I once decided to create a separate-but-connected website at my author URL for each of the three genres I write. (Stop crossing your eyes. I won’t get any more technical than this.) I didn’t stop to wonder if I could keep up with multiple websites. It would be cool, I decided, carried away by enthusiasm. The main site would act as a satellite hub, sending out visitors to the genre websites in a grand adventure.
Except that hardly anyone came.
I had spread myself too thin to promote, and at the time I had no books of my own to lure readers. Except for a blog with topics that shifted monthly while I searched for my brand, my website had little to offer. Undeterred, (since I was paying my dues as a writer and establishing my platform) I also put together a website around my interest in travel and one that featured books and writers. If you’re counting, that makes seven websites total. I then learned something I wish I’d known.
Websites are hungry little brainchildren that require frequent feeding.
Taking care of my brood became a bit much, leaving me with precious little creative energy to write anything beyond content. I reduced my load by getting rid of the website people actually visited, the one about books and writers.
Yes, I know.
After hackers invaded my subdomains and travel site, I found out what it costs to hire an Internet security firm. I couldn’t afford to safeguard more than the two websites I considered essential, my main author website and Live Write Breathe. With breathtaking speed, I went from owning six websites to two.
Due to the hackers, my website host had disallowed access to my genre domains, even when I tried to enter from my WordPress dashboard. I hadn’t been good about backing up my posts, so I lost a lot of the content I’d slaved to produce. You’d think I’d have been sad to lose four websites, and I was, but my primary reaction surprised me.
I felt like I could finally breathe.
Yes, it was sad, but I could start over differently. I wouldn’t resurrect my subdomains but would keep everything under one umbrella—my brand as a storyteller who travels–at my author website.
Some will say that two websites are a lot to maintain now that I have publishing contracts and books to promote. They would be right. It is difficult. Anything you do online takes time. Unless you monetize a website, you are not only working on it for free, but actually paying (things like website host fees and security protection) for the privilege.
Altruism only carries a person so far. Every additional website you have will cost you and must eventually pay for itself in some fashion. If you want a platform to ultimately support sales of books geared to the audience you gather, spending your time and money on an additional website might be worth it. Otherwise, you’ll only create an expensive hobby for yourself.
How many websites does an author need? As few as possible but enough to support the books you write.
Final Thoughts from Janalyn
This article is part of the Create an Awesome Author Website blog series. For the first installment, go here: Create a Branded Author Website.