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?
I don’t buy most of your pro arguments.
Journalists and bloggers will go to whatever URL you point them to (If they decide to go at all). There won’t be any clutter if they arrive at a single page about the specific book that answers their questions.
SEO benefits in what specific way? For what specific terms? If you pick a unique title, there won’t be much competition for searches on your particular book. If your book is about cooking, I suspect the SEO value of people linking to your book page from other blogs and sites about cooking is as good, or better than, you creating a website for your own book. Lastly I don’t know how a URL is more professional or not than another for a book. Shortlinks mask long URLs well, and as long as the URL structure is sensible, gladwell.com/blink, for example, it seems just fine.The major con of a seperate site for me is I already have a main (popular) blog. Any new book gets more exposure through the existing traffic I already have than it is likely to generate on its own site.
You make fair points, Scott. To quote Dennis Miller, “Of course. That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”
Gladwell’s site is so clean and, maybe I’m biased, but I’ve got a good bit of non-book stuff on my main site. My understanding of SEO is not terribly advanced but, from what I do know, having the title of the book in the permalink really helps. I suppose that, you’re right. abc.com/mybook/blahblah.php might have the same impact as mybook.com.
“A good site will run you around $2,000”
Wow, where are you getting your sites developed? You can get a site up a lot cheaper than that!
Thanks for the comment, Doug. Yes, you can go cheaper, but in my experience customizing the site beyond the theme adds up.
hey. can anyone advise me. I’m about to publish my first book. I don’t know much about book writing yet. I was thinking of doing a Website for the book so that people’s can interact with me and and about the book.
do you think that good idea for me to go?
In short, yes.