Questions Authors Ask: Why Pay for a Website?

As an author you’ve probably heard about your author platform and how you should be working on growing it. The world of social media is at your fingertips. It might seem like all of your marketing could be done through these free channels.  So some authors ask, “Social media options are free, so why should I pay for a website?”

It’s a great question.  

You can get a lot done by using social media alone. And you should be using some social media to help build your author platform. But a website can offer way more. Read on to consider the advantages of pairing social media and a website.

An author site creates an online hub for your digital marketing that YOU have control over. 

The trending topics on Facebook and Twitter are an ever changing tide of information.  Even the platforms themselves are constantly growing and changing.  At some point in time, every popular social media stream will peak and start to lose momentum.  You have no control over any of those forces.  So while you might want to ride the wave of their popularity and success for awhile, you may not want to build your house on it.  A personal author website establishes a home for you on the internet where you are in control.  So whether you are Facebook savvy or a Twitter addict, you can funnel all of that traffic to a location that can continue to operate the way you want outside of the social media waves.  

An author site establishes an identity for yourself that is not dependent on your publisher. 

If the only accomplishment that you want to celebrate is a single masterpiece, then you could adequately advertise on social media alone.  But if you’d like to establish a career in writing, having your own website can give online identity that remains the same no matter who else is involved with your projects. Publisher-created pages for their authors can be nice, but usually don’t include any personality or many of the items I think every author website should have.

An author site creates a professional contact point that can draw potential publishers, distributors, book stores, etc to your brand.

If you are only relying on social media to launch your brand, it may be less likely that those in the industry will get the impression that you may want to make.  Having a personal author website can show that you are an established and professional author.  The forethought and commitment put into an author website can establish you as a legitimate author who is here to stay. 

Consider these elements as you decide whether or not an author website is necessary for you to promote your work. If you decide you want a website, make sure it’s done right.  A poorly done website can do more harm than good. 

Have you promoted something solely through social media before, without the backbone of a personal website?  Was it a success, or would you do it differently next time?  Please share your experiences in the comments below. 

Potential Publishers want to see a website

Whether you’ve finished your manuscript or not, if you’re trying to pitch a book to a publisher what’s the first thing they’re going to do to learn more about you? Google you. Having a real website shows that you take yourself seriously as an author and have the foresight to have already begun building your author platform. If you don’t have a website already the first thing your publisher-appointed publicist will have you do is get a site going. Better to get the jump on things and build it first.