Author Websites

Do you need an author website?

  • Are you trying to sell just one book and that’s all you plan to have? — Then you might not need a website (although you might need or want one), and you might not need an email campaign either.
  • Are you trying to sell just one book with more planned or have several books? — Then yes, you need an author website.
  • Are you working on becoming (or are you) a full-time author? — Well, definitely.

I’ve been building simple websites for author-clients and recently updated my own, so here are a few tips with examples.

First, I ALWAYS question what I’m about to do. Do I really need this? Do you need a website? Do we need a company newsletter? Do we need a special program for ____? Do we need project management software or to find a platform or will a spreadsheet do? Anything you do typically involves effort, cost, time. So make sure anything involved will have some kind of benefit, first.

Next, what’s best for you? I’m writing this post for DIYers, actually, assuming YOU are your web designer. And here are a few conclusions I’ve reached in my recent work:


  • WiX is easy to use, immensely popular, and has a free plan that is upgradable. I’ve used WiX myself and it’s GREAT for simple websites, as well as for more complex or even elegant websites such as this example created by the pros at PRESStinely for a client we worked together with:
  • SQUARESPACE is like WiX but more impressive, more beautiful themes, but no free plan.
  • WORDPRESS is supposed to be the most-used platform in the world, and what I use. I buy my domains with GoDaddy, host with GoDaddy (and maintain with cPanel) and use a “” theme and widgets. “” is only different in that it is a paid service that includes your hosting.
  • SYSTEME.IO is a platform I found when looking into ClickFunnels (but I was too cheap to press “BUY.”) And I’m glad I did, I LOVE Systeme. It has EVERYTHING—blog/web builder, email campaigns, webinars, email marketing, even a “community,” and a generous free plan that is not even comparable to the competition. They shut me and a client down out of nowhere one day, so I stopped and went back to my established WordPress site (which I’ve had for at least 6 years), but their customer service has since been WONDERFUL and fast, and I HIGHLY recommend (I still use and recommend them!)

While I won’t get into email marketing much here, most of the above platforms have it built-in or you can use AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit and others and “integrate” them into your website (often with just a “widget” or code you insert somewhere). I’ve decided to stick with my WordPress site and use Systeme for my email marketing. It works great so far and as far as other options such as a community, courses, webinars, I can add them to what I do with Systeme or with “plugins” available with WordPress.

As part of my research I wanted to have several options for web builders that offered free plans so i could easily place clients with them, and they could upgrade if they wanted to down the line. Most of the above satisfy that as well.

The downside to ANY web builder that sends emails (or any invoicing service for that matter) is they often simply shut you down without notice and there is often a wait and verifications to get rolling again. This has happened to me with PayPal, Square, and, and I get it. Security is a big deal with all the dirtbags who game it for various reasons. But why can’t they be more like Wells Fargo, who when they have a bell go off, even if they block a debit card purchase I get an INSTANT text to see if “that’s me” and I can keep things going. Just beware and be ready.

Your web form will depend on how you want it to function. When I started out I just wanted to prove my existence, share testimonials and contact info. Today, I want it to do more, including (a) share what I know so it helps people self-publish, (b) engage and warm with people who are likely to be in “my tribe,” and (c) make it easy for people to enter my “ladder of services,” which is roughly “free podcast to book to consultation to hourly author services.”


In a new approach I am working on, I think an author should give away a substantial amount of writing so people can decide IF they want to sign up and connect with a writer, first. Part of that is accomplished with what I call a “sympathetic character bio” (SCB) by letting people know a little more than the usual author bio filled with braggadocio. Consider mine of course, or check out what I did with Robert in his bio and sample-rich website here:


Modeling is one of the best ways to conceive of what you should build for yourself. In this spirit I recommend checking out authors who have likely built their platforms with their websites, or who seem to use their author websites very successfully for THIER purposes, and in that list I’d include:

and others, of course.

Think of authors you like and check out their websites!


On the other hand, I’d look at “BIG FIVE authors,” those who are household names and are signed with Big Five publishers, with a grain of salt. Their websites often seem like after-thoughts rather than tools they used to get where they are. Their sites often seem like simple catalogs, which is all they need I suppose, but for the rest of us, we’re probably better off modeling after authors who rolled their sleeves up and found a way to make their sites help build their platforms, rather than being built once they were big.

Your web site can be a marketing hub, a meeting place, a billboard, and an excuse to meet and greet your very own tribe. And there’s a great solution for everyone if you know what YOU are looking for.