There is ongoing debate about whether or not creatives need to have a web presence in addition to being on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.
Many authors and illustrators have decided that their presence on social media is sufficient.
Some, who have had websites in the past, have let them crash and burn and seem to have no intention of resurrecting them.
For those who dislike social media, a website is really essential.
One of the troubles with websites is that they can so quickly go out of date, both in terms of content and design.
It is important that an author or illustrator retains control of their site, and that updates are easy to instigate.
There is no point in having a fancy and elaborate website that can only be appreciated on a laptop. A website needs to be mobile-friendly – just as functional on a mobile phone as on a full-size screen.
Many people assume having a website will involve high ongoing costs. Not so.
Annually renewing costs are limited to hosting and domain charges.
An author/illustrator site should cost no more than £50 a year to host and the domain name registration (usually free in the first year) will be a further £10. So that’s £60 a year, or just £5 a month.
A simple WordPress site is relatively straightforward to set up; much more so than it used to be. There are other options but I would strongly recommend WordPress.
Many people will like to have a little help with this initial setup. There are businesses that specialise in website design. Expect to pay upwards of £500 for bespoke design services.
But help can be found from freelancers for as little as £100. My own fee for WordPress setup ranges from £100 to £500, depending on requirements. Most of my freelance time is currently spent copyediting but I am always happy to help authors with website issues – updating an existing site, or starting one afresh. Reach out (as they say) if you need some advice.
[Other freelancers can be found on Upwork.com]
Isn't WordPress for bloggers?
Not any more, it isn’t. It’s a rich and highly versatile CMS – Content Management System. A WordPress website consists of a mix of Posts and Pages. The balance is entirely up to you. If you don’t want to blog, you don’t need to – your site can consist entirely of menu-related Pages.
So, for as little as £150 in the first year and £5 a month thereafter, you could have a professional and functional online presence.
It's a good time to take stock and decide. Ask yourself:
- Do I need a website?
- Is my current website fit for purpose?
- Do I think an online presence is worth £5 a month?
- Can I set something up myself with the help of YouTube videos?
- Do I need the help of a freelancer?
- Am I flush with funds and able to hire a design company?
An example of a WordPress site we like is that of Lucy Christopher:
If you do not have a website currently,
or you have a site that is old and no longer fit-for-purpose,
take a moment to consider whether
a site like this would benefit your profile.