Create a Website to Showcase Your Words
Written by
How She Does It
July 2010
Written by
How She Does It
July 2010
Do you really need a website? Warren Talbot, friend of She Writes and co-owner with wife Betsy of MWL Development, on how the WordPress platform can change your life…or at least help people find the REAL you through Google. You’ve spent weeks, months, and maybe even years penning your masterpiece. Whether you have a book deal or not, you know the bulk of promoting your work - and yourself - is up to you. So where do you start? With a website. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up. What do people find right now when they Google you? Especially when you have a common name, Googling can be a risky proposition for a writer. For instance, a Google search of my name also brings up a minister with belief far outside my own, a “sexually free” gentleman in England who like to write about his escapades, and a trucker who takes webcam images of his trips. Will any of these results help someone to decide to hire me to build a website (which, by the way, is what I do for a living, to support my wife’s and my dream to travel the world)? Probably not. So ask yourself the same question about your online presence. When people Google you, you want them to find YOU. Do you have a website – one that you control - to showcase your writing samples, promote your latest work, connect with your fans through a blog, and let readers, publishers, and agents get to know the writer in you? If you don’t yet have your own website, or if you have one that you do not control (by control I mean able to make all your own updates), here are four tips for finding a good web developer: 1. Ask around. Nothing beats a personal recommendation from someone you trust. 2. Look on industry websites to find reputable developers who will build your website. They are experienced in your industry and can more efficiently and effectively create what you need. We are honored to be on the She Writes vendor list. 3. Set out clear expectations with your developer in writing and make sure you are comfortable with the communication style. No one is a mind reader, and not being clear is the number one cause of dissatisfaction between client and developer (on both sides). 4. Once you have control of your website, be sure to use it. (Remember that a great author platform is key to becoming a best-selling author!) Betsy and I help clients build Wordpress websites, and we work exclusively with small businesses and entrepreneurs (make no mistake - as a writer you are definitely an entrepreneur) to show them how to use Wordpress websites to craft their messaging and remove the barrier to communicating directly with fans and potential buyers. Our goal is to develop your site, teach you how to update it, and then allow you to make changes as you see fit without having to hire someone again. A few examples, in case you’d like to check them out: She Writer Maria Ross, author of Branding Basics for Small Business, approached us to convert her existing website to one she could manage herself. She was tired of paying - and waiting - for someone else to make simple changes to her website. We took her existing design and built it on a Wordpress platform and then taught her how to manage it herself. Maria’s website was finished just before her book came out, and she was able to insert all the promotional material herself, adding blurbs and reviews as she got them. You can see Maria’s website (and buy her great book) at her Red-Slice website. Rebecca Rodskog is a consultant, writer, and a preferred provider for the She Writes community. In fact, you may have downloaded her recent Time Management for Mother Writers webinar here at She Writes. Rebecca is a busy, well-connected consultant who wants to get her message out quickly and stylishly, and controlling her own website allows her to do that. We took Rebecca’s existing style, updated a few things, and rebuilt it on the Wordpress platform. She can now advertise her services, promote new classes, and publish her own blog entries with a few clicks on the keyboard. No waiting time, no extra charges, and no hassle for this busy mom who has better things to do with her time. Check out her website for Rodskog Change Consulting. We're here for you, She Writers, in case you have any questions about how all this works and are simply looking for a place to start. Please contact us through She Writes at [email protected] and let me know how we can help.

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  • Miranda C. Spencer

    I'm a regular Joe-sephine who put up a WordPress website and I can vouch for how easy it is once you get acquainted. I happened to build all the pages myself and design the architecture (what links to what and so on) but had a pro do the uploading and a sit-down. What's great among many things is that most of the time when I google myself my website comes up first (and believe it or not there are other writers named Miranda Spencer out there!).

  • Chelsea Starling

    Glad I'm not the only one who sees how crucial it is to take the business side of writing seriously! WordPress platform websites are fantastic, especially for people who feel they are not super tech-savvy - changing and adding content to your WordPress site is as easy as blogging. I love helping authors take control of their web presence with personalized WordPress sites!

  • Warren Talbot

    Sorry, used the wrong login last time, now I am back to myself.

    Both .com or .org gives you the ability to present either a blog or website. However, .org gives you far more flexibility in terms of functionality, customization, and your own brand/domain. But from what you have indicated here I believe this will give you everything you want to start building.

  • Lesley-Anne Evans

    Thanks for the explanation… which is what I thought to be the case. Therefore, I should be able to 'expand' my current Wordpress platform (a blog) into a website that could incorporate my blog and other content…yes? I'll have to poke around at Wordpress and see what is possible. Thanks and I look forward to continuing our conversation here. BTW I am speaking of not .org if that makes a difference?

  • How She Does It

    Hi Lesley,
    The short answer is yes, this is the same platform. The WordPress platform gives you the flexibility where you can create a blog, a website, or both. WordPress stores all the information you put into it (i.e. blog posts, website page information, etc) in a database and then you determine how you want to present it to readers - either as website pages or a blog. With a single installation you can create a complete website with a fully integrated blog.

  • Britni Danielle

    @Lesley, no i don't think so. the wordpress platform is if you are a self-hosted blog, like mine.

  • Lesley-Anne Evans

    A point of clarification… is a wordpress platform 'blog' the same as having a wordpress platform 'website'?

  • Britni Danielle

    Thanks Warren. I've been bloggin for a while now (first blogger, then i migrated that site to the current one) and i think i am just NOW starting to focus. we'll see. the is definitely the next step.

  • Warren Talbot

    It seems you already have a great site with tons of information to be a solid foundation. I look forward to reading your new site as you launch and following along on the journey. Good luck in the process.

  • Warren Talbot

    Hi Margy,
    Absolutely correct. Most of our clients have integrated their blog into their website on on the same platform. The benefit to the user is that they can get a seamless experience. The benefit to you is a single place to log into to when you want to make updates and share your thoughts with readers.

  • Warren Talbot

    Great points. Setting up your website &/or blog well in advance of your book launch is important to help drive awareness and your SEO ranking. When you launch you want to have an established presence and give your potential readers an easy way to discover you as well as have a breadth of information on your site to read.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and experience.

  • Michael N. Marcus

    Older websites tend to accumulate more inbound links and have higher positions in the search engines than new sites.

    Therefore, it's important to get a site online as soon as your book title is certain--even if there is still a year of writing and editing ahead of you.

    On the day I approved one book for printing, it had 669 search links on Google, 66 on Bing, 79 on Yahoo, and 10 on Excite. Those links were in place, waiting for my book to exist.

    Also: you can have sites and blogs for your individual books, you as a writer, you as a publisher, you as an expert in some field, you as a person, etc. The more, the better--and make sure each of your sites and blogs links to the others, if they are relevant.

    Michael N. Marcus
    -- Independent Self-Publishers Alliance,
    -- "Become a Real Self-Publisher: Don’t be a Victim of a Vanity Press,"
    -- "How to Get the Most out of Self-Publishing Company,"
    -- "Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults),"

  • Margy Rydzynski

    Actually, I think a blog is a great way for a writer to go. If you use a platform like WordPress you can incorporate static pages along with the blog. I have several blogs, some of which are hosted by my others of which are hosted on It's a great platform for writers.

  • Britni Danielle

    Great post. I have a blog, This Side of the Wall, but have been thinking A LOT about getting a dot com based on my government name. As a writer (who hopes to keep getting freelance/more writing ops), I think it's kind of a big deal. Thanks for confirming this.