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Yakima
08-01-2015, 05:05 AM
Publisher of my first commercially published book says I need a website. I hear they're expensive to create, and cost about $300 a year to maintain. Is this really necessary for a book that's definitely not going to win a Pulitzer?

Versailles
08-01-2015, 05:23 AM
If you're on a budget, try website builders Weebly or Wix - incredibly easy. I used Weebly and it was very simple and amazingly non-frustrating. They have templates and you could literally get a site up in a couple of hours. All you need is a landing page, a page about you, a page about the book, some links to where to buy, and voila. It's free, but you can upgrade - for a whopping $3 / month - so that you can have your own URL instead of www.weebly.com/yoururl.

AW Admin
08-01-2015, 05:32 AM
If you're on a budget, try website builders Weebly or Wix - incredibly easy. I used Weebly and it was very simple and amazingly non-frustrating. They have templates and you could literally get a site up in a couple of hours. All you need is a landing page, a page about you, a page about the book, some links to where to buy, and voila. It's free, but you can upgrade - for a whopping $3 / month - so that you can have your own URL instead of www.weebly.com/yoururl.

I would not use weebly or wix because you don't control your content; they do.

If you have no funds, I'd look at blogger.com or WordPress.com; I'd set up a free screw-around-and-test blog on each (one that you do not intend to use/keep make public) to see which works for you.


I'd also suggest not having a "landing" page as such; they're usually annoying. Have the top page of your site either be your About page, or an actual blog. Both WordPress.com and Blogger.com allow you to create "pages" as well as posts. Use Pages to create an About page, a Works page, and a Contact page.

I'd also suggest as a third alternative, if you don't want to maintain a full site or blog, using about.me as a minimalist alternative.

All three (wordpress.com, blogger.com and About.me) make it simple to purchase a domain registration and point your site to your domain. You don't need hosting to do this, and the domain should cost 15.00 or less a year.

Filigree
08-01-2015, 11:24 AM
I use WordPress but bought my own domain. Costs me about $45 a year with the security features I want. The blog isn't immaculately professional, and I'll get something better if I make a Big Five sale...but for now, it works as a catch-all site for my art, fiction, and rants.

Arpeggio
08-01-2015, 02:57 PM
If I was sarting off like you I'd use the Wordpress Content Management System (in other words Wordpress is a CMS). It makes it simpler to update for laymen. There are some pretty tasty WP sites out there that look professional. Make sure Wordpress blog patches are up to date and secure.

As Filligree said, buy your own domain. Buy it from somewhere separate to your webhost so you can point your domain name to a DNS (domain name server) of your choice, and therefore choose where you host your site now and in the future, if your domain is tied to your host that could cause an issue if anything goes awry with host or you want to change it. If you don't want your Domain name "squatted" on expiration and are sure you want to keep it, the max time you can rent it for is 10 years (and top it up every 1 or 2 years to keep it at 10). If you rent it year by year make sure you have renewal switched "on" with an up to date credit card and that your current active email is associated with your domain name account to receive notification of when expiry approaches.

Never talk about what you want your domain name to be over the internet, someone, or a bot, might scan it and check if it's already owned, then buy it if it's not then sell it to you for more.

Thelassa
08-01-2015, 03:10 PM
Cripes, I hadn't actually even considered that I might (someday) need a website. I haven't had one since my Computer Science class required me to create and maintain one for a semester in 2000 (ah, geocities.com). I've attempted to have a blog once or twice in the last few years, but I can't ever commit to it and most of what I have to say is said on facebook or webforums. I suppose if I manage to woo a publisher and get paid for my work, I can afford a domain. In the meantime, WordPress will do (if I must).

BradCarsten
08-02-2015, 09:00 PM
You can get it for much less than $300 a year.
A domain with Whois protection is under $14 a year from Namecheap.com
You can get cheap hosting from a number of place. Mine costs $4 a year. There are places that even offer free hosting.
I don't know what your tech knowledge is like, but if you don't want to run a blog, and would rather have a static site, you can download a free website template from opendesign.org and just tweak the original design. Alternatively you can get someone to do it for you for a once off payment.

Fuchsia Groan
08-22-2015, 08:07 AM
I have a related question: what is a good WordPress theme for authors? The free one I'm using doesn't have even the simple features I need, like a sidebar for tags and social media links. I'm willing to pay, but $100 seems pretty steep for the AuthorPro theme, which appears not to include a blog. Anyone have experience with that or other themes?

I just want an About page to display my book, a bio page, a blog and a nice, clean, semi-professional look, plus places to insert graphics once I have them.

Dennis E. Taylor
08-22-2015, 08:28 AM
I've signed with ARVIXE.COM . $4 per month (two years paid in advance), domain registration is free, their documentation sux but their tech support is reasonably good. Graphene free theme works for me.

Abderian
08-22-2015, 09:17 AM
I run the Taipei Writers Group website, and we use Runo Lite, which is a free theme with an authorly look: https://taipeiwritersgroup.wordpress.com/

AW Admin
08-22-2015, 10:06 AM
I have a related question: what is a good WordPress theme for authors? The free one I'm using doesn't have even the simple features I need, like a sidebar for tags and social media links. I'm willing to pay, but $100 seems pretty steep for the AuthorPro theme, which appears not to include a blog. Anyone have experience with that or other themes?

I just want an About page to display my book, a bio page, a blog and a nice, clean, semi-professional look, plus places to insert graphics once I have them.

There are loads of free themes for WordPress that will do that. The theme largely concers:

1. Number of columns (left, body, right, / left, body/ body, right, etc. (some have footers; some don't; some footers have columns, some don't).

2. Wordpress has Posts (blogs) and Pages (static pages for things like About, Contact, Portfolio, etc. )

It's built in to WordPress; the theme doesn't really matter.

mccardey
08-22-2015, 10:16 AM
I'm not sure that you *have* to have a website, but not having one makes procrastination harder...

oceansoul
08-22-2015, 11:58 AM
Another thing to try when on a budget, is Freelancer.com -- when I was looking for someone to do a custom blog template for me, traditional "author website builders" were going to charge me $350-1000 for a Wordpress site. I bought a custom one that I am pretty happy with off Freelancer.com for 75 and the designer is willing to do ongoing maintenance.

Interfaced
08-22-2015, 02:09 PM
Websites are very important imho because when done well they add a lot of legitimacy to your online presence. As others have said, it's important to have you own domain name with WhoIs protection (very cheap these days) and the website should have original content on it through a blog or collection of articles/stories.

This all comes with a caveat...do it properly! Layout, header images, font choice, colouring, all these thing should add together to create a pleasant and easy experience for your readers. Avoid the temptation to plaster your site with affiliate ads, they are incredibly off-putting. Take pride in your site and people will respect you and be interested in your work, throw one together without care and they will walk away.

one additional reason to become a blogger is because it lets you promote your book indirectly through relevant topics. If you check out my website (Future Conscience, link below - Wordpress site using Headway paid theme for custom layout) you can see the post on ocean cities which is a recent one I wrote to do just this. This post has had well over 500 unique readers at this stage, and could be posted on places such as Reddit legitimately. This approach lets you overcome the dreaded 'buy my book!' groundhog day on social media...which is necessary in a way, but much better to have some variety!

In my opinion, it's more important to build relationships then find one-off sales. A good blog will let you do exactly that very effectively.

Good luck!

Kay
08-22-2015, 10:06 PM
I have a related question: what is a good WordPress theme for authors? The free one I'm using doesn't have even the simple features I need, like a sidebar for tags and social media links. I'm willing to pay, but $100 seems pretty steep for the AuthorPro theme, which appears not to include a blog. Anyone have experience with that or other themes?

I just want an About page to display my book, a bio page, a blog and a nice, clean, semi-professional look, plus places to insert graphics once I have them.
I use the Kelly theme becuase I wanted simple, but there are many other free templates to choose from that include side bars for tags and social media links. I've tried out a lot of templates that looked much better, and more professional, once I played around with the colors and such.

Fallen
08-23-2015, 02:54 AM
Websites are vital, yes. :) I have a Contact Me page on mine and reviewing blogs have gotten in touch via it to ask for review copies. Readers use it too. Readers and reviewers look the website up for updates too, which I didn't realise and mainly kept to my blog, until a reviewer said she'd been over to try and find an update for a novel that she thought I'd have up on my main website already.

AW has a fantastic guide as to what to put on your website; it helped me set up mine. :)

SBibb
08-24-2015, 07:09 AM
Zoho has free webhosting, if you don't mind fighting a bit with their templates. Not bad, though. Pretty easy to update, once you have it set up. I use that for the basic website. I have a free Wordpress blog that I use primarily to make posts, though.

ZachJPayne
08-24-2015, 09:02 AM
I signed up with a webhost that specifically had one-click installation for WordPress (and Media-Wiki, too, which was a nice catch.)

I can have unlimited websites on the host for $120 per annum (the first year was $35, as a promotion). Each domain name costs $10 per annum.

It's not horribly expensive, and I imagine it can be written off in taxes. It's also extremely simple to use.

Super_Duper
08-25-2015, 07:55 PM
Wix is also a good option

benluby
08-26-2015, 07:53 PM
Good topic. Now to add my question to it; another poor author, and I want to be able to sell my books from my blog via paypal link. Any ideas of a site with a blog that would allow that to occur?

Jeff C. Stevenson
08-29-2015, 09:48 PM
I live in NYC so anyone who would create a website for me would be very expensive. So if you live in an "expensive" state, my advice: Go outside of state and you can get a GREAT website for a very affordable amount. I used an incredible company in Kansas City and they did a stellar job. Like a resume, a website is the first impression people have of you/your book so I do think it's worth your time/expensive.

knowthyreader
09-04-2015, 05:35 PM
Depending on the type of website that you want, it should be inexpensive, even for a self hosted website set up on the Wordpress platform, it doesn't have to be a blog BTW on Wordpress, a domain is inexpensive, web hosting is very cheap, a theme for your site (template) doesn't need to cost much.

For a year about $50