You have your hosting all set up and you are ready to jump into building your site, right? Well, yes, but… there is one step you should do first. Take a little time to design your website.
First, you need to decide what you want to include. In the beginning, you will want to keep it simple. Don’t go overboard yet. You can always add more features and details to your site later. For inspiration or ideas look to other authors you know or admire and see what they have on their sites.
Now you need to decide how to organize the information you want to include. You should group like information together as much as possible. You don’t want too many tabs or pages that are too long. This part will take the most finesse. If you are struggling just come up with something and see how it works.
Now that you know what is going where on your website, make sure you have everything you need. Do you want to include an author photo? Do you have one? If you have everything you need ready ahead of time building your actual site will go more smoothly. And any little bit that you can do ahead of time will save you having to start and stop as you go.
I like to sit down and sketch out the design that I want on a piece of paper. I’m a very visual person so this helps me get my thoughts together and gives me a great reference while I’m putting things together.
Look through the templates on your chosen platform. They might spark some ideas. If you pick out the one you want you can use it as a frame of reference while you are designing your site.
Don’t stress too much. Nothing you do on your site will be permanent. Everything can change. The goal of this step is to just get ideas down on paper and collect everything you need to get started.