Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
We are continuing our analysis of various website services, keeping authors in mind as we review! I have the WHOLE LIST HERE. So this is it, folks. My subpar analysis of all of these options…from one person who doesn’t speak geek, to another:
WEB HOSTING ANALYSIS FOR AUTHORS
- PLANS: for an author website, you would probably only need the Hatchling or Baby plans.
- PERKS: Compatible with WordPress; Unlimited usage space; 24/7 support; weekly backups; Free website transfer (not totally sure about this one)
- COST: Hatchling is $3.96/month when you order 36 months. Baby is $6.36/month. They also try to sell you other things like web backup, SEO help, and site security. The domain is roughly $12.95/yr should you purchase it from them.
- PLANS: shared hosting plans: for an author website, you’d want the Plus Plan or the Business Pro plan. WordPress hosting plan: for an author website, the Blogger plan looks great.
- PERKS: $29.99 for 45-minute 1-on-1 help session; Free domain name; $99 website migration
- COST: $5.95/mo for 36 months for the Plus Plan; $13.95/mo for 36 months for Business Pro plan; $24.99/month for WordPress Plan
- PLANS: Gold and Platinum
- PERKS: A set monthly cost that doesn’t seem to fluctuate; Free domain; No outsourced support
- CONS: they have limits on usage, and they tout free setup, but most companies also offer this
- COST: Gold Plan $9.95/mo; Platinum plan $19.95/mo
- PLANS: Essential Hosting; WordPress Hosting
- PERKS: Seems SUPER cheap, but beware of how prices may skyrocket when you renew; US customer service; Free domain; Free space; lots of free stuff; on the WordPress end they seem to have lots of tools for making the most of your WP site
- COST: Essential – $1.68/mo for 36 months; WordPress – $6.95/mo for 36 months
- PLANS: Shared Hosting; WordPress Hosting
- PERKS: Free domain; “Unlimited” lots of stuff; 24/7 support; automatic updates for WordPress
- COST: Shared – $8.95/mo; WordPress – $19.95-$24.95/mo
- PLANS: Plus Plan ; Business Pro (in pro you get more security)
- PERKS: Access to lots of free scripts (make your site fancy); an actual demo site so you can try before you buy; WordPress web building; Free Domain
- COST: Plus Plan – $6.49-9.99/mo ; Business Pro – $14.49-19.99/mo
- PLANS: Web Hosting
- PERKS: Uses renewable energy; Free website migration; Free domain; 24/7 North American support; online chat; Free nightly backups
- CONS: there are other plans they offer but I can’t seem to find them…leading me to believe they will probably press for upgrades once you sign up
- COST: $3.96/mo for 3 years
WEB BUILDING FOR AUTHORS
Squarespace.com – Clearly trying to hit a hipster demographic here. Hmm…I signed up and tried it and even though they say it’s easy to use I still ran into issues. Maybe I’m just THAT inept. It is sleek looking, and I love how they show you some examples of how users have used their templates, but it’s not like you can be an average joe and get those kinds of results. So without really great stock photography on hand, I’m afraid any site created here will look either really bad or really plain. $8/mo for basic; $16/mo for mid-level package. A focus seems to be on ecommerce…which isn’t really a thing an author site needs.
WordPress.com – This was the most-mentioned for website management and creation. Lots of options for customization, but it can be tricky to get the hang of and most end up hiring out anyway. Most also self-host (which is why hosting plans are above). Here are their packages and pricing.
Wix.com – The cool thing with this option is they actually have some writer templates. Prices seem bit high, considering what you get. So maybe you’re paying for their great designs? I assume they can be highly customized if you know what you’re doing.
Medium.com – This strikes me as a new Tumblr. So a really cool option for microblogging (or whatever you want to call it).
WEB DESIGN OPTIONS
ElegantThemes.com(a WordPress Theme site) – Lots of recommendations for this one
WordPress.com – Many use the free themes and tweaked them. In fact, quite a few people have said that at some point they have used WordPress all the way for hosting, templates, and maintaining their site.
StudioPress.com (a WordPress Theme site) – This also had many recommendations
MichaelHyatt.com (a WordPress Theme site) – he has a theme service called Get Noticed that someone recommended
At the end of the day, it feels like choosing a phone carrier. All are pretty much the same. And you don’t have strong feelings either way until you try one and run into problems. All use fancy words to say things that really don’t matter to think you’re getting a steal of a deal. So it all come down to basic needs, and finding a host that isn’t going to crash or cause your site to run slowly.
Because SO MANY PEOPLE recommended HostGator, I imagine it has a pretty good track record. I will probably be using them. I also liked what I saw from GreenGeeks because I felt like I understood what they were telling me.
I plan on going with WordPress simply because that s what most web builders recommend…and I’m not above asking for help. But if I were totally flying solo, I’d be very interested in Weebly and Wix. Squarespace not so much. Its look was too…Vogue magazine.