Monday, June 25, 2012

How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website


It's time for another series! This time I'm going to discuss how a writer can build a platform, what a platform is and why she/he would want to build one. We're going to start off small, though, so today I'm going to write about why I think every writer needs a website.

How To Build A Platform, Part 1: Why Every Writer Needs A Website

The question of whether a writer needs a website is close to my heart because it's one I struggled with. I now believe that the answer is a resounding "Heck ya!".  And this is coming from someone who went the other way and started off with a blog and no website.

Why did I go with a blog first and plan to develop my website later? Honestly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, it's because I have a background in website development and was tired of building sites--I'd put that life behind me--so I decided, this time, I'd let Blogger.com do all the work.

For the record I love my blog. I mean that. I love it, but it's just not enough. I realize now that I need a website too. (That said, my blog isn't going anywhere, it will always be here at blog.karenwoodward.org, but my website will be site.karenwoodward.org and run off a hosting service. But enough about me.)

a. Why writers need a website and not just a blog
When I first started writing in earnest I began a blog on Blogger. This blog. And, as I said, I love my blog.

Blogger has been very good to me. It has automatically added certain tracking features that, when I took out my free Google Analytics account, showed up and gave me helpful information.

Since I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning--I hadn't even heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)--Blogger helped save me from myself, got me indexed with Google and Bing and whatever other search engines are out there. Also, Blogger gave me a great dashboard and made available many articles about how to make the best use of its features and it pointed me toward a great, free, book on SEO that Google had put out.

In other words, blogger held my hand and helped me get up to speed. And I'm saying that, even so, you will eventually need a website.


b. The difference between a website and a blog
A blog is something that gets updated frequently while a website (which may or may not contain a blog) is more about establishing a permanent presence on the web.

It's your website's domain name (for instance, www.mysite.com) you'll list on your business cards and your website is where you'll do things like:

- keep information about each of your books,
- have links to where folks can buy your work,
- host a series of articles,
- have a tab for your current promotion or
- host a page that has information about your next book.

Could you do all these things on Blogger? Theoretically, yes. But you wouldn't have the kind of control a content management system like WordPress can give you.

In another post we'll discuss content management systems as well as the pros and cons of using WordPress. Stay tuned!

Update: For more articles on how to build a platform, click here: Building A Writer's Platform

Cheers.

Other articles you might like:
- How To Start A Blog
- How To Format A Word Document For Amazon's KDP Publishing Program
- 7 Tips On How To Get Your Guest Post Accepted

Photo credit: "NY" by Missi under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

"How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting. I plan to do a more "permanent" website at a later time, but I find my blog keeps me plenty busy as it is.

    Still, your argument has merit. Something to ponder...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi RD, thanks for reading. Let me just say that I love your blog!

    This post grew, in part, from the realization that I wouldn't easily be able to use Blogger to do certain things I very much wanted to. Even so, I don't regret starting this blog on blogger, and it's not going anywhere.

    That said, if I could have given myself advice when I was setting this blog up, I would try to set up my website at the same time as I was developing my blog.

    That's my 2 cents at least! :)

    ReplyDelete

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