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Indie Office Hours: Insights For Publishers’ Websites with Christine DeGraff

Websites were the topic this week on Indie Office Hours we discussed the best practices for indie publishers.

Charlotte Pierce is taking a much needed vacation so I held down the fort with my friend, Christine DeGraff. Christine has a an extensive background in web design and she offered some wonderful insights into how to create better websites to showcase your business and your authors.

The key takeaways:

  • Plan, plan, plan. Define your goals. Build your content, calls-to-action around those.
  • Plan some more. Understand how you will create content, what type of content you will create and how you will broadcast your content.
  • Use WordPress. It’s easy. It is NOT just a blog, it is a website. The themes, either free or paid, will save you time and great looking. If you do not know how to use WordPress, watch the video below!
  • If you don’t understand what good design looks like take time to research and learn the design elements that help make websites amazing.
  • If you can’t do it, find someone who can.
  • Ask for help. If you don’t have time to blog you can get your authors to help out! It will give them another platform to get their message out. If you can’t afford a designer. Barter with someone!
  • Yes, building or rebuilding a website takes time. But if you are serious about your indie publishing business, you need a site that showcases your authors and services. You need a site that is attractive and user-friendly. This is one of the most important elements of your business. Your website is often a new author’s first impression of you and your business., if it looks unprofessional that is the impression they have of you!

NEXT WEEK on Indie Office Hours: How To Tell Your Book’s Story

Christine DeGraff is an entrepreneur with 17 yrs experience in web development, SEO and Internet marketing. Her Google+ profile is ranked among the Top 200 US women by CircleCount.com and she consistently ranks in the Top 50 most popular women in the US based on engagement. Christine is also a partner in Circloscope. If you have not heard about Circloscope, it is an amazing tool that helps you manage your G+ circles and much more. I have found it to be very helpful and the recent redesign. made it even easier to use. She also has a terrific project called MyMusicHangout. This brings music from all over the world to you. 

Resources mentioned during the show

How To Build a WordPress Site  a Step-by-Step Video

Color Wheel for Websites  This is very helpful when you deciding on the colors that you would like to use on your website.

What You Should NOT Post on Your Site

Understanding Google Analytics

Some Great WordPress Plugins Any of these you can search for in Plugins in WordPress

My #1 Fav- SEO for WordPress by Yoast -Here is a Guide for SEO for WordPress  (It may look complicated but it is SUPER easy.

Insert HTML Snippet Allows you to add html code easily

JetPack by WordPress My favaorite thing about Jetpack is that it allows me to access stats for my site.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore this is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT plug-in. Before you update plug-ins, before you update WordPress, before you make major design changes USE THIS it will back-up to a file of your choosing. I use Dropbox, in case of a catastrophic problem my back up is easily accessed through the cloud

My new favorite MailPoet create newsletters. contact forms and more. Easy, cool and awesome

Some Indie and Self-Publishing Sites:

I chose these sites not just for their attractive design, but because they are not full of bells and whistles. With some time and patience you could create a site that looks similar to anyone of these.

websites

The Book Designer

CatherineCaffienated

WriteontheRiver

Merge Publishing

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