4 reasons you should prioritize your author website over social media

author website

Nowadays, “web presence” is a big part of telling your story as a writer. In fact, the majority of your readers will probably discover you and your writing online first.

When publishing industry folks talk about “building a platform,” they’re often thinking about an author’s online presence, email list, social media following, blog activity, and web-based book sales. But as you establish your own web presence, it’s important to remember that your author website is more important than any single social media platform.

Here are four reasons why you should prioritize your author website over any social media account:

1. You need design control

Social media = generic profiles plastered with ads and other distractions. With your own site, you create a design that suits your vibe and functions the way you need it to. Plus, the layout won’t change unexpectedly overnight. (I’m looking at YOU Facebook!)

2. You need to own your relationship with readers

As mentioned above, social media platforms come and go. Your website is here to stay. When a visitor to your site provides you with their contact info, YOU own that relationship — NOT Facebook or Twitter — and YOU get to decide how and when you communicate with those readers. Your website is one of the best tools available for building your email list. And email is forever — unless someone gets a new email address and closes the old one, which is becoming rarer these days.

3. You need to create a rewarding user experience

Facebook wants users to click on paid ads for smartphones, laptops, and blow dryers. They want you to play MafiaWars and Farmville. It’s how they pay the bills (oh, and shareholders, too). On your own site, you call the shots. You can create a rich experience that feels more focused, personal, and clutter-free.

4. You need your own Dot Com

What’s easier to say and remember, “StephenKing.com” or “Facebook.com/StephenKingBooks?” Which do you think Google likes more when someone is searching online? Owning your own author domain name keeps things simple for you AND your readers. Plus, you don’t want someone else snagging that URL!


What do you think? Is your website more important than social media? Has it been a more effective book-promotion tool? Let me know in the comments below.

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Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."



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