My $8k Journey – Your Author Website

On the off chance you’ve found this page without reading my previous post, you really should start at the beginning with: How I made $8,000 in only 3 months publishing my first book.

If you’ve already purchased a web domain and set up your author website, feel free to skip this post and move straight to: My $8k Journey – Author Networking. Just be forewarned, if you do, you’ll miss out on a big secret of mine.

Welcome back! This is Part 2 of My $8k Journey.

I must really have your attention, huh?

Did you know that 80% of visitors to this website bounce? That sucks. It really does. But you’re helping me lower my bounce rate because you just read two pages in a row! Thanks!

“Oh, dear, why am I reading this? How is this relevant to making money as an author?”

It is, trust me. And it’s very on topic because we’re about to talk about websites.

In July of 2017, I started my author website; the very website that you now find yourself on. When I first started I wrote a whole guide on “How to Build Your Author Website in 3 Easy Steps”, which I’ve retitled and repackaged and will be the next step in our journey together.

But let’s slow down. First, I want to explain the steps I took before launching my website.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

My last name isn’t really Branson.

It’s actually Freeman. A few of my really close super fans and author friends know this, but many, I’m guessing, do not.

So why use a pseduonym? And I thought we were talking about websites?

We are. Be patient padawan.

I used a pseudonym for three very important reasons:

  1. My real last name is too vanilla (i.e. not very memorable)
  2. There’s already a T.L. Freeman on Amazon.
  3. There’s already a tlfreeman.co.uk

Let’s talk about those last two things, because they play an important factor.

If you run a google search for T.L. Freeman you’ll get a ton of hits. Now they aren’t BIG hits. It’s not like Nike or Apple has the market on T.L. Freeman, but it’s there. And I didn’t want to compete with them.

You see the primary goal of your author website is to make you discoverable. If people google search you and can’t find you, then it defeats the purpose.

So what I did was pick a memorable last name with no competition that was easy to spell and would instantly rank high on Google. That ended up being Branson.

Why Branson?

Branson, Missouri.

I’ve never been there.

Wait, what? You picked your last name from a city that you’ve never been to? I thought it would at least be something important to you, like mother’s maiden name or something? Nope.

I picked Branson because most Americans have heard of it. Most Americans know that Branson is kind of like a vacation destination in the middle of the US. And if I make an instant name connection with a city I’ve never been to, well then I figured somewhere in reader’s subconscious they’d have an easier time remembering that name.

It also helped that the only other Branson to publish a book is Richard Branson. So I’m not competing on Amazon for that last name.

On top of that, the web domain www.tlbranson.com was open and only costs me $15/yr to maintain.

There would be no confusing me with the tlfreeman.co.uk website. There’d be no confusing my name for someone else, and hopefully no one forgetting my name.

So if you haven’t setup your author website yet I encourage you to do a few things:

1. Run a google search for your desired author name. How cluttered are the search results? Are there are a multitude of established people (maybe artists, or musicians, or clothing designers) with your name or that are ranking for your name already? Consider using a pseudonym.

2. Run a google search for “Author YOUR DESIRED NAME”. If there’s another author with your name, that doesn’t mean you still can’t use it. But if your name is Stephen King, yea pick something else. But more importantly, if there’s another author that writes erotica and you write children’s fantasy books, then maybe you should consider using a pseudonym.

3. Check your domain name to make sure it’s available. Go to a place like www.godaddy.com and insert your ideal domain. Mine’s tlbranson.com. I want a domain like that because if someone doesn’t know your web address they’re more likely to stumble across that than if your stuck with something like tlbransonbooks.com or tlbransonauthor.com. If you can snag a domain with just your name. Do it. If you can’t, consider using a pseudonym.

Once you settle on your name, jump right in and setup your website. Do this as early as possible.

If you’re reading this and you’ve already published but don’t have a website, get on the ball. You need one. Like now. Stop what you’re doing and get that sucker on the web!

Got questions? I’ve got the answer (and if I don’t, I’ll find someone who does). Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Next up: Part 3 of My $8k Journey – Your Author Website Setup

Or you can skip past all website related posts and go straight to Part 5 of My $8k Journey – Author Networking.

2 thoughts on “My $8k Journey – Your Author Website

  1. Hey I love your books and I’m inspired by what you do. My website has just finished and will be up tomorrow, and I was wondering what advice you might have? Any tips on engagement? I’ve been marketing… or attempting but I’m finding it hard to garner much engagement. Any thoughts or advice will be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. I’ll talk all about what to post about to increase engagement in a future post. I’m actually going to restructure a bit and do a 3-part “series” on the website. Before the Website (this post), setting up the website, and then what to put on it and technical stuff like Google Adword Keyword search and SEO.

      Gathering engagement at the start is always hard. As a matter of fact, you’ll get far more engagement on Facebook than here. And the best way to get engagement is to ask for it in my opinion. I’ve got a ManyChat Facebook messenger bot with over 800 subscribers and if I ask them for feedback on something I get around 200 responses.

      What I do is point them to a post (that everyone can see) and ask them to leave their response there, thus increasing the engagement of the post so more people will see it and hopefully respond because of the enormous response to that post.

      I’m also planning on talking about Facebook Messenger bots in detail later, too!

      Lots of great content planned. Again, this was a very long process and I’ll not skip any details if I think they played a role in helping me launch my book.

      Please know you can reach out to me anytime and I’ll gladly help when I can.

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