Betsy Cohen

January 19, 2013

More Decks by Betsy Cohen

Other Decks in Design


  1. WORDPRESS FOR AUTHORS Betsy Cohen WordCamp Phoenix 2013 twitter: @betsela

    www: positiveelement.com
  2. “History will be kind to me for I intend to

    write it.” ~ Winston Churchill
  3. None
  4. A good author web site establishes your credibility and your

    personal author brand.
  5. A bad author web site could be worse than no

    website at all.
  6. Alignment, padding, font, and color contribute to an impression on

    quality and professionalism, or lack thereof.
  7. “Just as people judge a book by its cover, they

    will judge your work by your website.” ~ Unknown (but wise) web marketer
  8. WordPress for Authors: Overview 1. Design • For your goals

    • For your audience • For yourself 3. Utilize • Update • Interact • Build Author Platform 2. Build • Setup • Content • Customize 4. Q&A
  9. “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

  10. 1. Design the Right Site

  11. 1.1 Determine and Prioritize Your Site’s Goals. Design your site

    to drive visitors towards your goal
  12. Common Goals • Sell Books • Establish credibility as an

    expert • Develop a loyal readership • Garner media attention
  13. Prominent “buy buttons” & book covers encourage book sales.

  14. Highlight awards and testimonials to establish credibility

  15. To develop a loyal readership, INTERACT with visitors. Prominently feature

    your email subscribe and SM links, and encourage commenting on your active blog.
  16. For media attention, my mantra is Press begets more Press.

  17. 1.2 Consider Your Site’s Audiences. Then, structure your site to

    provide easy access to what your audiences want
  18. Common Audiences • Fans, readers, potential readers • Reviewers •

    Media • Other authors
  19. Fans love connecting with their favorite authors, so give them

    ways to interact with you.
  20. Fans and reviewers want to know more about you, so

    make sure your bio is engaging and easy to find.
  21. For media, offer a Press section press mentions, press releases,

    with impressive quotes, and high & low res images
  22. Other authors want to know how you’re doing it!

  23. Home page design: notable quote, book cover(s) & buy buttons

    sell; author headshot invites you to learn about and connect with her; And belwo, recent press and blog content allow visitor to dig deeper.
  24. 1.3 Design it to Reflect Your Personality. Keep it simple,

    and focus design elements around the desired brand/image and the author’s creative preferences.
  25. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

  26. Design Tips • Intuitive • Simple, uncluttered • Personalize with

    subtle accents, color and imagery • Design around the author, not an individual book
  27. What Not To Do: Make People Think!

  28. If your website needs a user guide, you might want

    to simplify.
  29. Feels fresh and clean, thanks to healthy margins, a simple

    design, and lack of clutter.
  30. Understated: A little color goes a long way to set

    this author’s tone.
  31. Gillian Flynn uses typography, a limited color palette, and subtle

    texture to add personality.
  32. A series author, or one who writes about specific themes

    can get away with designing the site around the books.
  33. Build yourself up: Focus on you, the author, over the

    individual works.
  34. 2. Build it Right

  35. 2.1 Set Up Your Site. WordPress, hosting, domains... oh my!

  36. Domains • Buy a domain from your registrar or hosting

    company. • In most cases, author name should be primary domain name. • Book name domains can forward to the site, or to the book’s page on the site
  37. Hosting • Security is more important than ever • Best:

    Virtual Private Server, Cloud hosting or WordPress managed hosting • Inexpensive, shared hosting is risky
  38. WordPress Site Setup • Install: 5-min install or 1-click from

    hosting • Create pages and menus • Add content to pages and sidebars * • Extend with plugins & themes * * more detail on upcoming slides
  39. 2.2 Create and Organize Your Content. Keep your site’s goals

    and audience in mind at all times!
  40. Lots of content: Good for SE’s, but can be overwhelming

    for humans. • SHORT... pages, paragraphs, sentences... and don’t forget the short (small) words — unless your audience is particularly erudite • TAGS: Properly tag headings — <h1> — and subheadings — <h2>, <h3> etc. — to break up longer passages and make content accessible via text readers. • FORMAT: Add visual interest and enhance “scan-ability” with bullets, block quotes, links, and data tables whenever appropriate. • IMAGES are also great for visual interest and serve as clues to a section’s topic. Be sure to use high-quality images or your credibility will suffer. • TARGET: Focus individual page content around a single keyword phrase to enhance search engine visibility. Betsy’s Quick Tips for User- and SE-Friendly Content
  41. Content to Include: Pages • About • Book Info *

    • Media/Press • Mentions • Audio/Video • Press Kit • Appearances/Events • Blog • Contact • How you prefer to be contacted • Social Media • Other contacts for press etc. • Form to Email * more detail on upcoming slides
  42. Allie Larkin has the usual pages in her navigation menu

  43. Book Details • Book Cover • Title • Book Summary

    • Short Quotes from Reviews • Full Reviews • Excerpt • ISBN • Publisher • Reading Guide • Buy links • Share & Shelve • Other fun stuff • Book Trailer • Character profiles • Author’s bookshelf • Extra/related content
  44. Emily Giffin has a beautiful “bookshelf” page with links to

    deeper content, including summaries, excerpts, reviews & BUY.
  45. Share & Shelve for each book

  46. Peter Carey lists the books he read while writing. Interesting!

  47. And more fun stuff: Gretchen Rubin has tips and quizzes

  48. More fun: Stephenie Meyer has Playlists that inspired each book.

  49. More fun stuff: Tom Clancy has character profiles. Get to

    know Jack Ryan!
  50. • Email Subscribe Form • Social Media/Connect • Latest Blog

    Posts or Categories • Twitter Feed • Author Photo & Link to Bio • Buy & Share the Book Secondary Content in Consistent Sidebar & Footer
  51. Buy & Share the Book, plus Twitter Feed and Email

    Subscribe on every page and post
  52. Consistent footer with author bio lead-in and blog categories.

  53. 2.3 Extend Custom post types, plugins & themes make it

    better, make it yours.
  54. Manage content with Custom Post Types Custom Post Types —

    sometimes referred to as content types — simplify the addition and formatting of complex content. Common uses: • Events/appearances • Reviews • Press mentions • Books - best for prolific writers
  55. This reviews page is cleaner with pull-quotes that automatically link

    to full reviews, thanks to custom post types and custom templates.
  56. Custom Post Types are great for a consistent format across

    multiple book pages.
  57. Plugins allow you create custom post types and add specific

    fields without coding: Custom Post Types UI and Advanced Custom Fields.
  58. Books custom post type includes fields for various attributes, including

    subtitle, ISBN, excerpt, and retail & social links
  59. The WordPress Theme Ideally, it’s custom. If not, select a

    minimal theme. • Look for a plain vanilla, super-clean theme • Look for decent padding, margins and white-space • Look for readable typography, font-styles that feel right to you • Many themes allow you to customize color, header, and sometimes even layout and fonts
  60. Free theme example: Mainstream by WooThemes

  61. Premium theme example: Minimum by StudioPress

  62. Low-cost theme example Low-cost theme example: Booker by ThemesKingdom

  63. Low-cost theme example Low-cost theme example: BookPage, avail. on Themeforest

  64. Extend WordPress with Plugins • SEO • WordPress SEO by

    Yoast, unless you are using a theme framework with built-in SEO features • Caching • W3 Total Cache • SuperCache • Site and Database Backups • BackupBuddy $ • Backup to Dropbox • Simple Backup • Forms • Gravity Forms $ • Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-on • Redirection • If moving from old site • Extend Further • Slider • Editorial Calendar • Jetpack • and more!
  65. WordPress SEO from Yoast allows you to target your keywords

    with customized titles and meta tags
  66. Caching plugins speed up your site’s load time. Every millisecond

  67. Your most crucial security measure: Backup DB & all files,

    and store them somewhere else in case of malware or server failure.
  68. Gravity Forms — likely the most popular premium WP plugin,

    with tons of add-ons of its own.
  69. Redirection: If you’re moving from an old site, redirect old

  70. Sliders — lots to choose from; Many themes come with

    a slider pre- loaded, such as the BackCountry theme from StudioPress
  71. Editorial Calendar helps you manage your blog’s schedule by dragging

    & dropping posts on a calendar
  72. Jetpack is smorgasbord of useful features and widgets: Twitter feed,

    Subscribe to Blog, Sharing, Contact Form & much more.
  73. 3. Utilize Your Site

  74. “The author is a start up. Indie and publisher-supported alike,

    authors are now wearing many hats to bring their books into the mainstream.” ~ Niya Sisk, BookDaily.com
  75. 3.1 Keep it Fresh.

  76. Old events on Upcoming Events list? #FAIL

  77. Add and Update • WordPress is a content management system,

    so manage your content! • Add new book reviews • Keep Events/appearances info up-to-date • Add new press mentions • Blog on a regular basis
  78. 3.2 Interact.

  79. “Whatever your goal, whether to sell a series to a

    major publisher or to become a successful self-published author raking in the bucks, building an author platform is indispensable in today’s writing marketplace.” ~ Toby Neal, self-published author of the Lei Crime Series and a short ebook called Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything
  80. Readers Want to Interact With You. • Who me? If

    you’re the author, then Yes, You! • Collect email addresses for a newsletter or for occasional announcements. • Stay in touch with these people! It doesn’t have to be weekly or monthly, but at least every few months when there is book news, contests or other announcements. • Encourage comments on your blog posts. • Respond to each comment personally to develop relationships. • When appropriate, follow up with these commenters via email to ask permission to add them to your email list.
  81. Toby Neal responds to almost every comment personally.

  82. 3.3 Extend your Author Platform.

  83. “If you want to be found, stand where the seeker

    seeks.” ~ Sydney Lanier, American musician and poet
  84. None
  85. Your Website is a Hub. • Cross-promote your content on

    your branded SM channels • Give back: fans love sneak previews, live chats, contests, and giveaways. • Cross promote these events to your email list and throughout your author platform • Drive traffic back to your site or increase your FB fan base • Promote your followers, fans, & colleagues when they have news worth sharing, by re-tweeting, blogging, etc. They’ll repay these favors!
  86. Sylvia Day’s Twitter and FB match her site’s branding, her

    Amazon page has a feed of latest blog posts, and — BONUS! Pinterest boards inspired by her books!
  87. Diana Gabaldon’s“Daily Lines,” short excerpts from UPCOMING books, are cross-promoted

    on FB, Twitter and website.
  88. Phillipa Gregory has an active YouTube channel, and she interacts

    with fans does during live video chats on goodreads
  89. Toby Neal re-tweets tons of her followers posts, and promotes

    others with #WW (Writer Wednesday) and #FF (Follow Friday)
  90. “My test of a good novel is dreading to begin

    the last chapter.” ~ Thomas Helm
  91. Summary: Design • Prioritize goals for the site, and design

    accordingly • Consider your audiences and provide easy access to material for each • Keep it clean, subtly adding your personality
  92. Summary: Build • Setup self-hosted WordPress site with author’s name

    as the domain • DIY-ers: Choose a well-designed minimal theme • Customize with plugins to optimize, speed up, back up and extend your site. • Create and structure your content with your site’s goals in mind
  93. Summary: Utilize • Keep content fresh, up-to-date • Interact with

    your visitors to build relationships that you can leverage • Cross-promote your content and others’ throughout your entire author platform
  94. Resources • Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth in Just Five Years...

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/self-publishing-sees-triple-digit-growth-in-just-five-years- says-bowker-175634901.html • Essential WordPress Plugins for Book Authors http://wpmu.org/wordpress-plugins-for-writers/ • The Complete Guide to Custom Post Types http://wp.smashingmagazine.com/2012/11/08/complete-guide-custom-post-types/ • ePublishUnum.com http://www.epublishunum.com/ • Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything http://amzn.com/B007MJYJRM • The Ultimate Author Website Info-Pack (for the non-techie) http://www.30daybooks.com/free-pdfs • Amazon Author Central https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/landing?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
  95. Theme Resources WordPress.org Theme Repository — http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ WooThemes — http://www.woothemes.com/

    ThemeForest — http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress StudioPress — http://my.studiopress.com/themes/ Booker Theme from ThemesKingdom — http://www.themeskingdom.com/wordpress-themes/ booker-wordpress-theme/ Bookpage Theme on Themeforest — http://themeforest.net/item/bookpage-sell-your-books- with-style-/158139?sso?WT.ac=search_item&WT.seg_1=search_item&WT.z_author=Hein
  96. Plugin Resources WordPress SEO — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-seo/ W3 Total Cache —

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/w3-total-cache/ BackupBuddy (Premium) — http://ithemes.com/purchase/backupbuddy/ Backup to Dropbox — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-backup-to-dropbox/ Simple Backup — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-backup/ Gravity Forms (Premium)— http://www.gravityforms.com Redirection — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/redirection/ Custom Post Types UI — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/custom-post-type-ui/ Advanced Custom Fields — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/advanced-custom-fields/ Editorial Calendar — http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/editorial-calendar/
  97. “Just because you can create your own website, it doesn’t

    mean you should.” ~ Betsy Cohen (me!)
  98. betsy cohen positive element twitter . . . . .

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . @betsela PositiveElement.com Betsy@PositiveElement.com