Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Indie Life--Zen and the Art of Website Maintenance
I tend to talk about writing business for these posts, and today is no exception. My focus today is author websites. I've known for a long time that it's important to have an author website, so sometime in the mid-nineties I bought sandraulbrich.com. I did my own website design, and boy, does it show. I haven't updated the site in several years. (Priorities change when you have a young child.) I think I used Frontpage or something similar to design the site, but I don't even have the program anymore. Given that I publish my work as Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, and given that I don't even have my books on my current website, something has to be done. Fortunately, there are at least two easy ways for an author to set up a website.
One way is to go through a service like wix.com. Wix provides free websites (with better features if you pay for an upgrade, naturally) with customizable templates. (Squarespace offers a similar service, but I think they're a little more expensive than wix.) I recently set up a new website with them at sandraulbrichalmazan.com; please check it out if you have the time. (I hope you think it's better than the old site!) I'm still playing around with features, but so far this is a lot easier to use than Frontpage. Wix provides a shopping cart for your website with one of the upgrades, something I may consider doing if/when it makes sense to sell books directly through my website. For now, I get most of my sales through Amazon, so I'll hold off on using the shopping cart until I have more of a fan base.
Another option for authors is to skip the website altogether and use a blog as their main web presence. Like Wix, Blogger and Wordpress both have customizable templates for layout and design, and since you can add separate pages to your blog, you can make it function like a website with pages for a bio, books, and so on.
If blogs and websites are so similar, is it worth having both? In my opinion, a website is more permanent than a blog, so it makes a better Internet base. On the other hand, a blog may be easier to maintain and keep updated. I have my blog feeding onto a page of my new website to combine them. Perhaps later on I'll try exporting this blog to the website so everything is in one place.
How about you? Do you have a website, a blog, or both? Where are they hosted? Do you have any blog or website maintenance tips you'd like to share with your fellow indies?