When should you pay for a website? If you pay for a website, what’s a good rate? Should hosting include the registration fee?
Paying for your own author website is optional and the cost depends on the path you select. You can use free services such as Blogspot or WordPress or you can create your own website and either pay to have it hosted (in which case you’ll build it) or you can pay a firm to design and develop it for you. Free is best if you just want to get something up and running quickly and want to maintain it yourself. Blogger and WordPress both have impressive features for do-it-yourself sites. If you want something more flexible you can go with a hosted service, which often includes a site builder tool that doesn’t require you to know HTML. These usually have a monthly fee associated with them that you pay up front for a year or more. It’s more than free but not too expensive. Usually less than $10 a month. The final option – having a web development professional build your site – can become quite costly depending on who you select, where you are located, and what you want for the site. It would be almost impossible to nail down a typical price for this service with so many factors at play. If you go that route, the best tip is to know your budget and your business goals for the site… then be flexible in what you get with the website so that it fits your budget and goals.
So, you have to resolve in your own mind what you want to do first. For some authors, having a Blogspot or WordPress blog is enough. The important thing is to know what path works for you.
One note: If you pay for hosting, registration might or might not be included for free. The website might do is say, “Oh, look! Our fee is $100 but we include registration in with the hosting!” So basically, your $10 fee is still in there somewhere. Obviously, if they do include registration fees, then you want to find the bundled fee that is going to be the lowest. You can also mix and match your options. For instance, you can buy the domain name you want, for around $7 or less through most domain registration services (like godaddy.com, register.com, and others..) and then find another provider to design and host the site.
You want to be able to compare services well, so know what you’re getting before you type in your credit card numbers to “buy that site.” If you’re not that experienced in these matters, you may want to consult an expert on starting your own website or check out other articles about author websites here on the Author Learning Center. Or perhaps your publisher or publishing services provider might be able to help you start a website. That would probably help you immensely, and plus it’s one less thing you would have to worry about.
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