Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 2)

In the first post, I talked about two things you can do NOW to start marketing yourself.

Today, let’s talk about website services that cost nothing. I know what I said in No. 1, to purchase your domain name immediately BUT if you must go for the freebie, you must! I did. I’m going to discuss three TOTALLY FREE places you can build a website. I’ve used all three. If you cannot afford to purchase a domain name and hosting and whatever platform you want to use, this can be a good alternative for you.

  1. Wix – Wix has come a long way. They have a simple to use WYSIWYG editor, which means “what you see is what you get.” It’s drag and drop, upload images, copy and paste text. You can insert tables, videos, and add multiple pages. Blogging is not it’s strong suit, so if you want to blog, there are easier ways. You can, however, link to an already-existing blog (just make sure it has the same look and feel).
  2. Weebly – At the onset, Weebly makes you choose whether you want a website or online store, so they have a foot firmly in the e-commerce market. You have several options, like linking your domain name to your site for $4/month, which is pretty affordable. Their editor is much the same as Wix (by that, I mean it does the same things, but the tools look different) and you get about the same things, just in a little bit of a different way.
  3. WordPress – WordPress is the blogging platform that became a website host. For years, WP was for blogging, and their platform reflects this. Every page has the potential to become a blog. Limitations apply with the free version. The number of templates is fewer, so are the plug-ins. The free version of WP is a great way to learn the platform, which is vastly different from the first two options, and there is a learning curve. But, when you’re ready, you can purchase WP, a WP theme you love and plug-ins to create exactly what you want. If it sounds like I’m a fan..I totally am!

Disclaimers:

  1. Free means there will be advertisements running on your website. This is why it’s free, because advertisers are paying for it. There will probably be ads for whatever the person looking at your site browses for, as well as for the website service itself.
  2. There may be limitations on what you can do. For example, a paying customer will have access to thousands of templates and images on the service…but you will have a limited selection for free. You will not have all the fancy “bells and whistles” you might like. If this is the place you want to ultimately host your non-free site, it can be a good idea to start this way, to get used to the way the service operates, and then buy in when you can.
  3. People are going to know it’s free. There’s no way around it. Your domain name will have the name of the service in it, like: mkchester/wix.com, which is a dead give-away. And there’s the ads. The only way ads get on my domain right now (because I pay for both domain and hosting) is if I do affiliate marketing, so I make some money from the ads.

Let me just say again, these are not one-size-fits-all. These services are not generally interchangeable and you should try them all out (why not? They’re free!) and find your best fit. There’s no shame in free. I’ve owned my domain for about fifteen years, but just bought WordPress last year, after I’d figured out how to really use it on the free version. So look around, try several options before you settle, and see what works best for you!

Have questions? I’m around–leave me a comment 🙂

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