Continuing this post series with a tip for author websites:

Yes, you do need one. Here’s why…

Social media controls content and visibility. It’s not just Facebook hiding your posts; it’s Facebook deleting posts it deems unacceptable. It’s your tweets getting buried beneath a flood of millions of others happening every second of the day. It’s Instagram freezing or deleting company accounts. You are never in control of your content on social media.

And before you think your author profile on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords or your Publisher’s website is good enough, or that you can post blogs on Goodreads just as easily, think again. Those are all good things to set up to enhance your online presence, but they are not sufficient. Why? It’s still someone else’s sandbox, and you only get to play there as long as they let you. And if for some reason they stop playing nice, you could lose your content, whether it’s one post, or five years of posts. Forever.

You cannot control content on someone else’s website, no matter who it is, or how much you trust them. You can only control it on your own platform, and that is a website or a blog. Unless you post something that’s against the law, or a major catastrophe destroys the hosting company or servers, whatever you post on your website will stay there until you choose to remove it.

And now you will say that websites and blogs are dead, that everything lives on social media now. Even if that were true (which it isn’t) you can still share content from your website all over social media. The only difference is that if your social media post is removed, the original content is still live on your website. So instead of posting that image of the Birth of Venus (which FB might delete because of nudity) you can post it on your blog and share a link to it.

But websites take time, you say, and cost a lot of money! Actually, no they don’t. You can get free hosting on sites like WordPress, Blogger, or similar hosting services, and every one of them will have dozens of pre-designed templates you can use, so you don’t even have to be a coding genius to make a beautiful website in minutes (or hours, depending on how much content you want to post). My advice would be to pick one that gives you room for expansion and upgrades, and invest the $5-$25/year in a custom URL. Those babies are worth their weight in gold for an author. They move with you wherever you go.

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  1. Pamela Cummins

    Great points as usual, Alianne. Personally, when I see a website link that has WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Weebly, and so forth in it, it makes me think that the author or business might be living in poverty, doesn’t care about their product or service, and hasn’t taken the time to learn about their business or marketing. I understand about marketing a business on a shoestring, yet invest the very few dollars you do have on a proper URL. The other suggestion I would like to add is to put the URL under your author/pen name instead of your book or series title, this allows you to add different books and series, plus blog about personal experiences or another topic.

    1. Alianne

      That’s a good point about the URL! When I wrote this tip, I considered that to be self-explanatory but as I think about it, I’ve seen too many authors create strange website URLs that don’t include their name. That name is an author’s brand. It absolutely should be in the URL. 🙂 Thank you for pointing that out.

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