Do I need an author website or writing blog? (and what’s the difference?)
Here’s a question I hear all the time:
Do I need an author website or writing blog?
The short answer? Yes.
What’s the difference between a website and a blog?
A blog IS a website. That’s it. A blog is just a cog within the great machinery that is your website. A giant, important, multi-faceted cog. But still. A blog is part of a website.
Think of it like this: a newspaper is like a website. Every page is branded with the same header. Every day, it’s printed with the same font. The bios of its reporters only change occasionally. And it’s easy to tell at a glance the difference between the National Post and Metro.
A blog is like the articles within that newspaper. Every new copy of the Toronto Star features new articles and announcements within the larger structure of the newspaper. Blog posts are the content that keep your website current and ensure readers keep buying the paper / returning to your site.
So, tl;dr: if you have a blog, you’ve got a website.
Can I just have a website?
Sure you can.
I’ll be writing a longer post about why I think it’s important for writers to blog, but off the top of my head?
Writers need a blog to:
- build readership and attract fellow writer folk
- introduce readers to your writing style
- keep readers coming back
- establish yourself as an expert
- get inspired / fight writers’ block
- improve SEO (be more find-able on Google)
But if you’re not ready to blog yet (new to technology / too busy / working on your plan / etc.), that’s okay.
Every author needs a website, even if the content stays static.
If you do go the website-only route, though, it’s a good idea to choose a website tool that has the option to add in blogging later (I recommend WordPress), just in case you change your mind.
Do I need either?
“Seriously though,” you say. “I have a busy life. I should be spending time finishing my book. Why must I website-ify?”
I hear ya.
But yeah. You need a website.
And I don’t throw the word “need” around lightly here. You can get by without Facebook, without Twitter, without YouTube. However…
YOU NEED A WEBSITE.
Reason # The Most Important: You own a website.
Your website is your digital homebase, and you hold the deed to prove it. That space is all about you, and you’re in full control of everything that happens there.
Facebook can delete your account any time it wants. Instagram might go bankrupt tomorrow and fold. Twitter might change its Terms of Service to outlaw all promotional content.
But on your website: you’re the boss.
Reason # 2 through lots:
- you can attract readers / writer buds
- you want to look professional
- you can control your message and reader experience
- you can be discoverable online to: readers, agents, media
- you can announce events (book launches, conference appearances, author readings, etc.)
- you can sell your books (PayPal buttons, Amazon links, etc.)
- you can build a mailing list
- agents and publishers will Google you
- and on, and on, and on…
So yeah: website = must-have for writers.
(P.S. This applies to pre-published writers too. Websites need time to grow. Besides, you don’t want to start your online platform at the same time as planning your book launch, right?)