This is a little involved, but bear with me for a moment while I tell you a story. I’m good at that, so my reviewers say. 😉
I’ve been playing with the settings on my webpage recently, trying to iron out some random noisy statistics.
For those who don’t know, there are automated ‘spiders’ and ‘bots’ that index webpages for search engines. They crawl through the entire site, picking out keywords and then report back to their makers. Or something like that.
Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic from random places like China and South America, and as much as it inflates my ego to think that my fame spreads across the globe, looking closer tells me another story. There are bots and spiders out there that steal images and content from your site and eat up your bandwidth. In webpage terms, more bandwidth = more cost, and these bots can get bad enough to eat it all if you don’t stop them, with the result that the people hosting my webpage will turn it off.
I think the steps I’m taking to combat these bots are working, and when I look at my statistics for my webpage, I know by the traffic drop-off that they seemed to have stopped. And so does everyone else, for that matter: zero visitors yesterday. Compared to Facebook, which had thirty or so visits.
Another thing on my mind is that my webpage is ‘rented’ by me from a hosting company, and the renewal is up in December. It’s quite cheap, but money is money at the end of the day.
So here’s the thing: The sudden drop in statistics, the renewal thing have all got me thinking:
Do I need a webpage at all?
It’s in all the how-to-become-an-internet-successful-author books, right there at the top: Get a webpage, get on Facebook, get on Twitter, get yourself virtually out there and networking.
And the webpage is the least successful of all of those. My webpage sits there, passively, in a kind of Zen state. Nothing changes, except when I write another book (and I am!).
I could tweak it and put in a blog, download some applications to do that. But why? That’s what WordPress is for. I drop in links to where my books are sold…again, WordPress.
I could tweak it and put in a forum, do some social networking. But why? That’s what Facebook and Twitter are for.
I could drop in a secure store, but I’m happy to link back to my booksellers on Amazon and Smashwords.
So my point is that everything on my webpage I could spend weeks doing myself (or a small fortune paying someone else), I can do somewhere else. Simpler, faster, cheaper, more interactive. So why do I have a webpage? For instance, I’m posting this on two blogs – not my webpage.
Almost, the personal webpage is becoming redundant. The links on it point to other pages where people can at least interact with me – I’m having a fun debate on Facebook on making up some futuristic profanity for my work-in-progress at the minute.
I’m not planning to dump it tomorrow – for one thing, I get free email hosting firstname.lastname@example.org, which I like.
I’ll keep you updated when the site comes up for renewal in December 2013. And where will that update be?
Not on my webpage, that’s for sure.
Are personal webpages irrelevant? What do you think?
I do like the cool rotating thing with your books, but the page doesn’t really ‘catch’ my eye very much. If I hadn’t gotten to know you through GR, I wouldn’t have a clue which of your books is new. The other indie authors I know who do have a webpage (Lindsay Buroker and Michael J. Sullivan) both make use of their sites as their blogs, which is something you mentioned. They do seem to get a lot of traffic to their websites, but I think that may be (especially in Lindsay’s case) that she blogs about a very wide range of topics that fall within the self-publishing, promotion, sales and other news stuff.
Ultimately, you’ll have to make that decision though. Do you want the upkeep? If you’re not going to use it, why put the time into it?
Thanks for the feedback, I’ll add a publication date to my books! I’ll think about it some more, but if nothing else, it’s another way of adding my name to Google…
A website is simply another tool, same as Facebook, Twitter, et cetera. There are a lot of readers who don’t use Twitter or Facebook. If you attempt to promote a book solely through Facebook or Twitter you may not reach all the people you might if you spent time with a website. As coffe2words said, a website services many functions are well, one of which is a blog (at least many authors use it for this purpose). A blog where you post your ideas and commentaries, which will draw people (fans) back again and again if the content is fresh and updated on a regular basis. When those people (fans) come back they can learn on the site about new novel releases or interviews or guest articles on other sites. My point is, a website is a central hub for people to find info and news about you and your work, rather than rummaging through the internet to find what the want about you. You can post on multiple websites and social media outlets, reaching a lot of people and still get good results. There is no one way of promoting and advertising.
Good points, Clinton…one of the things about a blog is that *it can do everything a webpage can do*…which goes back to my original question of: Do I therefore need the page at all? I agree that the more archers you have, the more likely you are to hit something.
I have a blog tacked onto the end of my webpage, and I update it now and then. Art is long and the internet is fleeting!