You’ve decided to write a book. It’s a big step and it’s time to make another big decision: Does your book warrant its own website.
Opinions vary on the matter, even among people who’ve done very well selling their books. The short answer is: it depends.
I am biased towards building sites under certain circumstances, as I offer that as one of Motion’s services and even have done it for small business owners with no intention of writing books.
Another web property devoted specifically to the book can only help you.
Building and branding a book-specific site is a great way to help media types, partners, prospective buyers, and journalists cut through the clutter. I launched sites for my last two books because my main site contains a great deal of information about all things Phil. For instance, a reporter only interested in The Age of the Platform may not have the time or desire to navigate what to her are extraneous pages.
Next up, there’s the SEO benefit. Another web property devoted specifically to the book can only help you. Finally, there’s the professionalism argument. A site like blogspot.YOURBOOK.com isn’t nearly as clean as YOURBOOK.COM. All else equal, you’ll be taken more seriously if you have a book site than if you don’t.
The case against a standalone website may sway you. First, there’s the cost factor. Building a powerful site isn’t terribly expensive, but we’re not talking about $50. A good site will run you around $2,000, depending on the development options. If you don’t know how to use the content management system, then you might have to invest in training.
What’s more, the one-time development fee does not account for the time that you’ll spend working on the site. Maintenance, posting updates, and adding content all give people a compelling reason to return to your site—but this takes time (unless you’d like to outsource it, of course).
Think about the following:
- If you have a highly trafficked site already, then maybe you really don’t need another site.
- If you don’t have any web presence, get yourself a main page first.
- Also, ask yourself what you want your book to do for you. If you’re a computer consultant and like to cook as a hobby, then writing a cookbook is great. You probably don’t need a specific site, though.
- If, however, you want to make a splash, a dedicated site is the way to go. Perhaps your book is an extension of your brand and a potential money maker (via extra consulting, speaking, and writing fees), you may well want to build a new site for your magnum opus.
What say you?