Self-Publishing? What should you pay for your website.

We’ve already pointed out one horrendous experience had by a self-publishing author (who paid his publisher over ten-times the going rate to register his preferred domain name, and then found that they had actually registered it to themselves). Browsing about we’ve come across another mistake that authors/novelists using self-publishing companies can make.

They presume that, because their book is published to a high standard, their self-publishing company is the best place to go to when setting up a website for their book.

Any decent self-publishing company has various extra services available for their authors, ranging from business cards through to marketing, and inevitably web design. But are they taking advantage of their client’s inexperience to offer them an over-priced deal?

Let’s take a look at one of the bigger self-publishing site’s web design offer for their authors. They offer 3pages, graphic design, 2 rounds of revision, and html javascript for a whopping $600 . If you want .php or .asp you need to pay an extra $100.

That’s $600 or $700 dollars for a small static website, and one in which the design will probably feature your novel’s dust-jacket heavily, which is something you’ve already paid for elsewhere.

If you want to market your book using a website, you’re going to need a number of things that aren’t included above:

The ability to add content. Sites that regularly add/update material are – for obvious reasons – more attractive to both search engines and visitors. Having three pages online might work o.k if you’re already world famous, but if you’re a struggling author you’ll need to use your website as a tool to gain an audience, and three static pages is not going to do you any favours. You’ll get as much attention that way as you would leaving a single copy of your novel on the upper deck of the bus home – i.e not much.

The ability to integrate with social networks: The above package doesn’t stop you from setting up social networking accounts, but it doesn’t include them or integrate them with your eventual site. Trying to market your book online without using facebook, twitter, myspace etc is like entering the ring with your hands-tied.

Search Engine Optimisation: The description of the services on offer focusses heavily on the visual, but there’s no mention of working with you to ensure that your site is optimised for search engines. The deal offers you a pretty web-site, that will most likely end up hidden under a bushel as no-one will find it. Search Engine Optimisation should be an equally important part of any web design

And that’s all just for starters.

The Bodu Writers standard package offers the following:

  • Customised installation of wordpress
    We’ll set up the super-easy-to-use free software WordPress, but customise it to your needs to make it more of a content management system rather than the simple blogging tool it’s usually used for. You’ll be able to add pages and blog posts whenever you like, and as your website grows so will the possibility of reaching out to a new audience for your book.
  • Graphic Design
    As a self-published author you’ve already got the main design element paid for – the book cover. We’ll design a site template that shows off your cover to its full advantage. We do a number of sample site designs, getting feedback from the client on each one in order to work out what their tastes are. Based on that feedback we do the final design.
  • Search Engine Optimisation
    We know that a happy client is one who can see his/her website performing well in the search engines, and one which is getting visited. With that in mind, we’ll ensure that the design follows the best practice guidelines issued by the major search engines. We’ll also explain to you what you need to do to improve your site’s visibility – remember, the code and structure of any site is important in s.e.o but a huge part of it is also the content created by the website owner (you).
  • Social Networking Sites
    We’ll set you up on Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, with profiles customised to compliment your main site. We’ll also give you our own tips and guidelines on how to use these social networks to good effect. [We can also set you up on other social networks of your choosing, though this is subject to additional cost to be negotiated.]
  • Tech Support for a year
    We design your site for you to be able to manage it on your own, but we won’t leave you stranded. We realise it can take a bit of time, particularly if you’re not technically minded, to get up and running and feel comfortable with your site. We offer free tech support for one year as part of the package.

And the cost? Our websites for authors costs just €200

That’s a whole lot more for a whole lot less!

What about hosting/domain name etc?
These aren’t included in the price, for the simple reason that they are annual recurring costs. We can advise you on where to go, how to register a domain, or set up a hosting account – but the annual cost remains for you to pay. It’s worth pointing out that the self-publishing example provided above has the same conditions regarding hosting and domain registration – so the difference in price between our package and theirs remains the same.

How long does it take to get set up?
Typically we can get you up and running within a week – that includes time to do different draft designs, to consult with you to choose the design which suits you best, and to ensure the site is set up correctly. We’ll then help you over a week or two to get used to the site structure and ensure that you’re comfortable updating it.

Interested? Get in touch with us for a no-obligation discussion about how we can meet your website needs as an author

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