Building An Author Platform From The Inside Out

By Judith Ingram
Guest Columnist

Two years ago my publisher released my first book—a nonfiction Christian devotional on forgiveness. In keeping with my contract, I established a website to advertise my book. However, I had no marketing strategy nor a clear idea of how I wanted to interact with readers.

My modest website sat in cyberspace virtually unnoticed, like a business card lost in a pile of advertisements cluttering the kitchen counter.

This is what the Home page used to look like:

My original modest website.

My original modest website.

When I received a three-book contract for a fiction series, I knew I had to get serious about my author platform. I had learned enough about social media marketing to realize that I could not produce a professional website and blog on my own. Woefully lacking in technical know-how, I needed someone to help me redefine my online presence and develop a strategy to attract and serve readers.

Enter Laura Christianson and Blogging Bistro.

Laura came to my attention as the keynote speaker at a writers conference I attended. Her response to my inquiry was immediate, warm, and reassuring. She quickly assessed my needs for an author brand, a more professional website, a blog, and a social media strategy. She was willing to work within my budget to develop a custom website tailored to fit my needs and personality.

I expected to begin with a website redesign, but Laura had a different idea—she started inside my head. She assigned exercises to help me define my core beliefs, my reasons for writing, and a general profile of my ideal audience.

Through online coaching and phone conversations, she led me beyond the goal of merely selling books online to a brand identity and ministry goal stated as a promise to my readers:

That I would help and encourage my readers—particularly those who seek God’s wisdom—to grow through painful life experiences and discover peace and joy.

This promise became the kernel around which every aspect of my author platform was subsequently constructed.

Once I had established a clear purpose for my online presence, Laura and her team worked with me to develop a website strategy and design. I looked at dozens of websites, color palettes, and font families and shared what I liked and disliked about each until we came up with a design that perfectly reflected my taste, personality, and ministry goals.

Here’s the Home page of my new website, JudithIngram.com:

Judith Ingram Website600

My new custom-designed WordPress website includes an easy way for visitors to subscribe to my devotionals, my blog, or both.

She coached me through the basics of blogging and helped me post my first articles. After the website launched, she continued to monitor and tweak my pages for several weeks until everything functioned smoothly and efficiently.

JudithIngramFacebook385

My new Facebook page matches the look and feel of my website. https://www.facebook.com/JudithIngramAuthor

Aside from her professional expertise, Laura brought her warm and intuitive personality to our working relationship. She knew what questions to ask, paid close attention to my responses, and was always encouraging and optimistic. She made it clear that this was my project being tailored to meet my needs and preferences, and although she made many suggestions, she never pushed for her own ideas. Throughout the process I felt respected and valued.

Now that my website is launched, of vital importance to me is Laura’s willingness to continue technical support. I am grateful to rely on her for future changes and additions to my website that will require technical expertise beyond my capabilities. That plus the prospect of staying connected with Laura’s fun and engaging personality I consider pure grace.

  • Katherine Jones

    Judith, I enthusiastically second everything you say. I recommend Laura and her services to everyone I can. She continues to be my go-to resource for sorting out every social media perplexity.

  • Katherine Jones

    Judith, I enthusiastically second everything you say. I recommend Laura and her services to everyone I can. She continues to be my go-to resource for sorting out every social media perplexity.

  • Beautiful website!

  • Beautiful website!

  • Thanks, Katherine. That is very sweet of you.

  • Thanks, Katherine. That is very sweet of you.

  • Different design team than created yours, Jennifer, but I like both yours and Judith’s. They express your individual personalities and cater to your unique audiences.

  • Different design team than created yours, Jennifer, but I like both yours and Judith’s. They express your individual personalities and cater to your unique audiences.

  • Yeah- the other team did well too!

  • Yeah- the other team did well too!

  • Dawn Carrington

    Your website is simply beautiful, Judith!

  • Dawn Carrington

    Your website is simply beautiful, Judith!

  • Nicely done. It was a big transformation and Laura and her team did it well. 🙂

  • Nicely done. It was a big transformation and Laura and her team did it well. 🙂

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