Every Author Needs a Digital Hub (And It All Starts with an Author Website!)

The emPowered Author Podcast

The digital age has transformed the way we navigate the world, and the same holds true in the author space. In today’s landscape, having a website is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Websites are essential tools for authors, books, authorpreneur businesses and more. It serves as a connecting tool… a digital hub so to speak… where you control your message and showcase your unique perspective. So, my question to you is… do you have one?

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sandy Wiles, a website design expert during Season 4 of The emPowered Author Podcast to discuss author websites and all that comes with them. Sandy’s insights drive home that an author website allows readers to delve into the author and their books in ways other marketing tactics just can’t offer. In fact, a well-crafted author website becomes the differentiator that captures readers’ interest, rather than the other way around. During this episode of the podcast, Sandy and I discussed:

  • How an author is bigger than their book and their author website should be too.
  • That a website allows an author to control their message in a way that drives toward their goals and encourages readers to engage accordingly.
  • Why quality websites matter, especially since they are an author’s reputation on a screen; they are usually the first encounter readers have with you.

There are few nonnegotiables that I require for authors when it comes to marketing efforts, but an author website is one of them. In fact, I believe it is a crucial component of your success because it establishes credibility, showcases unique perspective and serves as the first point of contact for potential readers. Embrace the digital age and recognize the importance of a strong online presence. As you jump into the vast digital landscape, create your parachute—the website that will help you land softly and navigate the book world with confidence.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from this episode: 
  • You may question what should be included in an author website and what’s its purpose anyway. While the whole episode highlights the answers, I share a bit about how you need one to help you stand out and fit in. (1:50)
  • When it comes to marketing, make sure your efforts work for you and not the other way around. (1:54)
  • Website aren’t nice-to-haves; they are musts in today’s business landscape. (17:33)
  • How can you provide more value outside of your book to keep people engaged and learning around what you teach? The answer is a website will offer that support. (32:14)
  • Don’t neglect considering what your readers want. I offer some questions to consider as you build your website and keep your readers in mind. (34:10)

Author websites are our jam! If you’d like support in bringing your author website to life, reach out and let’s chat. Learn more about our author website solutions and let’s see if we can help you.

Resources highlighted in the episode include the following.

  • In the episode I highlight some website statistics from a PR Newswire report in February 2021 that are staggering. 
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I learned from the author of Who Not How the importance of seeking help when you need it from someone who knows what they’re doing.
  • During the episode, I shared how my business evolved from the first book I wrote, Color Today Pretty: An Inspirational Guide to Living a Life in Perspective. Knowing how your business will expand can assist you in developing a website that will grow with you.
  • Things that are worth tackling require courage. Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup will remind you to take the leap into overwhelm and get that website built!

Check out the other episodes in this season of The emPowered Author Podcast.

Listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Memorable Quotes from the Episode

2.1 Author Brand
2.1 Author Brand (3)
2.1 Author Brand (2)

Meet the Podcast Host and Guest

Stephanie Feger

Stephanie Feger

emPower PR Group

Stephanie Feger is passionate about helping authors make their author emPact. As the host of The emPowered Author Podcast, she has merged her love for reading books, writing books and marketing books to help authors be successful by sharing emPactful marketing strategies and tactics through the podcast. As an author herself and a seasoned book marketing expert, her goal is to ensure that authors are strategic and focused when it comes to book marketing. 

Madelyn Copperwaite

Sandy Wiles

Website Designer

Sandy Wiles is an expert in nonfiction author websites. She blends creativity and attention to detail with strategy in every website project she tackles. Her innovative, solutions-focused approach ensures her clients harness the power of a website. Sandy knows how a reader and potential client navigate websites and leverages that knowledge to create websites that convert. When Sandy and Stephanie bring together their skillsets, magic happens. 

Starting an author website but unsure where to begin?

We’ve gathered the key takeaways from Season 4 of our podcast to help you prepare for the website development process. Being prepared is essential, and we’ve got you covered.

[00:00:00.110] - Stephanie Feger
I don't think you need a website to stand out anymore. I honestly think you need it to fit in. Web sites nowadays, if you don't have them, then that's a red flag.

[00:00:13.640] - Stephanie Feger
Hey, I'm Stephanie Feger and empower is my middle name. Well, okay. Not really, but you all, it really should be. I believe that emPowered people emPower people, and I am obsessed with emPowering you, the non-fiction author, with impactful marketing strategies to help you take your important message and share it with those who desperately need it, want it, and will buy it. As the owner and chief strategist of the emPower PR Group and the author of two books myself, I have merged my love for reading books, writing books, and marketing books to help non-fiction authors with laser focused strategies and tactics to write books that sell, promote books to those who need and want them most, and build meaningful businesses from empowering messages. I want you to think of this podcast as your one-stop shop for marketing insights from an author who has been there, done that, and understands exactly where you are. Grab a warm beverage. You all know this about me. I have a chai tea sitting here and get comfy blanket, and get ready with your pens because I am ready to emPower you on author websites. This is the emPowered Author podcast.

[00:01:29.340] - Stephanie Feger
We live in a digital age where businesses, including those built by authors, require a digital presence. Potential readers want to learn more about you, your books, your business, and one of the first places they go, if they don't go here first, is online to find your website. But what should be on your website and what's the purpose of it anyway? How can your website work for you instead of the other way around? There are so many questions for us to answer on this season of the emPowered Author podcast, but I'm ready to do so because this season we unpack the what, the whys, the hows, and more of author websites. Come on, you all. Let's go dive in.

[00:02:18.930] - Stephanie Feger
I have been counting down the days for this season of The emPowered Author podcast to happen because it means that myself and one of my best buddies, Sandy, get to get on and talk about something we both absolutely love to do and work on together and that is author and entrepreneur websites. Many people may or may not know this, but actually, they probably don't know this, but Sandy and I do not live in the same community, and yet we've had the opportunity to meet and spend time together. I just love how our digital world brings people together nowadays.

[00:02:50.970] - Sandy Wiles
Yeah, absolutely. We talk all the time.

[00:02:53.800] - Stephanie Feger
I can't imagine a day go by without talking to you and when it does, it feels weird.

[00:02:58.400] - Sandy Wiles
The silence is definitely noticeable.

[00:03:02.110] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah. I'm like, What's going on, Sandy? Why are we not talking? What's wrong? It's usually because we're both buried down in getting our work done. But it always makes my life better when we can get on the phone and hash through things. But it's really a beautiful story, Sandy, on how we met. I will never forget the first time, I believe, trying to remember, I believe we were on a phone call together. Either that or it was a follow up from... We both had a mutual client and we were working on some stuff. I loved that experience, but I walked away having a better friend in the process.

[00:03:37.440] - Sandy Wiles
Yes. I think it was Zoom. It was probably a team meeting on that mutual project.

[00:03:43.680] - Stephanie Feger
It was crazy because I had no recollection of who Sandy was. She had no recollection or idea of who Stephanie was, but we had this mutual connection and we both pulled together on this really cool project. And oddly enough, as the process evolved, we realized just how beautiful things are when people can work together and do great work together. I feel like we not only were able to help that client, but now we've walked away, I mean, it's been countless months over a year, if not longer, that you and I now have helped so many authors.

[00:04:18.190] - Sandy Wiles
It has. Yeah, I was looking back, it's been at least a year and a half, if not longer.

[00:04:22.650] - Stephanie Feger
I wouldn't have in any other way. Honestly, when anybody that I work with doesn't have a website, I always go, Oh, I got you covered. I got a girl. I got my girl. I love through that process, I got to see firsthand what it was like to be on the client side because I was supporting the client, but you and I weren't collaborating in the way we do now. I got to see the beautiful customer service that you have on that side. But then I also got to see how strategic you were behind the scenes with partners. For those listening, that's actually really important to anybody that the emPower PR Group brings on as collaborators and supporters. I want to make sure that when we work on your projects that myself and other strategists and subject matter experts come together and really create the best product for you. But we also want you, the client, to have such a beautiful experience. The fact that God brought the two S's together was just perfect.

[00:05:22.940] - Sandy Wiles
S squared.

[00:05:24.070] - Stephanie Feger
S squared. Yeah, we've got big plans, Sandy. But we're starting with author websites. Actually, before we get there, can you tell everybody a little bit about how you even uncovered your love for websites?

[00:05:39.960] - Sandy Wiles
Okay, yeah. This has been a long journey. I actually started my original practice in 2007. That's 14 years ago. Good golly... I know... I started as a virtual assistant so I could stay home with my daughter but still make income. I was a single mother who needed to work at home to take care of all aspects of the family life. I started as a virtual assistant and I did that for years. But over the years, I realized that what really got me excited when I woke up in the morning was when I knew I had website work to do, when I could go into WordPress and just get stuff done in play. I did realize that the scheduling, the calendaring, the administrative piece wasn't it just didn't light me up, like the technical side. I call myself a creative geek. I have a very strong technical mind and I like strategy and creativity combined, and website design was perfect.

[00:06:45.320] - Stephanie Feger
I get excited when I hear that for lots of reasons because, one, I think you are a great example of the fact that we are a product of our past experience. I think one of the things that makes you so strong is not only do you have to be you look at every project through the lens of how can I have an amazing end product, the website look beautiful for my client, but you understand from a VA or virtual assistance perspective, the systems that are needed for a business to run smoothly and how you can help businesses do that. You bring that strategy to every single thing you touch. I really think that's a unique differentiator for you.

[00:07:24.440] - Sandy Wiles
Yeah, it does help because your website is not just a website. It is your systems and it's the way you work. It is that hub, that home base. So all of that stuff has to play into it.

[00:07:37.720] - Stephanie Feger
I am laughing under my breath and this is embarrassing. I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at me. This is embarrassing because you talk about it as the hub of your business. I want to just put a pause here for anybody who's listening and I want you to reflect for a moment that if I were to go look at your website, or not just me, a future book reader or purchaser, a future individual that's going to hire you for a speaking engagement, a future collaborator or client, whatever it is, what are they going to think of your hub? The reason I'm laughing, Sandy, is because I will never forget when my book came out in 2018, so my first book came out in May 2018, and right before the book came out, I thought, I like did this, yes, Stephanie can do this. And I decided to create my own website. It wasn't awful, but it sure wasn't phenomenal. I spent three months creating my website, writing content, incorporating colors, finding the right icons and the dynamic elements. And you know how I like movement, and I had movement everywhere and all of these things. And I was so proud of it, even though there were a few things that never worked right. I was so proud. Then you and I started working together and I called you up. I'm like, So I think that I need your help because you don't know what you don't know until you know. Then you can't unsee what you know and then you look back and go, Oh, no. Listen, I'm not saying that you can't create your own website. Go at it, have fun. That process, Sandy, helped me better help people nowadays. I understand the back end of websites. I understand what plug ins are and some of the things you and I will talk about over these next episodes, but never again will I create my own website. I will always call my friend Sandy, who's going to create a beautiful one because it's something you love. I know I've talked about this before, but I'm a big believer in what my business coach says. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. When you think about how people see you and perceive you, that's not something you want to question. That's not something you want to give people the ability to create their own perception. You want it to be really clear this level of confidence that you have and the credibility you bring, I think your website can do that for you.

[00:10:07.940] - Sandy Wiles
I think that's the beauty of you having done your own because you have the knowledge. You have so much knowledge on that aspect that when we did rebuild it, it was very strategic, very thought out. It was so much easier to get it done.

[00:10:23.600] - Stephanie Feger
But it was so much nicer on my side to know that you could do it. I didn't have to. I'll never forget the day that I went to show someone my website and they were like, Yeah, your website looks a little funky. This is before you did it, Sandy, when I did it and I went and looked at it because I did some updates thinking that was a good thing. The whole website updated to code, and so the outside front end of the website was in HTML code, and I had this moment where my stomach was living in my throat very uncomfortably and thought, Stephanie, you just flushed three months down the drain. Now I don't have to worry about that. There's a peace of mind that comes with collaborating with someone like you who knows their stuff. I'm really excited for you and I to dive in and unpack things that many authors and authorpreneurs aren't thinking about, probably, when it comes to their website and what their website can not only do for them, but can do without them making movement. It can work on its own to really how it's a key differentiator. If you're listening to this season of The emPowered Author podcast, I want you to rest assured, Sandy and I are going to try to sell you on a website. You should know you already need one. Instead, what we are doing is really providing you over these next six episodes with some deep dive information on how to ensure that your digital presence, including your website, is up to par, is doing what it needs to do for you, is working for you, not against you, and that you're being innovative, you're thinking about it in a different way. Hopefully, you'll walk away either realizing, yeah, my website is doing some great things, or, maybe I need to refresh it, or I should probably have a conversation with somebody that's a strategist or a web developer. Hopefully, this season will give you some insights there.

[00:12:21.800] - Stephanie Feger
Before we get started, though, Sandy, I feel like we have to start with going back to what season two of the emPowered Author podcast was talking about, and that's all things author brand. I feel like we need to start there because I feel like a lot of authors that we work with usually come to us saying, I think I need a website for my book. You and I always try to help them understand that your book has a place, but you're bigger than your book. What do you think about that? When someone comes to you and says... Or when I come to you and say, hey, Sandy, we have a new author. Where do we start? What are your thoughts?

[00:13:04.380] - Sandy Wiles
I think a lot of people think that their book is their selling point, that that is their USP, their unique selling point. I just don't believe that it is. I believe that the author themselves is that brand as an author. You're building your website for your audience, whether it's. This book or your next book or the one after that.

[00:13:25.490] - Stephanie Feger
That takes some mental mindset shifts for some people because some people go, Well, they don't care about me they care about my book's message. Well, listen, I hate to break it to you, anybody that's listening right now, but it's likely that the core message you've written about isn't something someone else hasn't written about. But your perspective of that message is what's unique, which means you're the unique differentiator and they're going to be interested in you as it pertains to the book. Not the other way around.

[00:13:56.150] - Sandy Wiles
Right. I think it brings more emotion to the table. Emotion and trust are formed person to person, not person to book. I've read books and then meet the author or get more insight into the author and lose a little bit of love along the way. You're not building a relationship with a book, you're building a relationship with a person.

[00:14:17.270] - Stephanie Feger
Most people, when they see that there's a book that either someone recommended or that they found online or that they just picked up at a bookstore, they're not going to think, Oh, I'm going to go check that book online. I'm just going to go look it up. Most people aren't going to do that. They're going to read the book or not. But if they read the book and they liked it, then they might go, Oh, I wonder what else that author writes about, or I wonder what else that author provides. They're not going to go, Oh, I wonder what else that book can teach me. No, you've gotten what you can get out of the book.

[00:14:49.420] - Sandy Wiles
You wrote the book for a reason. You're using your talent, your experience, your voice. You didn't write the book just on a random topic that you aren't knowledgeable in. You wrote that book because it's a topic that you feel strongly about. For the reader to get some history on you as that person with those experiences and that talent, I think is what differentiates a really good author website.

[00:15:17.960] - Stephanie Feger
I agree. I think that authors that aren't embracing this opportunity to help bridge this book is like a door opener to what really they want the book to do for other people, whether that is more books, whether that is speaking engagements, consulting gigs, products, whatever that is, whatever that bridge is. The website is that conduit. It's the door opener for what's next. If you don't have that, you very well could be missing a lot of opportunities.

[00:16:00.810] - Stephanie Feger
Hey, Stephanie here. I wanted to pop in to the conversation to offer you a life vest if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by not having a website or questioning how strong your current one is or should be. Listen, don't fret about the past. Sandy and I want to help you move forward, and we've pulled together a tool to help you. Our Ready to Build Your Website Preparedness Kit, yes, it's as formal as it sounds, no, not really. It's a wonderful tool to help you ensure that you have everything prepped and ready. As you wave your white flag of surrender and ask for some website help, this tool will save you and your website developer time in the process. Visit empowerprgroup.com/website to download it today. Let's schedule time to chat and see if Sandy and I can help you with your website needs. All righty, back to the conversation.

[00:16:56.570] - Stephanie Feger
I've got some stats here, Sandy, I thought were really interested nice things. The PR Newswire has a report that came out February of 2021. Here were some really interesting stats in regards to businesses and websites. Listen, before I go into depth, I'm just going to throw this out here. I know you know this and agree with it. I believe that all authors are actually building a business, whether they know it or not. Many authors I call authorpreneurs because you've started a business when you wrote a book. I compare a lot of what it's like to be an author to what it's like to run a small business. Here's what some of those stats are: one of them, it says, even before COVID, many business owners noted that websites were essential for doing business nowadays. They acknowledged that. However, 28 % of small businesses had no website. That's problematic. Most small businesses, 71 %, do have a website, but building and maintaining it is still a challenge. We'll talk about that. Sandy Cidi's laughing. She's like, Yes, I know that. Then the last bullet that I have here, it says, The study also noted that a high quality website will be even more necessary this year, and we're in 2021 right now and beyond, because COVID has changed things. Many small businesses must build teams to keep up with customer expectations and demands. You all, if you hear anything from today's episode, it's this. Our world was digital before the pandemic. After the pandemic, it has completely gone digital. People expect this now. It's not a nice to have. It's a need, it's a must. Having a digital presence and a strong website can really help be that bridge. What does this tell us? I think it tells us that, A, we've always known that a digital presence is really important, but it's critical today. Like, Sandy, I'm trying to think, when I go to do anything nowadays, I'm looking online at their websites.

[00:18:51.580] - Sandy Wiles
Yes. Let's just be clear that saying you need a digital presence does not mean you have a Facebook page. It has to be in your control and run by you. It should be cohesive in all of your other places. But ultimately, that digital presence starts at your website.

[00:19:15.980] - Stephanie Feger
You can use me as an example. My husband and I live on a 25 acre farm, and we thought it would be fun to have a farm Facebook page in the off chance we decide to sell chicken eggs or produce. Just because people have fun watching what it's like to live on a farm. Randomly, we have no idea why, Facebook decided to unpublish our Facebook page and won't let us publish it. We're going to have to go through some extensive outreach to Facebook, and who even knows where to go to do that and spend energy to get this page turned back on. Well, if that was the only way that my business was running, I would be up a creek. I would be in trouble.

[00:19:57.400] - Sandy Wiles
As you say this, I'm realizing I haven't seen it in a while, but it hasn't been top of mind either. So eventually, I would have just forgotten.

[00:20:09.540] - Stephanie Feger
Isn't that crazy? It's not intentional, but it's literally in our world, 24-hour news cycle world with constant input and information. They don't realize what's not there. So you want to be visible and social can provide that, and we'll talk about all that later. But don't lean on that alone. You do need a place where you always are controlling your message, and a website is the way to do this. I think the other thing to note is I don't think you need a website to stand out anymore. I honestly think you need it to fit in. Websites nowadays, if you don't have them, then that's a red flag. There's something, in my opinion, it's like, I'm not sure the credibility of your business. I think it legitimizes who you are and what you want to do.

[00:20:56.770] - Sandy Wiles
Absolutely. I definitely stalk people. When I am thinking about working with someone or looking at a store, looking at anything, the first thing I look for is their website. A, to see if they have one, and then B, to see is it a professional... You could be the most professional person in the world, but if your website doesn't look that way, it can hurt your business.

[00:21:25.740] - Stephanie Feger
It can. You and I have giggled sometimes when we look at people's websites and it hasn't been updated since 2018. What does that tell me? It makes me question if your business is still working, still moving forward, or there's nothing worse to me. And of course, those who are avid podcast listeners know I'm a big fan of brand cohesion, and there's nothing worse to me than if your social media is all navy and teals and your website is pinks and purples. It doesn't merge, it doesn't mesh. If you've done a logo change and that's not reflected, if your messaging is off; I was actually helping somebody recently with some content and I pulled some content from their website to help me with pulling together this particular written piece. They go, Oh, my gosh, you reminded me. I need to update my website. That content is not accurate anymore. And it's like, Oh, yes, you do. So you really should always look at your website as that hub, as that starting point, and then allow that to be extensions on the way out. Your website will never be final. You're always going to be evolving your business and your work. So it's a good is good enough, perfect. You're never going to hit perfect. You want really good. Collaborating with the right people are going to ensure that it's really good. Just know that it's not static, it's dynamic. We'll talk more about that in future episodes, too.

[00:22:51.050] - Sandy Wiles
Yes, we will. Mine is always changing, always. I think that's.

[00:22:55.110] - Stephanie Feger
The problem of you being a website expert because you get to play it and you know.

[00:22:59.880] - Sandy Wiles
Yes, but it's also that coblish kid thing. It's always the last website that I work on. When I do get into it, I'm like, Oh.

[00:23:09.120] - Stephanie Feger
You're all into it. I know. Well, in preparation for this season, I was like, Oh, my gosh, Sandy, I've got all these ideas of what we need to do to bring my website up to speed and change things. You'll always be coming up with other ideas to level up. That's the third statistic I shared was talking about how people struggle with building and maintaining. I do think that that is a roadblock for people, but it doesn't have to be the thing that stops you. It doesn't have to be your wall. There's solutions there. I'm reading a book right now, Who Not How, and it's really cool. It's focused on don't worry about how you can get it done, worry about who can you collaborate with to help you do that. Sandy and I are here, we're happy to help. We want to remove that obstacle. We know that a digital presence isn't a nice to have, it's a must. But I do want to take a minute and talk through a few things that I had jotted down. What are some things that are some key reasons that could be holding people back from getting that quality digital presence? These are some things that authors have told me, Sandy. One of them is, this is my favorite one, "I love to write, but I hate to market." I'll never forget this one author, she is just a joy. I laughed out loud when I read her email, Sandy, because it said, "Stephanie, I would rather clean toilet than market." I was like, I didn't know people hated it that much. But it's true. I think because some authors just please give me more time to write. I don't want to market myself. I don't want to do anything that's marketing related. I think that that can be a hurdle. What do you think? I'm curious your thoughts on that, Sandy, and why they shouldn't let that stop them from getting a website up?

[00:25:00.140] - Sandy Wiles
Okay, so to me, those are two completely separate things. Your website is not marketing because your website is built, it is beautiful. You are having it maintained by someone who knows how to update things. But to market yourself, you still have to share it. You still have to keep writing. But I think people get confused with marketing, thinking it's this huge, big, scary, sleazy self promotion. I don't think it has to be.

[00:25:36.260] - Stephanie Feger
It doesn't. Honestly, Sandy, the people who don't like to do marketing, having a website gives them some opportunity around it because the website can help market themselves if you've done it right. If you've done it right and you write a really great book and you have a strong lead magnet at the end of your book and you direct people to your website and you put some systems in your website, then before you know it, people have bought bulk books or signed on to your book study or have decided to hire you because your website's that hub. Maybe they've bought other books.

[00:26:13.430] - Sandy Wiles
You like to write, so write. Just because you wrote the book doesn't mean you can't share thoughts or extra bits of information in your website. You're going to naturally share those on social media or in other ways. I think it all comes down to strategy. I know you and I both feel very strongly about strategy. It's easier to market when you have a strategy and the website is the first piece of that strategy.

[00:26:46.300] - Stephanie Feger
I am not a believer in strategy without movement. No, in movement without strategy. There are a lot of people in the marketing world will say, Oh, you need to do this and this and this and this and this and this. I just believe you got to know why you want to do that. And so all of this goes back to, well, why are you writing a book if you don't want to sell the book? And if there's a gap there, then let's have a deeper conversation. But the likelihood is you're writing a book because somebody needs that message, which requires a sale in between. And that is where this marketing component comes in. But you have to have visibility and your website can touch both of those.

[00:27:22.400] - Sandy Wiles
Yeah. And I think there is overwhelm in this world. The digital space is overwhelming. There are so many places to be and so much to do and a lot of gurus will tell you, you need to do them all. You and I both know that's just not... It doesn't work that way. You will have a natural passion. You're going to have a natural place where you fit. It's important to work with people who can help you figure that out.

[00:27:50.660] - Stephanie Feger
You need to find your whos, your people, your family, your professional family. You and I talk daily, you need people like that that you can feel comfortable with and trust who can help you in that process and do it in a way where you know that they know that your best interests are in their perspectives and everything that they're doing and you can trust them. The other thing I think to keep in mind is that being a successful author doesn't stop the moment you publish your book. Actually that to me, that's the first step in the success. Whether your level of success and the success metrics come down to book sales or impact or whatever, it all happens the moment the book is turned into a given an avenue to reach into the lives of other people. This whole concept of I hate to market, I think what that does is it tells me that you've got a couple of things to think about. One is, are you willing to learn or are you in need of a team who can help you in areas that you would say are not in your zone of genius? I would venture to say either is fine. There's not a right or wrong, but you need to ask yourself that. Maybe there's a happy medium where you learn and you get some help in the process. Yeah. My friend that would much rather clean toilets, listen.

[00:29:16.800] - Sandy Wiles
You can market authentically and it does not feel yucky.

[00:29:21.990] - Sandy Wiles
It doesn't. And actually, I've been thinking of a long time, Sadie, I need to write a blog around authentic marketing. I don't like the word marketing, actually. It's very icky feeling to me. I come from a background of communications and public relations, which is very relationship building versus marketing, which tends to be more transactional. But I do think in today's marketing world, there is a way to do it authentically where literally all you're doing is ensuring the people who need, want, and are willing to purchase the stuff that you have know that you're there. It's building the relationships and engaging with them in authentic ways that matter. That's something that your website can help you with, and it's something that the emPower PR Group can help with, too.

[00:30:01.270] - Sandy Wiles
I think another thing that holds authors back that I hear sometimes is there's this tunnel vision, like, I'm just focusing on what's right now. My recommendation is take a step back and look at everything you're doing holistically. Don't come at this trapped thinking, well, I'm just going to write... I'm just doing one book. When I wrote Color Today Pretty, I had no idea that I would be where I'm at now for four and a half years later. I thought that was a one and done book author. That was my thing, that I didn't limit myself. Don't get trapped in that thinking because that one book could be used in lots of different ways, but it could also be the door opener to others. When you look at your website and digital presence, that's why the author brand is so important.

[00:30:47.460] - Sandy Wiles
Yeah, I think it is. It is hard to think about... Again, you wrote that book for a reason. You had something that you wanted to say, something you needed people to do. There was a reason for it. To think that I published it and I'm done, I think it's near sighted. There are so many ways to help people outside of the book. It could be another book, it could be a workbook, it could be speaking engagements. There are tons of ways that that's going to expand. You may not see it right now, but it will expand.

[00:31:31.940] - Stephanie Feger
I also think that this is a good reminder that we need to not always think about ourselves. We need to think about those who are reading our books. What is it that they will want? Think about a book that you've read that you loved, and what were the actions you took from that? Did you go looking to see if they had other books or did you go looking to see if there was other ways you could learn from them or whatever? Those are things that your readers are going to be thinking about, too. Let's not be near sighted. Let's take a step back and look at all of your work holistically and figure out how can you think more like them so that you have systems and processes in place to meet their needs and in turn helps you build your authorpreneur brand.

[00:32:14.970] - Sandy Wiles
Yeah, sure. How can you provide more value outside of the book to keep people engaged and learning in what you are trying to teach?

[00:32:26.650] - Stephanie Feger
That actually takes us to the third bullet that I had jotted down that it's important, I think, for authors to realize that you need to really look for validity and credibility when someone's searching for you. The last thing you want is for someone to search for you and you're only found from when you graduated college and they shared that with your local paper. You want to ensure when they're doing a search that what they get and what they see proves that you're a credible author and you're someone that they need to invest in.

[00:33:01.150] - Sandy Wiles
That takes time. It's not an overnight thing. But there are a lot of ways, and I'm sure we'll touch on them throughout this series, there are ways to make sure that you're the first thing that comes up when people look and then it's a well rounded presence.

[00:33:20.260] - Stephanie Feger
I had one of my clients say, when I Google you, Stephanie, you pop up now in Google on the top right side in this weird little box that looks like you're someone super special. I'm like, I don't know how that happens. I don't know enough about all of the Google world and I don't pay for Google ads or anything like that. I think it has to do with how many searches I'm now visible in with all the podcast I've been on and guest blogging.

[00:33:48.570] - Sandy Wiles
There's probably very valuable information on your website. That's... Google cares.

[00:33:56.450] - Stephanie Feger
They care. And my clients who see that go, Oh, Stephanie knows what she's doing. That helps build my validity and credibility. I want you to think, author who's listening, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. I want you to think about these. One, do you want to speak on your book's message? Is that something you have a goal of doing someday? Do you want to provide coaching and consulting support one day? Do you want to sell derivative offers, other products, courses, other books? These are questions you need to ask yourself because your website can be a conduit to do these things. It can help you along the way because it really validates you bigger than just your book. It gives you a place to express the why. That emotion, the strategy behind why you wrote the book those are things people love. You can pull back the curtain and they can go, Oh, that's what it is. Oh, my gosh. Now they have this deeper level of affinity towards you. It also builds these loyal fans and those people, oh, my gosh, they're the ones out there promoting you for you.

[00:35:03.610] - Sandy Wiles
There's goals. Definitely goals. Yes.

[00:35:08.020] - Stephanie Feger
So, Sandy, when I'm thinking of this digital presence and today's topic, I'm finding myself reflecting on when it was 2018 and I was creating my own website and my own energy putting into it all. What I'm feeling is these feelings of overwhelm, which is what probably a lot of people listening could be feeling. It's almost, what do they call it, fear paralysis, this feeling like, A, I'm afraid to tell people what I'm doing because that's scary. How are they going to react? But B, it's scary because I don't know how to do it or I don't know how to afford it. Where should I be investing my money and my energy? I don't know. I get it, guys. I get it.

[00:35:54.280] - Sandy Wiles
I do too. I think it's important to acknowledge that if you're going through the effort to write the book, that's a process. It is not easy. You are writing it. You are going through the publishing process. It is finally in your hands. Then you send all your traffic to Amazon or to the publisher. You aren't reaping any of the benefit as the author. The person who put in the blood, sweat and tears to get it done, you really need to be thinking about reaping some of that benefit from it.

[00:36:35.430] - Stephanie Feger
If you don't know what the long term goals are that you have for yourself, that's okay. Creating the system like this will give you room to figure that out along the way.

[00:36:46.260] - Sandy Wiles
It is overwhelming. There are a lot of web designers, web developers. There are self hosted. The amount of options that an author has is overwhelming. That's an understatement. There are a lot of strategists, web developers who have one way of doing things. It is what it is. Now, I just believe that it takes one on one collaboration. It takes thought. It's a process. You're going to have to answer some questions in order to figure out where your best platform is.

[00:37:32.900] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah, it's not a one size fits all. Okay, we all know that we need to wear clothes, dull. But we all have different clothes that express what we do for different reasons. Not to go on that analogy, but unless you're in a nudist colony, you know you need it. Unless you live with your head in the sand, you know you need a website for your book and your business. Working with someone or finding the right team that gets you and then can help articulate that into the digital space, that is ideal, in my opinion.

[00:38:06.290] - Sandy Wiles
It is. I caution people to let anyone else tell you what it should look like, how it should be done, where it should be, because it's each individual, each book, each business, each individual is going to have a different need or needs.

[00:38:26.770] - Stephanie Feger
That's a good thing to consider those listening. If you go, Oh, my gosh, Stephanie and Sandy, a website. Now my head wants to explode. I don't know where to start. If you start reaching out to people and trying to get some thoughts, if someone comes and you go, Oh, this is what you need, and here's how it works. I almost feel like that should be a red flag for anybody because there's just so many options. It's okay if that's the one way they do it. But you really want to find an individual or a group of people who will listen to what your goals are and really help develop something that's going to be in alignment. And also, listen, keep in mind, like we said earlier, you might not know your goals yet. Your website, it's evolving. It doesn't have to be something that today you know everything about because you're going to evolve it and good is better than perfect. However, not good is not better than good.

[00:39:23.540] - Sandy Wiles
You are better off not having a website than having a bad website. I just think you're better off with nothing than bad.

[00:39:34.560] - Stephanie Feger
We know websites are important, but if you aren't ready to take the leap to do a good one, then pause and start figuring out how you can save up to do it, or pause and figure out what you want to do with it and then get a good site and know that that good site can evolve with you.

[00:39:52.880] - Sandy Wiles
Because it is your credibility. It is your reputation on that screen. I always tell people it is a lot of times the first contact anyone has with you. Before they have a conversation, before you Zoom, it could be the very first interaction with you and it should represent your book or your business really well?

[00:40:18.000] - Stephanie Feger
Well, people like to cyber stalk and especially businesses and authors. Not in creepy ways. It's just, let me figure out who this person is. Do they align with my values and how I see the world? You all, you probably cyber stalked me and tried to figure out. Who's this Stephanie girl and why is she sharing this? What's this all about? People do that and you want to make sure that they see something that is legit and strong because that will align with where you want to go. Sandy, the last thing that I want to just share before we wrap up this episode is something you shared with me, and I know it comes from a book. You'll know the book after I say it, and I've not read it yet, but I thought it was brilliant. It's the Do It Scared.

[00:41:05.230] - Sandy Wiles
Right. Ruth, I can never pronounce her last name. Soukup?

[00:41:10.180] - Stephanie Feger
Yes, I think that's it.

[00:41:12.120] - Sandy Wiles
She has a lot of brands and she does them all very well. But yeah, do it scared. It is a scary thing to even think about building a website because it can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. I always say it's the most exciting. For publishers, it may not be the most exciting because for authors, their book is pretty exciting. But from my perspective, it is an exciting and fun... It should be fun.

[00:41:48.250] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely, it should be.

[00:41:50.330] - Sandy Wiles
It shouldn't be overwhelming or hard. It should just be fun and exciting.

[00:41:58.880] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah well, do it scared, take the leap, and I'll align it with the analogy. The plane's going down, you're on the plane, you're stressed out, you have to jump, you don't have a parachute. All you have is a needle and thread. You create the parachute while you jump so that you can land softly. I share that because same is true with a lot of marketing stuff for businesses as you're getting your feet up and running, you're not going to know it all. You don't have to. You're going to figure it out along the way, but find the right people that you can trust in the process and realize you don't have to know how to do it. You need to know who can help you to get there.

[00:42:34.800] - Stephanie Feger
So, Sandy, I like today, just scratched the surface on why websites are important, but we are about to dive in really deep over the next five episodes on all different things on website specifics. And the next episode talks all about what are actually some of the key parts to a strong author website. So yeah, not all websites are created equal, and we're going to dive into what we think authors specifically need to consider on their website. Sandy, thank you for taking some time today to let us get inside your brain and talk all things website.

[00:43:07.810] - Sandy Wiles
Thank you. I appreciate it. Hopefully, it was helpful. It was.

[00:43:12.680] - Stephanie Feger
Super helpful. This has been fun. Looking forward to talking to you on the next episode.

[00:43:22.380] - Stephanie Feger
There is so much for us to talk about in this season of The emPowered Author podcast, but if you know me well, I always like to start with strategy, which is why this episode focused solely on that. Building a digital presence for yourself and your author brand shouldn't be something you question. Let me answer it for you, if you are. Yes, you need a website and likely a social media presence, but rest assured we'll dive into that on another season. A website provides validity and credibility to you, your business and your book too. And it works for you without you having to. If you hate to market yourself, let your website do the heavy lifting. In fact, use me as an example. One of my favorite and largest speaking engagements to date that I have secured came because someone Googled speakers in the area and my website sold them on what I could provide.

[00:44:17.060] - Stephanie Feger
Have you been thinking that a website is something you need or that you'd love for someone to take a peek at yours and see how you could improve upon it? Well, one of the first things that we work on with authors at the emPower PR Group is building or building upon their digital presence. Author friend, hear me when I say that you need this. Whether or not you would like myself or our team to help you, we want you to feel prepared when you go to bring your website to life. So we've created a tool for you. Consider it your website prep kit. The Ready to Build Your Website Preparedness Kit will provide you with insights on everything you need to make your website development experience easy peasy and run smoothly. And if our team can help with that experience, we'd love to. Visit empowerprgroup.com/website or see the link in the show notes to download that tool and learn more about how we can help you with your author branding digital presence. Remember, emPowered people emPower people. I've emPowered you now with your website in place, it is your turn to empower others.

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