I’m sure you’ll have seen lots of author websites made with WordPress, but before you start building your WordPress author site let’s investigate whether WordPress is the right choice (to save you time, in our opinion, it is the best author website builder, but we want to justify why).
We’re going to cover what you need to consider when creating an author website with WordPress, look at some WordPress author website examples, author website themes, and WordPress author website templates, and at the professional page builder we use to create websites.
We’ll also compare the benefits of author website design using WordPress vs Squarespace, Wix, and GoDaddy, and look at hosting options and where to build an author website.
You might also want to see our blog post “do authors need a website?”
Is WordPress Best For Building An Author Website (vs Squarespace, Wix, Weebly & GoDaddy)
Which website builder is best for writers?
So, Which website builder is best for writers? We’re only going to compare WordPress against Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and GoDaddy, but the case is the same for pretty much all the other hosted website builders as well.
The major issue is that if you build an author website with Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, or use the GoDaddy website builder, then you are stuck with them permanently.
To use their websites or author templates you have to be hosted on their platform, so if the hosting is poor, or you end up having other issues, you can’t just take your website to a new hosting company.
On top of that, the hosting plans are by no means cheap, especially when you consider that you can get much better hosting at a much better price AND have the flexibility that WordPress gives you.
Let’s take a brief look at making an author website with the different platforms.
Author Websites (WordPress):
WordPress now powers roughly 40% of the web and is constantly evolving and improving.
You can choose to have a free author website on WordPress.com (not recommended – we’ll discuss this later) or use an author template or theme.
Templates or themes in WordPress parlance are usually paid for (also not recommended because lots of other people will be using them, and you don’t want to look like everyone else), or you can use a page builder like Elementor Pro (highly recommended).
Elementor Pro is the page builder we use (this very site is built using it), it is super easy to use, very intuitive, and there are thousands of tutorials out there. We’ll go into this in more detail shortly.
They also have a host of free Elementor templates (called web kits) if you want to go down that route.
In terms of hosting we highly recommend Siteground (we use Siteground), which is only £2.99/month (about $3.99), they are very reliable, the hosting is excellent, and the support is even better.
The Elementor cloud is built specifically for Elementor websites and is very fast (website speed is very important with Google), very well priced, and you get fantastic support from Elementor experts.
Author Websites (Squarespace):
There are quite a few author websites on Squarespace, and there are suitable Squarespace author website templates that you can use.
As mentioned earlier, the problem with templates is that you usually don’t get exactly the look you want, and lots of other people will be using it, which makes you look “me too” rather than unique.
In addition, while the Squarespace website builder is quite easy to use, if you compare it to WordPress & Elementor we feel it has far fewer features, is not as easy to use and is also not as flexible.
The hosting plans are also not cheap, they are quite pricy at roughly £15/month (roughly $19/month) if you pay for the year upfront (so £180/year or c.$225/year).
We’ve also noticed that some author websites using Squarespace have exceptionally poor speed scores using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
This tool scores websites from 0 to 100 (with 100 being best) and we’ve seen one Squarespace author website designer – with a score of 10 on their own website. That is terrible.
GoDaddy Author Websites:
GoDaddy are very well known and so it’s perhaps not surprising that you might think of building your author website on GoDaddy.
However, in our opinion you’ll be hit with the same problems as discussed in Squarespace above – templates will never give you exactly the look or feel you want, other authors and writers will be using those templates, meaning you won’t have a stand-out, unique website.
GoDaddy website builder has various packages, but you’ll need at least the £7.99/month package £95.88/year) which isn’t cheap for what you get.
One client of ours who insisted on using them discovered they were only allowed 50 pages (so if you plan on blogging you’ll soon run out of space), Google kept reporting crawling issues with the site, and it wasn’t very fast either in terms of page speed.
Wix Author Websites – Is Wix good for writers?:
Is Wix good for writers? We really wouldn’t recommend Wix for authors. There are paid plans as above that in our opinion aren’t cheap for what you get, and there are website templates that are perhaps suitable for authors, but you have the same issues as already discussed.
We’ve always regarded websites built on Wix as being amateurish when compared to platforms like WordPress, and even Squarespace for that matter.
The same opinions also apply to Weebly author websites.
Also bear in mind that some free website platforms will stick adverts on your website, which is not just distracting and annoying to your visitors, it also looks highly unprofessional.
How do I create an author website on Wix?
To create an author website on Wix (or Weebly, GoDaddy, Squarespace, etc) you can use their built in control panel to build your website.
For most people, this means using a pre-made website design, or template, which will have been used by hundreds or thousands of other people, meaning your website will not look unique.
Also, pre-designed templates often have pre-defined sections in the layout, so rather than building your author website to give your visitors the best experience, you’ll end up trying to find content to stick in the different areas, just to fill them.
This can lead to a confusing and messy looking site.
Finally remember that you can’t take that website somewhere else if you aren’t happy with the website speed, or pricing, etc – you have to stay on their platform to use their website builder.
So which is the best author website platform?
In our opinion using WordPress and Elementor Pro gives you a level of flexibility that no one else can match, you can create a totally unique, breath-taking website, and the pricing is excellent for what you get.
There’s plenty of support and thousands of tutorials out there to help you achieve anything you want (YouTube is full of them).
Whichever of the better solutions you choose there will be a cost attached, and of course, time to learn how to use the website builder.
If you don’t like messing around with technical issues or building websites, then it will probably work out more cost-effective to hire a professional to do it for you.
Our author websites are built to suit you, your books, and your genre, and start from just £395 (about $495)
How To Create An Author Website Using WordPress
When it comes to building an author website with WordPress you essentially have two choices:
- Create a free website on WordPress.com
- Build a WordPress author website using a theme or Elementor Pro
WordPress.com vs Paying For A WordPress Website
It is possible to get a free WordPress website at WordPress.com, but it probably won’t surprise you to know that we don’t recommend building a free WordPress author website.
First of all, the website address on the free website will be something like yourname.wordpress.com, which indicates immediately that your website is a free one. It also makes it more difficult to tell people the address of your website than if you use yourname.com.
You really want and need your author website to look professional to catch the eye of not just your readers, but also potential publishers and literary agents and editors.
There are a number of other reasons we don’t recommend a free WordPress website that have already been covered, such as your website looking just like all the others that use the same theme, and there are also quite limited choices of free themes that look remotely professional.
Often these free themes look like very basic blogs, and you are very limited in how much you can change the style or look of them.
If you choose a paid template or theme you have similar issues, where the sections and positioning of elements on the page are pre-defined and difficult, if not impossible to move.
This means you end up trying to think of things to stick in the different areas, and you end up with a confusing, poorly laid out, messy looking author website.
Your best choice if you take your writing seriously and want it to become a career, especially if you’re a self-published author trying to break into a tough market, is to let a professional author web design company create your website for you.
How Much Does A WordPress Author Website Cost?
Our prices for a stunning, professional WordPress author website start at just £395 (c.$495), up to £1495 (c.$1900) for a totally bespoke, branded website for more established authors.
Take a look at our author web design packages here.
If you decide to build your own author website then you’ll need to pay for hosting (which could cost up to £180/$240 per year), probably buy a theme or page editor (another $47 to $79).
Alternatively if you choose Elementor’s cloud hosting, you can get the Elementor Pro license and the hosting all included for just $99.
This represents an incredible deal since off-the-shelf themes (which may not be ideal) can cost $79 for the WordPress theme alone.
Then of course you’ll need to calculate the cost of the time it’s going to take you to learn how to use the WordPress control panel, and any theme that you may have chosen.
It’s highly likely that the total cost will be far more than if you hire us to build your WordPress author website for you.
Alternatively, you might find a local web design company to build your WordPress author website, but it’s highly likely to cost you more than our service, our author websites are carefully priced to be affordable even for new or unpublished authors.
Depending on who you choose to build your website will determine the final cost but be aware please that many web designers will charge you a few thousand dollars, we’ve heard of authors being charged over $15,000 when they picked a large web development company.
On the other hand, if you pay too little, you’ll end up with a website that you don’t like, and that doesn’t work for you.
It might surprise you, but many web designers know nothing about marketing, and nothing at all about book marketing and what a good author website needs to look like.
Many of them simply use cheap, free templates and give no thought to the layout or flow of the site, whereas all of ours are designed from a blank page.
Custom WordPress Author Web Design
When you start looking at custom, unique WordPress author websites, this is where the costs can rise rapidly.
Many companies will charge you several thousand dollars, we’ve even seen one company offering sites for $3000+, and their portfolio is a collection of free themes – they haven’t even changed the colours or logos!
Our totally custom WordPress author websites are just that – totally customised and branded to you, your books, and your genre, and cost just £1495 (c.$1900 USD).
If you’ve seen an author website and you like the style or feel of it, then let us know. We can create anything you like, and if you love a particular style we can build your author website in that style.
Also, make sure that you ask any potential web developer what additional costs there will be. These are likely to include:
- Annual hosting fees
- Software & license fees
- Management fees
- Fees and charges to update your website
- There may be additional costs
These charges can really add up, and the likelihood is the more they charge you for your WordPress author website design, the more these costs will be.
At Quillsolo we believe in transparent, fair pricing, our costs for hosting, license fees, and technical management are spread across the year and are just £25/month (roughly $35/month).
You also want to make sure that your web designer responds in a timely fashion, and don’t try to bamboozle you with unnecessary technical jargon, or in a condescending way.
You also need to know how many design changes can be made during the web design process, how many pages are included in the price, and what are the costs per additional page?
Also make sure you understand their hourly rate for future work, and how long it is likely to take to do specific tasks.
We’ve dealt with clients in the past who have had problems with their website, and discovered to their horror that the web designer who built it has disappeared!
Make sure that they are likely to be around in the future, and avoid any who are unresponsive, take a long time to do simple updates, or are very expensive.
Your WordPress author website is not only your online focal point, it is your brand and your online home.
Because it’s the place where you present yourself and your work to the world, you need to make sure that not only is your website well built and designed, but that you won’t have any issues with it or the designer later.
Please feel free to get in touch to discuss how we can help you with your WordPress author website design.
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