Before my books arrived I started creating a website so I could start to sell them asap. Having a website for your book has many purposes all of which should be decided upon before creating the site. I decided I wanted a site with: online purchasing, a blog, an about me, contact info and a subscription newsletter. I want anyone who signs into the site to either buy the book or sign up to the newsletter. By doing this I am collecting not only sales but also potential sales. I can build a list of people I know are interested in my books and use this to sell future books and products. With this in mind I did a bit of research on what website options were the best for this type of site. I needed to have alot of control over the site as I will be constantly updating it and creating new promotions. I decided to go with a content management system that I have used before called Wordpress with a PayPal button that links to my account and allows people to pay safely through the site.
Before setting up my site I had to purchase a domain name (e.g.www.catchthatfly.co.nz). These are pretty cheap and are available through many companies online you just need to google it.
Next I needed hosting. Hosting is where your website is stored on the Internet and should be purchased from a trustworthy source. I have tried free hosting before only to have my sight completely disappear and never return (not fun). Hosting can be purchased from the same company you buy the domain name from sometimes, so figure out a company that can give you both. It can make it much easier to manage. I used iPage which also allowed me to easily create a Wordpress site straight from my hosting dashboard. This saved me a lot of time and hassle trying to figure out which information to enter into Wordpress to get my domain and hosting connected to it. I found them reasonably priced and they have instant customer service on the help desk which is quite good when trying to get it all sorted. So make sure you suss these things out beofre signing up, you want instant access to help so you are not stuck waiting for days for the help desk to email you back if you run into trouble.
Once both my domain and hosting were purchased I just used the link on my hosting dashboard to set up a wordpress site. Wordpress is free and very easy to use. It is just like using facebook except you have a lot more control. You choose a template that suits your book and then alter it using all the tools and options. I used Photoshop to create a lot of the graphics to the correct sizes however I'm sure you could easily do this in 'Microsoft Picture Manager' if your not a Photoshop user. The Wordpress template I used tells you the sizes in Pixels that you should make the main images. Just a tip, Wordpress offers free blogs through wordpress.com however you will have limited features on this and I'm not sure weather you can sell stuff through the free sites. wordpress.org is the more professional site where you have your own hosting and domain and create more of a website with an blog attached.
To add the shop feature to the site I used PayPal. All I had to do was set up an account then create my buttons and paste the html code into my Wordpress shop page. This is such an easy way to have people purchase your book as they can pay by credit card and add there shipping information. I also set up a few pages that are not visible to the public on the site for special purchases, like wholesalers and people I sell to on the spot, this allows people to pay quickly and easily.
I used a Wordpress plugin called G-Lock which allows me to collect people email subscriptions. It has automatic email templates that go to the customer when they sign up making sure they legally opt in. I am finding it very user friendly and am hoping it will help me build my list.
So check it out: www.catchthatfly.co.nz
I hope this short rundown of my websites gives everyone some ideas and inspiration to create one of their own. I would love some feedback so feel free to comment or flick me questions.