Everyone has access to the tools needed to create a website. You don’t necessarily have to go to a web developer to create it for you. If you personally will create the website, then my advice will be to find what saves you time and money. Web developers are costly but you can do a website yourself. A website requires the following:
- Website domain: Your author name can be the best choice. Many hostings offer the option of purchasing and hosting the domain at the same location, but that is optional. You can buy a domain at Namecheap, Google Domains, Namesilo among others. Domains with an ending in “.com” usually cost around $12 per year. This can vary by $3 dollars depending on the service you buy the domain from.
- A hosting (this is costly, but the free options don’t need you to do this). This is where your website lives, and here is where your website domain is hosted. Examples include Godaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, Cpanel, Dreamhost, among many others. Hosting starts at around $15 per month for one website.
- Website platform: There are many options including WordPress, Weebly, Square Online, Squarespace, among many others. They vary in complexity. Wix actually already includes its own hosting, but it can get costly once you decide to have an online store. Websites platforms don’t charge unless they offer pro themes, plugins, apps, or services such as analytics and online stores. Cost can vary depending on what you need, but in general you are not required to pay for these. For online stores fees that come with credit card processing are part of the cost (around 3% in fees). Paypal, Stripe, and Square are some examples.
There are ways to create a website and online stores without much expense and effort. It all depends on all the functions you would like your website to be responsible for.
- do you want to sell your books on your website
- do you want to write blogs
- do you want to share news there
- do you want to offer book packages there
- will you offer a eNewsletter (email marketing)
With a custom domain, you can also consider a custom email address. Depending on the hosting, this can be free, but there will be a lack of functionality, or you can pay for custom email services such as Google Suite or Microsoft Outlook which offer more functionality. These cost around $6 dollars per month but include additional features and storage.
For those who want to have a career as a full-time author, then you should look into all the functions and services to consider. Remember that you don’t want to pay for all at once, you can always add on functionalities later on after you have built an online audience, and after you have published more than one book.