All the big writers (and plenty you’ve never heard of) have one. A website is where everyone from readers to journalists can easily learn about you, read your work and contact you. So how can you get one?
Ask anybody in marketing or advertising and they’ll tell you a website is a tool to generate enquiries about your service or product. So while it’s unlikely you’ll make a sale of your novel just because you have a website, to many it means the difference between an overworked homemaker on the back room PC and a professional who treats writing like a business — even if you’re an overworked homemaker on the back room PC.
However you build your site, it will be a collection of (mostly) HTML and image files, a quite specialised skill. Engaging a professional web development company is expensive, and for an everyday 5-7 page website you could be up for a couple of thousand dollars. That kind of professionalism might suit you, but if you’re a struggling writer like most of us, there are more options.
If you’re computer savvy enough, you could invest a few months into learning basic HTML. Plenty of free or cheap programs let you build a website just like you assemble words and graphics in a word processor, writing the HTML in the background. But be careful — most of them produce clunky, unprofessional-looking sites and you have very slick competition. If you just don’t have the time or interest, find a knowledgeable freelancer.
Some services provide a templating service where you sign up online, launch your website with one click and start changing colours, layout elements, applying text and uploading pictures yourself via a user-friendly interface in your browser. While they seldom break design barriers, they’re serviceable, robust and usually include the hosting.
There’s also been a shift away from dedicated HTML knowledge with the rise of the producer/consumer. A new blog is published every 8 seconds, and the reason is simple; it’s ridiculously easy. Essentially a web page to which you make regular updates, there are a million free blog services. You can be signed up and blogging away in a few clicks, usually with a bit of freedom to manipulate your design as well.
A Google search will reveal literally thousands more blog, software and template sites, but the following are among the most popular and powerful.
Free Templates Online