Authors: Don’t Build a Book Website !

Christina Hills With Reid Tracy and Christian Mickelsen
Christina Hills With Reid Tracy and Christian Mickelsen

 Over the weekend, I went to a live event with Christian Mickelsen , and had the chance to have lunch with Reid Tracy of Hay House Publishing. We talked about authors and their websites; needless to say, we had a wonderful discussion!

And I’d like to share the biggest takeaway from our conversation. Are you ready for this?

He told me that authors should NOT have a book website!

That’s right, if you are an author, don’t build a website dedicated to a book you wrote. Instead, you should have an Author Website!

Think about it. If someone visits your book website, that’s all they will see: information on your book. If they visit your Author Website where you showcase all the books you wrote, they will not only see one of your books, but also find out about your other books and programs that you offer.

Here is a quick 5 min  video to explain the concept:

Don’t you ever have experiences of going to a bookstore to find one particular book, but ending up walking out with a few more books because you “happened to see other books.” It’s kind of like that.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a domain name that represents each of your books. Here is one strategy you might want to consider:

  1. Build a page within your Author Website dedicated to one book. (ex. yourauthorname.com/yourbooktitle)
  2. Buy the domain name for that book. (ex. yourbooktitle.com)
  3. Forward that domain name to go to the book page on your Author Website. (You can set this up with your domain company. In this example, people who type in yourbooktitle.com in their browser will be automatically taken to yourauthorname.com/yourbooktitle with this setup.)

This “Author Site + domain forwarding” setup is simple, effective, and economical, too! So if you are an author, I strongly recommend considering this setup. Thank you, Reid, for this great idea!

 Post your comments below…

Do You Want Multiple Languages on Your Website?

Over the past years, WordPress has established itself as one of the most popular website/blog platforms, not only here in the United States, but also around the globe. WordPress is now available in various languages … and that is an impressive list!

But what if you just want to create a multilingual website or offer a way to simply make it easy for non-English (or whatever your main language may be) speakers to view and understand your website?

Or… do you simply want to change the language for inside your WordPress admin panel?

WordPress 4.1 introduced an easy way to switch your WordPress back-end language.
Here is a screenshot of the admin panel in Italian

admininitalian

 But that is the INSIDE of WordPress, for the website owner who’s native language is not English.

But you might want the Outside of your WordPress site to be in another language

 To do that you would use a plugin!

Here are some plugins that can be helpful.

1. WordPress Multi-Language Plugins

These are the plugins that lets you have one site that can be toggled back and forth between different languages. Comes in handy when you want to offer the same content in more than language.

MPML.org

wpml

This impressive plugin offers so much. You create a post/page per a language, and this plugin links translated versions together, indicating one post/page is the translation of another. As a default, it comes with 40 languages, and lets you add your own language variants. You can even do things like allowing you to translate the plugins and themes, and sending the translation jobs to your translator within WordPress. Watch the demo at http://wpml.org/.

Stella

stella

Unlike MPML that create a post per language, Stella lets you create multiple language versions within a post, making it easy to create a post or a page in multiple languages without having to switching to a different page or site. Free version (https://wordpress.org/plugins/stella-free/) and premium version (http://store.theme.fm/plugins/stella/) are available.

Multilingual Press multilingual-press

With this plugin, you can connect multiple sites as language alternatives and lets people choose a site from the list in the widget. Offers more than 50 languages. Works with single sites as well as multi-sites. Check it out here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/multilingual-press/

2. WordPress Translation Plugins

Transposh WordPress Translation

transposh

 This cool plugin not only translates your site into a different language, but also lets you correct and update the translation after that right on your website (ie. without having to go into the WordPress admin panel editor screen). See how it works at https://wordpress.org/plugins/transposh-translation-filter-for-wordpress/

3. Google Translation Plugins

These plugins lets you add an easy way for your website visitors to run Google Translate right on your website so that they can see the machine translated version of the site in any of the languages that Google support (dozens!). This probably is the quickest way to make your site multi-lingual. Here is one of such plugins that you might want to try.

Google Language Translator

google-language-translator

 https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-language-translator/

As always, please do your due diligence before installing any plugins as plugins could cause compatibility issues, etc.

Let me know if you have any favorite way to turn your WordPress into a multilingual site!

Don’t Be a Mystery Person! Create Your Cartoon Character

One of the things that can really kill your business, is not having a photo of yourself online.  So many times I see people on Facebook or elsewhere without a picture of themselves.

nopictureonfacebook-800
As silly as this may sound, it’s very important to have an image of yourself on the web especially if you are doing business online.

Whether you are aware of it or not, others are seeing your “mystery man” image and associate you with that image. And — I think this is also something that you should know — if you do not have a Photo of yourself, people might even be seeing a different avatar associated with you instead.

mystery-person

You wouldn’t want to be a Mystery Person, do you? Here are the downsides I see with this:

  • It makes you look like a spammer!
  • It doesn’t have any personality… Who would like to communicate with a faceless person?

If you don’t feel comfortable using your own photo,  or if you don’t have a photo, then create a cartoon character of yourself!

This is called “Creating an Avatar”

christinahills-avatar
Avatar for Christina Hills

Here are some free resources for you to create your own cartoon character… Explore and have fun!

Avachara
http://avachara.com/avatar/

Face Your Manga
http://www.faceyourmanga.it/

DoppelMe
http://www.doppelme.com/

Build Your Wild Self
http://www.buildyourwildself.com/

Montagraph
http://www.montagraph.com/

Pickaface
http://pickaface.net/

Bitstrips
http://www.bitstrips.com/

 See if any of these will work for you, and then get rid of that “Mystery Man” !

With WordPress, for example, if you post a comment to somebody’s blog post, it typically shows up with a Gravatar image like this:

gravatar

 But *if* you don’t have an image set up on Gravatar.com, the comment will show up with that generic “Mystery Person” image or another default image. But the most common Gravatar image is the “Mystery Person”.

 (Want to know more what a Gravatar is? See video and this article here on getting a Gravatar Account )

Which one should I choose: WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

I have been running my Website Creation Workshop program for 7 years now, but every single time I run an introductory webinar or teleseminar, this question comes up:

What’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

org-vs-com-sidebysideI see how people get confused. Both services were created by the same company called Automattic and offer tools to create websites using the “WordPress” platform. Although their basic functions look the same, we strongly recommend WordPress.org.

However, there are some critical differences that you should know so that you can make the right choice for you when building a website.

WordPress.org (https://wordpress.org/)

  • wordpress-org-logoSoftware is free, you just need to get your own hosting service. (This is why WordPress.org is also called, “self-hosted WordPress.”
  • You can get your own domain name from any domain registrar and use it for your website.
  • You have great control over what appears on your site, including ads.
  • There are countless themes available, both free and premium. You can also customize these themes to a much greater degree than WordPress.com themes.
  • And free and paid plugins are available, which helps you to make your site function the way you really want.
  • It makes a great eCommerce platform among many other purposes.
  • It integrates with most of the Internet tools/services out there.
  • You get the software from WordPress.org,  or install it in your webhosting account with one click. You have a lot of freedom with how you use the website.

WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com/)

  • wordpress-com-logoSoftware is free, and it also comes with hosting. (ie. You don’t need to get your own hosting. They will host your website for you.) Note: it does NOT include emails, so you need to get a separate email service.
  • You will get your website URL with “wordpress.com” at the end. (ex. yoursitename/wordpress.com) (They offer a premium plan that allows you to use your own domain name while being hosted on WordPress.com server at extra cost.)
  • From time to time, your site might display ads to logged-out users who aren’t regular visitors unless you purchase a special feature to turn it off.
  • It has a limited number of themes, they cannot be customized to the extent you can with wordpress.org themes.
  • They do not allow plugins, which means the functionalities are limited compared to WordPress.org.
  • To sell products/programs from your site, you need to sign up for “WordPress.com Business” (http://store.wordpress.com/plans/business/) and pay the fee.
  • They allow you to embed certain forms, not all. For example, you can’t embed the opt-in form for many of the popular email services.

If you are building a website for your business, I strongly recommend that you go through the WordPress.org route. You can do so much more with WordPress.org, and more importantly, the site can keep growing with you and your business with a self-hosted site.

Here are some web hosting companies that I have had experience with and can recommend:

bluehostlogoBlue Host Web Hosting Company
http://www.christinasresources.com/bluehost

sitegroundlogo-250Hosting with Site Ground
http://www.christinasresources.com/siteground/

HostGator-LogoHosting with Host Gator
http://www.christinasresources.com/hostgator


Hosting with WP Engine
wpenginehttp://www.christinasresources.com/wpengine/