How to Add a Contact Form to Your Author Website (WordPress)

How to Add a Contact Form to Your WebsiteA contact page is one of the most important components of your author website. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to get yours up and running in about 5 minutes.

In addition to being a quick and easy way for your website visitors to ask you a question, a contact form will cut down the amount of spam you get because you won’t have to post your email on your site. (The Akismet plugin will eliminate spam from your forms as well as your blog comments.) When a reader fills out a form, the information will be sent right to your inbox so replying is just as easy.

Please note: You must have the Jetpack plugin installed to complete this tutorial. If you don’t have it installed, go to Plugins>Add New. Click search, type in Jetpack and then follow the instructions.)

Let’s get started!

Create a new page in WordPrees by clicking Pages > Add New.

(You can also add forms to posts. Just add a new post instead of a page. Go here for more on posts and pages.)

Click the form icon next to the Add Media button.

Image of Form Button

A lightbox will pop up that will let you define your form. It has a default contact form set up.

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You can change any or all of the options by hovering your mouse over a particular field. A context menu will appear. Click edit to modify the field.

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(1) Label allows you to change the name of the field.
(2) Field Type defines the type of field you are using. (Click Save this field if you change the field type.)
(3) Click the minus sign to delete the field.
(4) Click Add New Field to create addition input boxes.

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When you are done adjusting your form settings, click the Email Notifications tab at the top of the light box.

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(1) If you want to change the address where your feedback is sent, you can do it here.
(2) Set the subject line of your feedback.
(3) Click save to go back to form builder.

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Once you have everything the way you like it, click Add this form to my post.

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(1)Wordpress will add the short code for your form to your visual editor. If you need to add additional design elements, just work around the code. (It looks the same in the visual editor and the text editor. Don’t modify the code.)

(2)To edit your form, click the form button again and make your changes.

(3) To see how your form will look, click Preview.

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It will look something like this:

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If you’d like to see a live form, you can check out my Contact page. Once you have your form set up the way you like it, publish your page.

If you have any questions about building your author website  or need some help you can reply to this post or contact me.

Author Website Toolkit: Module 2 Posts, Pages & Add Media

Download Module 2 Getting to Know WordPressI’ve just added a second Module to the Author Website Toolkit. You can check it out on the Author Website Toolkit page or just click the image above to download it right now.

This module covers:

  • posting to your site
  • creating a static page
  • how to add images to your site.

We’ll be putting all of this into practice in an upcoming module but you can create a few pages and try out uploading an image with this module. Module 3 covers plugins and it should be out in a few days.

The Author Website Toolkit will help you design and build a professional website on the WordPress platform. You can see all current modules of the Toolkit by going to the main Author Website Toolkit Page.

5 Author Website Must-Haves

An Author Website is a critical part of your Self Publishing Toolkit, but for most authors websites can be a real head-ache–just one more thing to do that takes them away from writing–so they slap up a free blog and call it done.

You and your fans deserve better than that.  Your readers will come looking for your website after they’ve finished your book and loved it. Don’t disappoint them! Give them a way to connect with you further, find out more about your books and what inspires you to write them.

Websites don’t have to be hard. (I’ll even help you get started.) Here are the 5  (easy to implement) must-haves for every website:

1. Your Books & a Way to Buy Them

Your website should have a single page dedicated to listing all of your books and where to buy them. In addition, you can and should feature your latest book on the home page with a brief description and buy link.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

*If your books are for sale on Amazon, join Amazon Associates and they will provide you with the code to link your book and you’ll get a small percentage of whatever a buyer buys after they click your link–even if it isn’t your book. Once you’ve signed up for an account, type in your book title and when it pops up, click Get Link and Amazon will give you a variety of options to customize your link. Just copy and paste that code and your book will show up on your site with a buy link.

2. About the Author

About pages are among the most frequently clicked pages on the internet. Your readers want to know more about you and your books and this is the place to tell them. If you want to get even more creative, you could also offer bios for your main characters that include information that isn’t in your books.

Your website is also your chance to provide additional content that enhances your books. As writer, we all create characters and scenes that end up on the cutting room floor. These extra bits of information can be recycled into content that your readers will love. Author Brandon Sanderson frequently posts extra information about his books on his website and that just keeps fans coming back for more. (He’s also a great content Tweeter not to mention an amazing writer.)

*Put a sign-up for your email list at the end of your bio. This is one of the best, logical times to ask a reader for their email address.

3. Multiple Ways to Contact/Follow/Like You

It’s not your reader’s job to find you, it’s your job to be where your readers are. This is why you should be on all the big Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook, provide them with an email address you can be reached at as well as a contact form. You never know what your readers are going to contact you about, so be ready and available just in case someone needs 100 copies of your book for their next book club meeting.

WordPress makes it very easy to set up a contact form on your website with the Jet-Pack plug-in and for the sake of professionalism, your email should be yourname@yourdomain.com. You can easily set up a forwarder so that all email you get via your domain ends up in your most frequently checked email inbox.

4. Email List Sign-Up

It is never, ever too early to start collecting subscriber emails. If you have a website, you should have a form on it. Don’t wait until you are more popular or have more books. These early sign-ups on your list are likely to be your most ardent supporters. These are the people that will forward your new releases to their friends and drive your sales rank up on Amazon when they rush to get your new books.

*I highly recommend using Aweber to manage your emai list. Yes, it costs money (though the first month is only a $1) but in the end you will be happy that you went with a high quality, industry leader for your email list management because your emails to your fans will end up in their inboxes, and not their SPAM boxes. It is extremely easy to use their interface, they have tons of step by step help videos if you get stuck, and very helpful customer service if you get confused. Putting your form on your site is as easy as copying and pasting.

5. You!

More than anything, your website should reflect you and your books. Pick colors you love and write blog posts about things that interest you because those are the same things that are going to interest your readers. When you look at your website, you should feel pride and excitement about all of the things that you have to offer your readers.

Great author websites don’t have to be complicated and you can manage your own site when you build your site on WordPress. WordPress allows you to have a totally static site, a blog or a combination of both (which is what the Self Publishing Toolkit is.) If you need help getting your site set-up, I can help you out with the technical end. Go here for the details.

I hope this article helped give you ideas for your own website. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

Tutorial: How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Website

Introduction

For this tutorial, I am assuming that you have a self-hosted WordPress website/blog. I will be using the Twenty Eleven Theme which ships with WordPress. It is the default installed theme. If you have installed a different theme, your screen may look slightly different than mine, but under the hood everything should be in the same place. This tutorial will help you set up icons on your site that look like this:
How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Website - The Self Publishing Toolkit

Set up all of Your Social Media Accounts

Before you can add the icons to your site, you must have your accounts set up and have the links to your profiles. Once you have this information, you’ll be good to go. –>Make a list of the sites you want icons for, gather your account info (use Evernote to store all your links) and set up any accounts that you don’t have.

Select a set of Social Media Icons

If you haven’t already, select a set of icons from one of these sites:
I’m going to use elegantthemes for this tutorial.
How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Website - The Self Publishing Toolkit

Easy Ways to Make Your Website Look Professional

Make your website more professional with these tips.

Make your website more professional with these tips.

As a self-published author, you already have a to-do list that is a mile long. Having a professional web presence is definitely at the top of the list, but since time is short here are some quick tips that make you look like a pro without taking up precious writing time.

Get Your Own Domain Name

You’ve probably heard this before, but having your own domain name conveys your seriousness about about your craft, your books, and your image. This is increasingly important as Amazon is flooded with sub-par self-published books. You can bet authors who don’t care about quality are going to throw up free blogs via blogger, if at all. Having your own domain is both easy and cheap in addition to giving readers a place to find out about you and your books on the web. It has the added benefit of great Search Engine Optimization and gives you complete control over your content.

If you don’t already have your own domain and hosting, HostGator offers cost effective hosting that is easy to manage. Plus you can use the code SELFPUBLISH to knock 25% off of your order. Complete instructions for setting up your website (even if you are non-technical to the extreme)  are in the The Self Publishing Toolkit.

Clean Up Your Site

A simple website looks professional. Ditch anything that blinks or shifts. These types of widgets and gadgets distract readers’ attention from your site and make it appear unprofessional.

  • Toss any ads that are for books other than your own.
  • Use your author name in your header  instead of a cutesy title.
  • Use a light background with dark text for easy reading.
  • Review your sidebar content and make sure that everything is relevant to your site.

Use Professional, Royalty Free Images in your Posts

There are lots of places on the internet you can get royalty free professional images. Some are free (like those at Dreamstime free) and some cost money (my favorite place to go is Dreamstime). But whichever direction you go in, make sure you choose clear, relevant graphics. Name your images with your post name and make sure they are royalty free. Nabbing an image from another site can get you in a lot of hot water with the original creator. So make sure you know the terms of use before your post it on your site.download full movie Sausage Party

Give Your Navigation a Check Up

Make sure your navigation is clear and easy to follow.  It should be located across the top of your site, either under or over the header or in the right sidebar. All author sites should have the following pages:

  • Contact
  • About Me
  • Books
  • Blog
Make sure any images of your books link directly to a buy link on Amazon, B&N or any other site you have your book for sale. You should also have a mailing list sign up form available for readers to subscribe to for future updates. Don’t put up pages that say ‘coming soon’ or are just dead ends.

There you have it. Four easy things you can do today that will improve your website visitors’ experience. Contact me if you’d like me to do a personal review of your site. (No cost, no strings attached.)