I’ve been an author website designer for many years, so I’ve worked with clients who have started their website projects at all stages related to the release of their book(s). I’ve created author websites with a 1+ year lead time, most commonly with a 3-6 month lead time, some at the last minute (if my schedule allows), and even some for authors who realize after their book’s release that their website isn’t working as-is and they need something new.
As DIY website builders (Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, etc..) become easier to use, more comprehensive, and approachable, I am increasingly approached by authors who say something like, “I built my current site myself but it isn’t what I was hoping for and I want something better for the release of my book.”
Working with these folks means that they’ve already identified pain points regarding their choice of hosting platform, website builder, theme, or even content creation, but they’re looking for someone to bring it all together and guide them towards a successful comprehensive solution. Sometimes the first iteration of their site that they’ve built themselves has served them well for a while, but more often than not they find themselves disappointed before they’ve even launched. While the promises of website builders is amazing, using them still means you have to think critically about what to include, how it should look (and why), and how to bring it all together. You might even have copied another website that you like using the same website builder, but if their site works really well for their brand, but not yours, it’s not going to do the job you want it to.
When you hire an author website designer you can find folks with the following skills:
- Creative content strategy
- Branding and graphic design
- Coding and problem solving
- Web design
- Website maintenance
Maybe you need all of those skills, but maybe you don’t. Think about what it is that isn’t working for you, and look for someone with examples of that kind of work that you really love on the platform that you want to use. For example, you might want someone who will just take care of everything for you, or maybe you want someone you can work collaboratively with, or perhaps someone who can jump in and make things more beautiful is what you really want. Regardless, make sure the candidates you talk with not only offer the skills and process you need, and on the platform that you want, but is also someone you trust and can easily talk with.
And the best time to bring in help is the first moment you identify that you’re in over your head. Nothing is to be gained by waiting — in fact, waiting means that the pool of people available to work with you will be smaller because of a condensed timeline. Keep in mind that most folks who are good at their jobs often book out way in advance. So as soon as you get that gut feeling that it isn’t going to work out doing it yourself, or using your cousin who knows how to use WordPress, start looking for folks who would be a good fit for what you need.
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If you’re interested in diving into more details about this topic (and many others!), check out my Author Website Planning Kit which details out everything you need to know to build your own author website.
This document consolidates, updates, and fleshes out my most popular and helpful articles written for authors and writers into a single, affordable resource. If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, but aren’t sure where to start, what platform to use, and what key decisions you’ll face, this planning kit is for you.