Do I Need A Website? — WN 033
Welcome to episode 033 of the Write Now podcast! Today I am answering the question, “As a writer, do I need a website?” I am also answering the inevitable follow-up questions of “Why?” and “How?” Stay tuned!
Though as you listen, please note: I am not a lawyer! So please take what I say in this episode as my own thoughts & opinions and not official legal counsel.
As a writer, do I need a website?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yessssssssssssssss.
Seriously, a website is a great tool for any writer, whether you’re a novelist, a blogger, a journalist, a poet, or… you know. Any other kind of writer.
First, I’d like to establish the need for every writer to have an online presence of some type (if not a website). Whether that’s a Twitter profile or an Instagram account, there’s a community of other writers and (perhaps more importantly) readers online that you can’t afford to ignore.
So why would you need a website if you already have a digital presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ello, etc.?
Because you don’t own those properties. Not 100%.
Home… home on the web…
You need a home on the web — a digital base camp — that you own and control fully. Here’s why:
You can more fully brand yourself — you’re no longer constrained by the blue boxes and formatting of Facebook, or the 140-character limit of Twitter. You don’t have to worry about being censored or having posts removed if you’re a fan of four-letter words.
Trust & credibility.
Your own website lends you trust and credibility. You can refer people to [yourname].com instead of encouraging them to find you on Facebook/Twitter/etc.
And you can set up email on your domain so that your queries and correspondences come from something like firstname.lastname@example.org instead of saucylibrarian82@hotmail.
Blog and write whatever you want.
Your website is also a great place to host a blog, where you can establish yourself as an expert in your field — whether that’s novel writing, poetry, book or music reviewing, technical writing, and more.
Build your audience, readership, or tribe.
Your own website is also a great home base from which to build your tribe, a.k.a. your audience or readership. Build loyalty, collect email addresses, send emails to the list you build, and more.
(For example, check out the black bar at the top of the Write Now website, where you have the option to sign up for the Write Now newsletter!)
Make the money you deserve from your work.
Finally! With a bit of finagling, you could sell your books from your website and not deal with the 30%, 60%, 80%, etc. costs of a middleman like Amazon.
How do I get my own website as a writer?
The awesome news is that you don’t have to pay an agency $35,000 for your own website. In fact, depending on what you want your site to do, it’s quite likely that you can make it yourself for a relatively small investment.
Here’s what I recommend, depending on your level of comfort with digital & web-based stuff:
I built my website on wordpress.org, if you’re curious. And no, none of these platforms is paying me to shill them (sadly). I actually do recommend them.
Measure your analytics & success.
Web analytics (such as Google Analytics, which is free and easy to install) provide a treasure trove of valuable information. Dive in to the analytics of your website to see what’s working, what’s not working, and adjust your website accordingly.
Use social media to your advantage.
Yes! Despite having your lovely new website home at you-dot-com, it’s still advantageous to use social media to drive traffic back to your website. So instead of posting your thoughts to Facebook/Twitter/etc., post them to your website and link to that post on social media.
My last piece of website advice.
However you choose to build your website (or if you have someone do it for you), the best advice I can give you is to keep it simple. Less is more online. Remember that and you’ll be just fine.
Do you have a website?
I’d love to know what it is, and whether you’ve found it valuable or not. Let me know via my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Originally published at www.sarahwerner.com on January 4, 2016.