Making your first writer’s website: insight from the recently initiated

Having recently made my own writer’s webpage ( ) and having learned a lot from doing so, I thought I would write a blog post about my experience in case it is helpful to anyone else. For anyone not wanting to read the whole blog, I made a helpful summary table at the end, to help guide you forward.

If you’ve looked at the landscape of websites, searched a few YouTube how-to videos and looked for advice on Twitter, or even clicked through a few promotional ads, you will probably be aware there are a plethora of options. The main ones you will hear about are probably WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and Blogspot. I will also throw in an honorable mention in there for ghost, but we will come back to that as it’s really for people who are tech-savvy. I will also come back to WordPress as in that one word we are actually talking about two very different products ( and with very, very different user experiences.

Before deciding which service you should use, however, there are three key decisions you need to make:

  1. Budget
  2. Purpose
  3. Tech-savviness

In reality, these three decisions are intimately inter-linked, but in deciding which path forward is best for you, it helps to think about them separately at first. Let’s break these down.


Do you even have a budget? If you do not, then your options are going to be quite limited. Squarespace, Weebly and Wix all require an investment upfront of money. The only ones I am aware of from my list above that allow a free option are Blogspot, and Of these, I would recommend  Why? Because there is a free option and it’s a fairly flexible platform, so whatever your purpose, other than selling products, it can probably achieve it. That flexibility also allows you options to grow in the future. Blogspot’s limitation is that it’s really only going to fit your needs if you plan to make a blog and nothing else. So that then leads us into consideration number two, purpose.


What is the purpose of your website? Is it to showcase your recently produced book that you will be indie publishing, to present yourself as a professional during your trad publishing queries, to make a simple blog, or to sell products? Each of these goals will significantly impact what service you utilize.

Why? Well, if you want to sell products, you are going to need a web-service that will allow you to do that. Think through how you would commercialize and sell products. Your website is going to need to have the capability to build a catalog. It will need a shopping basket, and the ability to sum up purchases. You will need an app that would calculate shipping and taxes if these are physical products, and whether or not these are physical, a means for people to pay. For those kinds of capabilities, you are already speaking about a paid service. Something like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, or one of WordPress’s higher-level business plans. We are not talking about the free version or Blogspot.

If, on the other hand, you just want to write a few articles/blog posts, free-version or Blogspot are great ways to dip your toe into the waters of blogging. They are free, simple, and you can be up and running inside of a day (depending on your aesthetic and how must you want to work on the appearance prior to launch). If you are a little more serious about blogging and want your own domain name, however, you are going to have to either pay an external provider to have that or, more simply, just choose a higher-cost plan.


So this is where the rubber hits the road. Counterbalancing your budget, you also need to decide how adept you are with this technology. The easiest-to-use interfaces, things like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, which allow you to just point click, and drag and drop, are easy to make beautiful websites with but, frankly, are also among the most expensive options. You are paying for the ease of use the interface they have built provides to you.

The next step up in complication, in my opinion, would be has hundreds of themes and templates to choose from, and you don’t need to do line coding in HTML, but it’s not quite as intuitive as Squarespace, and you will waste a fair amount of time jumping around nonsensical menus, and it’s not quite as flexible as coding HTML, so you won’t have quite the flexibility of things like (remember above, how I said these were very, very different?) or

The products likely requiring the most work from you to use are or Both have many beautiful themes, allowing a quick startup, but what they also offer is the ability to code the HTML. Those, therefore, have the greatest flexibility. However, I don’t recommend these unless you are heavily invested in maintaining the page as, to do these options, you will have to arrange web hosting separately with a service like WordPress, GoDaddy (not recommended as they have a reputation of hanging onto website domains) or any of the other sites out there. If you want to take advantage of the flexibility and the ability to code HTML you also have to have that skill to do that. So that means either having that knowledge already, being willing to invest the time in learning it, or hiring someone, which will add to the total cost.

My recommendation? Well, I went with Having read the above you probably think this is an odd choice. But it’s the right fit for my combination of purpose (running a blog, plus having a professional space on the web to talk about me and my writing as I do the trad-publishing query route, and hopefully eventually have as a published-author website), budget (I’m willing to invest, but not hugely, and I don’t need a business level plan as I’m not selling products), and tech-savviness (I actually do know how to program HTML, which is actually pretty easy, as I made my first website back in 1994, but I also know C, C++, Python, Ruby, Java, CSS, etc, but I do not have the bandwidth of time to invest in doing all this.) 

So as I wanted more than just a blog, Blogspot was not for me. basic level was not for me as I wanted my own website and having a free plan it only came with a WordPress domain name. I was willing to invest money in doing this, but as I am as yet unpublished things like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix were unnecessarily costly for me. If I had gone with one of these, I would have gone with Squarespace. That’s because I don’t want to have to keep re-inventing the wheel, so I would have gone with the most successful of those three companies as I want to be with the one that will be around in ten years. My money would be on Squarespace for that. I also think their interface is easier to use. However, WordPress has been around even longer and so going with them was even better from a potential longevity perspective, and their different plan levels meant I could invest just a little per month now, as I did want to do that as part of my commitment to a writing career, but having the option of upgrading my plan in the future gave me flexibility, that I could change my investment in it as my publishing success evolved.

That’s not to say I loved all of my experience. I found its inflexibility with the themes quite frustrating and had to take my website down and put it back up, each time using a different theme, until I could manipulate it to be how I wanted. Even then, my final website had some compromises in it, ones I would not have had to put up with had I gone with or Specifically, the theme I chose did not allow me to change the format of my blog page. However, I went with that theme as it allowed me to do everything I wanted on all the other pages. Check it out and let me know what you think:

And as promised, the summary table:

WordPress.comFree to $$$$ depending on planAnything, but tools depend on plan, which affects $Zero to medium, depending on aesthetic needed
Squarespace, Weebly, Wix$$$$Anythingzero$$$$AnythingHigh, or hire someone

Let me know your thoughts, and if you found this blog post helpful!

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