How To Create An Author Website
So you are wondering how to create an author website? Look no further! No technical experience needed :).
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the resources listed below and recommend them because they are from companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below!
1. Creating A Domain Name And Getting Website Hosting
Bluehost – Bluehost is what I use for hosting my site. They give a real quick and easy way to get set up and running with your site on WordPress. Bluehost has free domain name registration, have amazing customer service (24/7 on live chat!), is super affordable and my #1 recommendation.
Click HERE to go directly to Bluehost (this link will open in a new window so you can reference this step-by-step guide as you work).
Once the page opens, click the green Get Started Now button.
By the way, the images you see here may vary slightly from the ones you see on your screen. This is because Bluehost never stops making site improvements. Don’t worry, the general process is the same.
Choose the plan you’d like to start with. If you only are getting one site, or even if you just want to start out, I would say to get the Basic plan. It is the cheapest, gives you more than enough features, and you can always upgrade later on. For my own personal experience, I had the Basic Plan when starting out and upgraded after 5 months. Note that all plans come with one free domain (for one year only) which is good. I’ll talk about choosing a domain in a minute.
Click one of the green “select” buttons to move to the next step.
This is the easy part. What do you want your domain name to be? Mine is, as you already can see, roxysinclaire.com. If yours is taken, you can do what I have seen many authors do, which is add the word “author” at the beginning or end. Here is an example: if JaneJohnson.com is taken, try JaneJohnsonAuthor.com or AuthorJaneJohnson.com. If you already have a domain name, then just enter it in the spot.
On the next page, enter your account info. Make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent.
Under Package Information select your Account Plan. Choose a package based on how far in advance you want to pay. Please note, Bluehost bills one, two or three years at a time, but as you can see, it works out to a very reasonable monthly amount. Not bad for your own blog or website, right?
In terms of the extras that you see to add-on, the only one I ever select is Domain Privacy Protection. It keeps all your personal information private. If you’re using your personal contact info (home address, phone, etc.) to register your domain, I highly recommend domain privacy.
Note: the Domain Privacy option only shows up if you registered a new domain above. It will not show up if you used a transfer domain.
The total is the amount you’ll pay today. You won’t have to pay again for 12, 24 or 36 months, depending on the account plan you chose.
On the next page, enter your billing information, then confirm that you have read the fine print, and then click Submit.
I don’t do any upgrades so you feel free to skip or select if you want them.
Check your email for the login information for the Bluehost cpanel (control panel) login. Save it for future reference.
2. Installing WordPress
Go back to Bluehost and click the login button in the top right corner of your screen. (Alternatively, you can use the link to your cpanel contained in the welcome email you received above.)
Enter your cpanel login info from the welcome email. Select the “hosting” tab if it’s not selected already.
Once logged into your cpanel, click the Install WordPress icon under Website Builders.
Next you’ll get a window that looks something like this. Click the Install button (it may say “Start”) to begin the WordPress installation process.
Choose your domain from the dropdown menu if it’s not already chosen for you. Leave the directory field blank unless you have a good reason to create a subfolder, which is unlikely if you are just starting. Click Check Domain.
Check the box next to Show advanced options. Enter your Site Name or Title (e.g. Roxy Sinclaire, Mike Goodman’s Author Page, etc.). This is different than your domain which ends in .com or something similar.
Choose an Admin Username (do not use “admin” as your username). Choose a password. These will be what you use to login to WordPress once it’s installed.
Enter your email address (again, all site information will be sent here). Read and agree to the terms. Click the Install Now button.
After WordPress has been installed, you should see the “Status: success” indication. Take note of the information to access your new WordPress site. This information will also be sent to you via email.
At this point, you will have received two welcome emails. The first is the login info for your Bluehost hosting account. The second is the login info for your WordPress account. Keep both, although from this point forward, you’ll be using your WordPress login information much more frequently.
If you registered a new domain…
You (or anyone) can now type your domain into a browser and your WordPress site will appear.
Clicking on the Site URL link in your WordPress welcome email will take you to your brand new, live website.
Clicking on the Login URL link will take you to the WordPress login page where you can enter your WordPress username & password and get into the back end of your WordPress site. This is where you will write your posts.
If you used an existing domain in Step 4…
Your existing domain will not display your new site until you change your name servers wherever your domain is currently registered. Changing your name servers points your domain to this new site.
IMPORTANT! As soon as you change your name servers, your domain will bring visitors to this new site. Therefore, if you are currently using your domain on another site, do not change your name servers until your new site is set up and ready to go. In the meantime, you can still access your new WordPress blog via a temporary URL. You may have received one in your welcome email from Bluehost. If you didn’t, simply call them and let them know you need a temporary URL for your new site.
To change the name servers where your domain is currently registered, first note your new Bluehost name server information:
Next, go to the registrar where your existing domain is currently registered (Namecheap, etc.). You will need to enter the above information in the appropriate place. This varies among registrars so I recommend you call them if it’s not clear.
Whether you registered a new domain or transferred an existing one, you will know you have been successful if you can type your domain into any browser and your site appears.
3. Getting A Theme To Make Your Site Look Great!
I have been using the Preface theme that can be found HERE. I have found it to be a great theme for authors. This is a paid one, but I think it is fully worth it. If you look at my site, you can make all those customizations, and even MORE, without ANY technical knowledge or background! It is all from clicks, and drag and drop type of system. Very easy to use. You can change colors and such as well! Highly recommended. If you want a free theme, there are many you can search once you login to your website’s WordPress admin panel.
Hope this has been helpful! Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions!