A Writer’s Website: Part Five

Hello to all you writers out there! This is Adair Heitmann reminding you that one of the most important ways to build your author’s platform is to have a website. Your website can be as simple as a one-pager, or more elaborate with videos, social media plug-ins and e-books. I’m glad to be able to continue to help you take manageable steps in creating your website. Please go to June 2011 for Part One, then proceed to July, August and September 2011 for earlier information on building an author’s website. Like a proud new mama, I’m happy to announce that I finished my own website makeover, and it’s serving me well. The time I spent researching what I wanted in the revised site, learning new technology, and making it happen, paid off. Did I have moments when I pulled my hair out in frustration? Yes, but the end product has been worth the grief, like labor in childbirth.

Today I’ll share information for those of you who want to keep the hairs on your head and prefer to hire out. You can do so by hiring a web developer, a web designer or both. Or as a member of my writing critique group did, get by with a little help from her friends. Find tech-savvy friends to do the technical pieces for you.

First let’s clarify terms:
1. Web developer – knows the tools of the techno trade, usually has several already prepared themes for you to choose from, and can technically provide you with what you ask for. A web developer can provide some customization. In the Northeast an average hourly rate is $40/hour.
2. Web designer – is more of a, just what the name implies, designer, someone who knows the graphic and artistic end of website communication. A web designer can create a unique website. Again it depends on the part of the country that you live in, but here in the Northeast an average hourly rate is $75/hour.

What stays the same is that you, the writer, need to research what you want. You’ll want to give the developer or designer your website wish list. This way, you are in the driver’s seat. You’ll also want to think about if you want to update the site yourself. If so, you’ll need a CMS (Content Management System) type of site. Remember that once your website is up and running, if you don’t have a CMS site, you will be paying your developer or designer a fee for every update.

This brings us to cost:
1. Know your budget and respond accordingly.
2. Research other writers that you know, if you like their website, ask them how much their website cost.
3. Find out the name of the developer/designer and get an estimate from them. Ask them to include future revisions, and update charges.
4. Since more and more people are using mobile devices, be sure to ask your developer/designer if the layout will look good and work efficiently on smart phones.

A cost estimate for a simple 5-page website can run approximately $500.00 and up.

Last but not least, be sure you love your site. An author’s website is a writer’s online face to the world. You want to make the best first impression you can.

Until next time, keep on writing!

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