A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
You don’t have a Website Because . . .?
A Website is an important and necessary tool for business owners. Your Website is the door to your business. It is what a tailored business suit is to your personal appearance.
How many times have you come across the following scenario? You meet a person who claims to be an expert in some field. You want to learn more about their business and the services they offer, but you’re disappointed when you discover that they do not have a Website.
Alternatively, when you ask for a business card you realize that their Website address has been omitted, and you are even more surprised when you discover that this was no accident.
Not every person who claims to be a business owner is necessarily one, and this includes authors and writers. If someone is already shaky about your services and the ability to provide or perform said services, you could potentially lose a client. Just as satisfied consumers are excited to tell someone else about your service or product, an unhappy customer can do just the opposite and damage your reputation before your business even gets started. Day after day these situations unfold and the scenarios usually have the same outcome—loss of business.
Technology is evolving and has made it fairly easy for consumers to research companies before they do any type of business with them or purchase products from them. Again, with an author or writer, this is no different. After all, being an author and a writer is a business.
Use your Website to your advantage: for marketing purposes and to announce events and other news. A Website saves time and money. Before the Internet, businesses had to rely on print marketing for their advertisements. Now in addition to print marketing, you can place material that would otherwise be expensive to print on your Website without incurring any expense. Best of all, with a Website you are no longer limited on your marketing audience. Your business can now advertise globally and virally, allowing you to reach audiences and consumers that you could not reach before.
Authors and or writers, there is no reason you should not have a Website. As a professional, you really want to look as serious and professional as possible. It is true that business owners, specifically small business owners, who have their own their own domains and Websites are taken more seriously than those who do not.
If your desired name is taken, i.e. www.yolandamjohnson.com (which is one of my domains), try something creative like www.authoryolandajohnson.com or www.yolandamjohnsononline.com or even www.authoryolandaontheweb.net, and so on.
Currently, blogs are the “in” thing, and by all means, if you have the time and effort to host a blog, do so, but this should never take the place of an official Website.
Many hosting and domain companies are very affordable. I have maintained a site since 1995, and I used a hosting and domain firm, Netfirms.com. I started paying approximately $75 to $120 a year up until 2007. I finally gave GoDaddy.com a try. I now have three domains through GoDaddy.com (www.literarywonders.com, www.yolandamjohnson.com, www.bryantconsultingonline.com), all for what it cost me for one domain with my former Web company. In addition, hosting for these sites is also through GoDaddy.com. If you are technically savvy, you can purchase a domain name for as little as $1.99 a year and host it yourself.
If you, like most Website owners, like the ease and functionality that a blog provides, look into Wordpress.org. Word Press has two sites. Wordpress.com is their free blogging site, and Wordpress.org is a blog service that requires Web hosting to maintain.
If you look at many Websites today, several have been creating Word Press. Your Web hosting company can host your blog through its services, thus allowing you to still have the URL
When creating your Website, make sure it is appealing to your visitors and user friendly. As an author, the main tabs or sections your Website should include are:
Home: The home section is the front door to your business. Statistics show that visitors to of your Website decide within the first ten seconds if they like what they see and whether they will continue or not. Make sure the page is visually stimulating and easy to read. If someone is looking for your contact information, the tab should be easy to find.
Bio: This section should give readers a preview of your professional writing resume. You should “toot your horn” in this section. Include all the wonderful things you do that pertain to your career as a writer. It is okay to include a few personal items about yourself, but be careful, too much information can be hazardous. When in doubt, leave it out. This section should also include a professional portrait of yourself—headshots are the best.
About Books: List all your books and or work, along with photos of each book. Include the books’ ISBNs, release dates, and where the books can be purchased. Allow your patrons choices. Although they may be able to purchase your book on Amazon.com, allow them to also purchase your work straight from your site using e-commerce solutions such as PayPal. This allows them to purchase an autographed copy of the book straight from the author. It also helps if you include a short synopsis about your work so readers will know what they are in store for.
Tour Schedule: Include all pre-scheduled book signings and appearances. This is another form of marketing. Many readers frequent these events and are excited to find that their favorite author or writer will be at a location near them.
Contact Page: This is one of the most important pages. Include your mailing address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and any social media sites where you advertise your work.
Last, it is important that you make your Website navigationally friendly and one that viewers will want to visit time and time again. Make sure the information on your Website is current.
Below are some resources to get you started and links for some Websites that fit the above criteria.