Making an author website

Hello. I’ve been making my author website over the last week. And I’ve decided to include a blog – the one you’re reading right now! Which means that I can’t put the site live until I’ve written an inaugural post. And I thought what better subject than to share my thoughts on the process I’m currently knee-deep in: making an author website.

There’s either too much information on this or not enough, depending on how you look at it. By which I mean, there’s plenty of info out there but authors’ circumstances vary so wildly that none of it is definitive.

But here’s my experience with it. All I wanted my website to do was look relatively professional and offer a blog and some basic information about my book(s). It didn’t need to be complicated (I only have one book, after all!) and I don’t expect it to be a major source of sales. So, after some extensive googling, it felt to me like there were basically three reasonable options:

One. I could pay someone to make a website for me. This would no doubt have got me the best end result, but also would have been the most expensive option. At least initially. When I have more complicated requirements, this might be the best option.

Two. I could use a site like wix or squarespace. These sites provide you with some very nice website making software. You pay a monthly fee to get access to the software and to cover the hosting costs for the site you build with it, all in one subscription. I’m sure these services are great to use, but they’re not cheap. If my website was a main source of my income, then I’d consider them. But for my simple use case I couldn’t really justify the cost.

Three. I could opt for managed wordpress hosting. This is the one I went for, so it’s the one I’ll say the most about.

If you’re not familiar with it, wordpress is a piece of software that provides both a simple interface for editing a website and everything needed to display that site to a user. Both of these things run on the same server, so if you visit a wordpress site you’ll either see the website itself or the editing options depending on whether you’re logged in as an admin or not.

The wordpress software is free. So managed wordpress hosting essentially means renting a bit of server space (which you’ll have to do anyway, for any kind of site – unfortunately this is not free) which comes with wordpress already installed on it. The hosting provider then takes care of keeping your wordpress installation up to date, while you can just log in and build the site you desire.

Many hosting providers offer a series of free templates you can use, to make them stand out from their competitors. Unless it’s changed by the time you’re reading this, the site you’re looking at is based on a free template for a sushi restaurant! That required some outside-the-box thinking, but made the whole process a lot easier.

Looking back, I’m happy with my decision to go with managed wordpress hosting. I got the site, the domain and a few other goodies for roughly £60 per year (for the first three years, at least). You could easily spend £20 per month on some of the other options. And wordpress isn’t the easiest software to use, but the worst you can say is that it’s fiddly (as opposed to utterly baffling).

Of course, wordpress is primarily known as a blogging platform. And it does make blogging extremely easy. Which brings us back to where we started…

Thank you for reading my inaugural post!