I discuss author websites and mailing lists in this post. Along with the advice, I provide pointers to my favorite mailing list and website hosting services.
Rather than building suspense, I’ll provide the short answer to this question right up front.
Websites cost money to license and require time to build, maintain and feed with information in the form of blog posts. I’d much rather spend my time writing books than writing blog posts. Once you finish deploying your website, you must spend additional money and effort driving traffic to your website. In the end, whatever revenue you can generate through product links won’t be enough to compensate you for your labor and expense.
You don’t “need” a website.
I generate the bulk of my book revenue from my mailing list. You should spend your time, money and energy on expanding the size of your mailing list. This requires a simple landing page sign up form rather than a huge website. Your mail service provider hosts your landing page, so it doesn’t represent an additional expense. Rather than writing blog posts, write weekly newsletters that provide the reader with useful information while promoting your books.
You “need” a mailing list and sign up form.
If you already own a website, continue to maintain it and use it to promote your books. Add an embedded mailing list sign up form to your website to gather subscribers.
If you don’t own a mailing list, now is the time to start one. A landing page sign up form is all you need as far as a web presence.
Mailing lists are lists of email addresses for the individuals who have subscribed to a mailing list to receive helpful information along with promotions via email. Using a mailing list is a great way to promote your books, and it requires much less effort to maintain than a website. Email lists are stored on mail servers that possess special dispensation to distribute thousands of emails without being shutdown as a spammer. You need to pay an email service provider to maintain your mailing list and landing page.
I maintain my mailing list with a hosting service named MailerLite. Like MailChimp, its biggest competitor, MailerLite offers free hosting for lists of fewer than 1,000 subscribers. The cost of hosting your list goes up as you gain subscribers.
If you don’t own a website, consider starting one eventually. Start small and build upon a solid foundation. Create a simple non-blogging website to promote you as an author and your books. Include a mailing list sign up form.
I maintain this website with a hosting service named Hostinger.