I spent some time in the last week giving advice to a friend on setting up her website in preparation for the release of her novel. I thought I’d blog a bit about some of the things she and I discussed, since they are general topics that would be applicable to other people in a similar situation. This post is the first of a three part series that will cover a range of topics related to improving web presence and setting up an easily maintainable / manageable site.
If you don’t have some sort of web presence, I would highly recommend that you explore one. Social Media is absolutely critical to being found on the internet these days, however what social media site you use today may be quite different than the one you are using in ten years. Having even a basic website that people can find you from provides continuity in your web presence, allowing you to shift and change your social media preferences as you see fit.
The first thing you have to remember is that managing a website takes time and money. There are a wide variety of options that will have an impact on how much time and how much money, but they are both required commodities in this endeavor. As a general rule of thumb, the more of your time you are willing to put into the work surrounding the site, the less money it is going to cost you and vice-versa.
For example, if you go with a totally “managed” solution (meaning someone else does all the work for you) or you hire a web designer/developer, you won’t have to do very much work at all, mostly just manage the content. However, in this option, you will be paying a professional or a company (or hopefully both) to do most of the heavy lifting for you. That could be anywhere from $20 a month to thousands of dollars a year (depending on who, what, where, etc.).
On the other extreme end of the spectrum, you could be responsible for managing your web server, the database, all of the security patches, etc. You could take care of everything, including the content. In this scenario, you could easily spend less than $100 a year to maintain the site. However, you would be on the hook for everything that goes wrong and would spend time away from your other job/writing/activities managing the site.
Most likely, you’ll wind up somewhere in the middle.
Make sure to check back in a few days, or subscribe, for part 2 which will talk about some of the components you should consider for your site!