How To Setup Your Author Blog In 9 Minutes Or Less
“If you write it, they will come,” right?
That’s the common belief behind writers who self-publish their own books.
The reality is you can self-publish a book easier than any time before in history. And you can skip the need of having a traditional publishing house behind your back...
That’s the good news.
However, the bad news for some is that you’re responsible for getting readers as a self-published author.
In the competitive realm of self-publishing books on Amazon, one of the best ways to get more readers as an up and coming author is to start a conversion focused author blog.
Meaning, a blog with a purpose, a blog that captures email addresses of your future readers.
Let’s dig a little deeper as to why this is a great idea for you self-publishing business.
Webster's dictionary defines the word "writer" as "someone who writes."
And the word "author" as "the writer of literary work."
For the sake of simplicity, this article is going to aim to help self-published authors who write their own books and will be using the two words interchangeably. Yet, this guide will benefit any type of writer set up their blog.
Why You Should Have An Author Blog
Your goal as it is for many self-published authors is to make a living with your writing.
Yet, many writers who aim to make a living online as an author think that loyal readers come out of thin air or that readers will find your book(s) on Amazon with little to no marketing effort.
That comes later down the road... And it' is mostly the case for self-publishers who've already established loyal readers via their email list.
You'll find that the most successful self-publishers on Amazon have an author blog (I'll include some in this article, so keep a lookout).
And what successful publishers have known for years now is that you must go beyond Amazon’s search engine (Amazon’s Kindle store is a search engine like Google).
Because even if your book is on page one of your book’s keyword (book title), it’s only temporary. This is what Kindle publishers have come to know as the honeymoon phase.
Amazon gives new books a head-start in the rankings (some love), but this boost goes away in as little as a month.
Which begs the question: you don’t want your self-publishing royalties to only be great for a month right?
Blogging will get fresh reader eyeballs to your books.
You'll create valuable content articles on your blog that people in your niche are interested in. This will get them aware of you as an author, and some people will gladly join your author email list and enter your sphere of influence.
Think about it; you're not only creating a list of readers but an asset that will support you and your future book launches (keep in mind we're not just talking about Kindle books, but also your audio books, and paperback books and even hardcover versions of your book! And eventually you may even create and launch a course in your niche!
Note About Blogging As An Author
Steve at Authority Pub Academy, calls building an author platform, like a blog, a Brand Builder self-publishing model. A model that doesn't just focus on selling books, but courses or services in your niche as well.
For this author's blogging guide, we'll focus on building your author email list for your blog so you can sell more books.
Furthermore, blogging is perfect for self-published authors because it's a writer focused platform—a platform that you control.
Did you catch that?
A platform you control. You'll be able to control the traffic that comes to your site as well, but to a lesser extent. Unlike platforms like Amazon...
News flash: You don’t own Amazon’s traffic. The best you can do is leverage Amazon's traffic and algorithms to your advantage.
But here's the best part... the email subscribers (readers) that you'll start adding to your author email list will be traffic that you own.
You can build your email list from your self-published books alone, but if you want to up your game then adding a blog will only help your list-building and author-reader relationship efforts and skyrocket your self-publishing business.
Bottom Line: Blogging opens up a world of opportunity for self-publishers who write their books while establishing you as THE authority in your niche at the same time.
Hope you're excited because you're about to take a big step in your business!
I’m going to show you the exact steps to set up to set up your author platform (your blog) quickly and easily without needing to have any web tech skills.
Let’s get your author blog started.
The Author's Guide to Launching a Blog And Getting More Readers
Starting a blog as a self-publisher is not much different than starting a blog for any other type of online entrepreneur.
However, I’m going to make this guide unique for the self-publishing community by involving some author blog examples to show you the power of blogging.
Step 1) Setup Your Website Hosting
Your website needs a way to exist on the internet. The only way to do this is by setting up what’s called web hosting for your blog.
Getting web hosting essentially gives your blog a place to live online 24/7/365 for a small fee. Think of it as rent money for the internet.
There are many web hosting companies, but my recommendation is Bluehost. Their price is as low as $3.95 a month, and you can’t beat the 24/7 customer support (yes – even on the phone).
To get started, go to Bluehost.com. Once you’re there, click on the Get Started Now button.
On the next page, you’ll be presented with different web hosting plans. I started off with the basic plan and recommend that plan for new bloggers as well.
The next micro-step is to choose your domain name (e.g. FreedomBoundBusiness.com).
Bluehost provides you with a free domain name when you sign up. I recommend getting your domain name from Bluehost for your first time as opposed to going through a domain registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy as there are way more steps involved.
As for choosing your domain name, you can name your blog after the brand name you want or your author name (e.g. yourAuthorNameHere.com).
And as for the web suffixes (.com, .net, .org, etc.) and what to do if your domain name isn't available - watch the video below:
After you choose an available domain name for your blog, create your Bluehost account and checkout.
At this point, you’ll be able to log in to your Bluehost Control Panel:
Step 2) Installing WordPress Easily
WordPress is the content management system (CMS) we’re going to be using to create your author blog. WordPress, as of 2016, is used by 26% of all websites and is one of the most used CMS platforms for bloggers.
And once you create your account on Bluehost, you can install WordPress on your site with just a few clicks ?.
To install WordPress on your new blog, click the Install WordPress button on your Bluehost home page.
Next, select your blog domain name (your only domain name if you’re a beginner) from the drop-down list:
Input your login credentials so that you can log onto your site via the WordPress platform. And click Install WordPress.
After you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll get an email from WordPress.org with your login credentials (just in case you didn’t note your login details down on paper) and the login URL for your blog.
To access your blog at any time visit YourBlogSite.com/wp-admin and log in with the username and password you created.
You’ve now entered your blogging playground.
From here, you’ll write content (blog posts with a purpose) and create other types of web pages.
This is your HQ for your writer's blog.
Example of my blog's WordPress dashboard.
Next, you need to choose a theme for your blog to make your author blog look professional.
Step 3) Choosing The Best Theme For Your Blog
When you get started blogging, you’ll need to install a theme.
Usually, WordPress installs their most updated free theme on your blog. For instance, the Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme is currently the latest version. It’s a simple theme and will get the job done.
However, if you want more control over how to style your blog you might want to invest in a paid theme.
A paid theme unlocks more features (and support) that will make other people envious of how your blog looks and feels.
For paid themes, my #1 recommendation is ThriveThemes.
They're a company that is known for great WordPress plugins (tools to improve your blog functionality)...
...and they just happen to have beautiful WordPress themes too for just $49 each:
To view a demo of each of these of these, visit Thrivethemes.com/themes.
Each one of these paid themes was created with the specific entrepreneur in mind. For example, Performag is a magazine type theme. Minus is the one I use on this blog, and it's for bloggers who want a beautiful, yet minimal theme. The first theme I used by ThriveThemes was FocusBlog - a fine choice.
Note: Once I started using ThriveThemes the struggles I had with making my blog look “nice” were OVER. Can’t recommend their themes or WordPress plugin tools enough.
So far, we have our blog framework. Let's see how authors utilize their author platform.
[Example] Analyzing An Author Blog
Now that you have your WordPress blog setup with a theme, there are a few things you want to start doing on your author blog.
Remember, the reason we're creating your author blog is to help your self-publishing business, so it only makes sense that you use the following strategies on your blog:
- create a "My Books" page
- create a "squeeze" page to collect email address
- start collecting emails with pop-ups
And most importantly, you have to start writing blog posts.
I'm going to give you some free and paid solutions for putting all these pieces of the puzzle together so don't worry if all this is going over your head.
First, here's an example of Damon, a self-published author, and his blog ArtOfProductivity.com.
Did you notice the elements Damon has going on with his author blog?
He has a "My Books" page, he has a squeeze page (link for this is "Free Gift" on his navigation menu), and he's collecting emails with pop-ups as well (using Thrive Leads - a WordPress plugin).
The squeeze page Damon uses in his blog (the "Free Gift" on top menu) is the same squeeze page he uses in his Kindle books. A page like this can easily be built with the WordPress plugin Thrive Architect.
He's also a great example of an author who produces good author blog content, where he asks the reader for email.
The blog reader gets an ethical bribe related to the niche (something that helps them start solving a problem), and Damon adds another reader to his author email list.
In his blog post, 6 Simple Hacks for Strengthening and Restoring Willpower, Damon adds an email capture box within the content and links to his book (image source: http://artofproductivity.com/) :
Damon inserts a lead-box within his blog post content.
Damon inserts a lead-box within his blog post content.
Additionally, he has a list of his books on his WordPress side widget area:
Getting Started: Your Next Steps
Setting up an author blog takes minutes.
Publishing author blog content and adding people to your email list with traffic outside of Amazon is another story.
As you probably know, a successful author blog doesn't happen overnight, yet it's not going to build itself.
Having an author blog is a long-term strategy that should be started ASAP for any self-published author or writer.
Let's summarize the steps to building an author blog like Damon.
1) Setup Your Author Blog By Setting Up Bluehost and Install WordPress. This part is easy now that you've read this article. To sum up the process: (a) get your free blog domain name from Bluehost, (b) install WordPress on your site, (c) install a WordPress theme like ThriveThemes.
2) Learn The Basics of WordPress. Learning the basics of using WordPress is all you need to get started.
There are tons of tutorials on how to start using WordPress to do x, y, and z.
Instead of searching the web for how to start handling your blog with ease, I recommend taking Thrive University's free course called Build a Conversion Focused Website From Scratch. All the WordPress fundamentals every blogger needs to know is covered in this free course. You can sign up for Thrive University here.
One of the many free courses offered.
3) Start Writing Blog Posts Related To Your Niche. Write blog posts with the intention of adding people to your author email list. Authority Hacker has great article (one of many) called 13 Creative Ways to Come Up With Blog Post Ideas So You Never Wonder What To Blog About Next!
"Blogging isn't about publishing as much as you can.
It's about publishing as smart as you can."
— Jon Morrow
4) Drive Traffic To Your Blog Content. You can write all the blog posts you want, but if no one finds them on the internet, you're not going to see results any time soon.
Let me give you a crash course on web traffic.
First of all, there's getting traffic from Google. To get started writing blog content, there's some keyword research involved.
A great keyword research tool for self-publishers is KDP Rocket.
It gives you both search volume for Google AND Amazon. Dave Chesson was on to something when he created this tool... author blogs + their books are powerful!
KDP Rocket will help you plan your blog content and give you ideas on what keywords to go after.
The final element of getting traffic is getting quality backlinks to your blog by guest posting (a.k.a. getting other blog site owners to link back to your blog). You usually won't have to do this for low-competition keywords.
Note: low-competition keywords are those with 3+ words.
There's a lot that goes into ranking on Google. If you want to rank on Google, I recommend checking out AuthorityHacker.com as they have tons of free content on how to learn about to rank on Google.
Next, you can get traffic from social media.
Some bloggers have ditched ranking on Google and prefer getting traffic from social media networks.
This is not a bad option at all these days as social media is becoming an evergreen source of traffic too!
Here are some of the recommended author traffic channels at your disposal:
These are just 5 social media channels that you can use instead of Google traffic to your blog.
Remember, we need a way to get people to your blog content.
I recommend you pick one of these to start: Google, Pinterest (recommended course), or YouTube.
With any of these, you can start leading people to your conversion focused blog content and start building your author email list to sell more books ?.
And even selling other higher-ticket products outside of books.
There you have it, your road map to long-term self-publishing success!
Start as soon as you can! Your blog isn't going to build itself...
You'll thank me when you start getting more readers on your email list directly from your blog.