When you start writing or running a business, you will wonder whether to invest in a website.
I have tried everything in my journey. I’ve had no website, a DIY website on Wix, a wordpress standard theme website and a custom website. I have also tried many social media platforms!
With that experience behind me, I advocate that you save your pennies for as long as possible and use free platforms to showcase your business or books. Wait until you know what you truly need before investing time and money into a website.
Here’s what I recommend for new authors:
- Pick one platform you enjoy using – test a few first. Set up your there. When you set up an Author page on Facebook, you can provide information about yourself and your work, along with contact details. Twitter and Instagram allow less space in the bio.
- Set up an author page on Goodreads and include links to your books. Place the link to your Goodreads page on your Facebook site or in the bio of your other Social Media profile.
- Set up a mailing list landing page in an easy to use platform like MailerLite. A landing page is a URL page you tailor to capture people’s addresses or sell a product. This approach enables you to promote or sell your books and building up a base of readers without the need for a website.
For entrepreneurs not selling products, use a site like Redbubble to showcase creative work instead of Goodreads.
Still want a website?
If you prefer to have a platform under your complete control, you may still want a website.
In that case, my advice is to start simple.
I know people laud WordPress as being the best option for SEO rankings and design flexibility, but I am not a fan. I find it difficult to navigate and maintain, and need someone with WordPress experience to manage updates so the site does not crash.
I had a much better experience with Wix- I designed the site and forgot about it. All the updates and security issues were taken care of – allowing me to focus on more important matters. Wix sites are so easy to set up you can create one in a day- even if you have no prior experience. All you need to do is find a theme you like and tailor it using the easy to navigate editing options. Yes it cost me a fair bit more but I also had less grey hairs and spent less overall. The supposed SEO issues with my Wix site were never an issue, either, so I am suspicious of the Wix naysayers who raise that criticism.
Squarespace seems just as easy to set up and navigate as Wix, so that may also be worth a try.
The key is to find a platform that you can set up yourself and which does not require ongoing maintenance. See how you fare with a simple site then you can upgrade to something more advanced in future.
Sites and Sales – My Perspective
Interestingly, if you look at the sites of high-selling authors like Diana Gabaldon and Bernard Cornwell, you notice that they are not fancy at all. That tells me that you don’t need an expensive or complex site to make sales- you just need a darn good product and exposure.
Hold fire and keep things simple. Work out what you need before investing, and spend that money in areas that will propel your writing or your business.