Every author needs a website. Establishing some kind of online presence is, in our opinion, essential to the promotion and success of your book. Whether this presence consists of five basic pages, or is a full-bodied, search-engine optimised, multimedia-rich web experience, depends on your budget and desires but the important point is to have a website.
Unfortunately, many website services sell you more than you really need at inflated prices. You can create a free website or a basic/advanced website for yourself but what is more important is the promotion and SEO of that website. Why? Consider the analogy of a marketing brochure. You could spend $100-$10,000 on a brochure but if you placed it in your top desk drawer and never let anyone see it, it is an absolute waste of money. Of course another factor to consider is your web design – does it look professional or does it look like you’ve done it yourself … what does it say about your book and you as an author?
Bottom line is this … don’t do a website if you’re:
a) Not prepared to put in some work towards promoting it.
b) Not going to undertake key word research and search engine optimisation.
c) Not prepared to create a website using a professional template or utilising the services of a web designer.
Would you throw $100-$10 000 out of a high-rise building and see if anyone handed the money back to you? NO, then don’t throw money at a website unless you are prepared to do A, B, C above.
When building a website – free or otherwise – you should:
a) Ensure that you (or a friend) can customise and make changes to the website easily. Web developers can make more money out of your changes than the initial outlay … a hidden trap.
b) Own your own domain name i.e. www.ron.gent.com; www.wherewearenow.com.au – costs are realistic to own your author domain/book domain name and it helps with SEO.
c) Place your website with a respected website hosting service – don’t leave it with a vanity publisher because you can’t control it. You can also probably cope with the minimal costs of hosting rather than the paying the inflated prices charged by website service or vanity publishers.