Unless you have an unlimited budget cheap website hosting is essential when you are starting to build your own website or online business.
There are some free hosted websites available but the problem with those is that your address includes the address of the host – which just doesn’t look as professional.
For example – if I used a free host my site address or URL would be:
It doesn’t look as legitimate as www.practicalcreativewriting.com – does it?
The other problem with free hosted websites is that you can’t monetize them.
Few writers these days can afford to pass on the opportunity to earn extra cash.
It’s imperative that you have a place where you can share your work and a website is the best place to do this.
A writer needs to have a virtual base or home.
When you have a website, you not only have that base but you have a direct line of communication to connect with your readers.
Writing can be a bit lonely so it is a source of great pleasure to hear from readers directly.
Having a web presence in today’s virtual world also really helps when it comes to promoting and selling your books.
You can let your readers know about your books and where to buy them.
Communicating with your readers about what you are working on and sharing your news can bring great benefits.
If nobody knows who you are, or where you are, how are they going to find you, or your books?
HOW TO BE FOUND IN AN EXPANDING MARKET
Don’t underestimate this problem – the market for books is constantly expanding.
This is great news for writers but, getting your work ‘seen’ and read can be another job in itself.
It takes time but your perseverance will pay off.
I started off with between 5 and 15 visitors each day and now have a minimum of 2000 unique visitors per day. Here are my stats for last month:
It’s great to have ways to promote your work but what’s really great, as well as fun, is being able to get in touch with your readers.
INTERACTION AND ENGAGEMENT – CRUCIAL FOR WRITERS
It can also be really interesting talking to your website visitors. You get fascinating snippets of information about the culture and people in places you have never visited and maybe never will.
Equally they can enjoy asking you questions and learning more about you and your culture.
Interaction and engagement are what it’s all about and if like me, you don’t like or have time for networking – this is an ideal solution.
FINDING THE RIGHT SYSTEM FOR YOU
If you can’t afford to pay someone to do it for you I would recommend finding an easy way to build one yourself.
Actually, even if you can afford to pay someone I would still recommend learning to do it.
Building a website is not difficult and it is so much easier to be able to post your own work when you want to.
Otherwise you have to contact your website developer and have them do it for you. This is not just expensive but slow too.
ARE YOU A NON-TECHIE?
I initially started my site with a particular system which unfortunately proved unsuitable and expensive. I wasted a lot of time on it.
However, like every mistake there was a lot to learn from it.
I was still determined and on my second attempt at building my website I decided to go with WordPress.
I chose WordPress because there is so much help available online and because it is easy to learn, even by non-techies like me.
FREE HOSTING, OR SELF-HOSTED? YOU DECIDE
If you go with WordPress you need to consider whether or not to go with a blog hosted on the WordPress site, or a self hosted blog.
If you choose to go with WordPress.com your blog will be hosted by them for free.
However, you will have no control over having their adverts displayed unless you pay to have them removed – I would find this a huge problem.
It’s worth mentioning again that your site name will have the host’s name attached.
Doesn’t www.PeterTheSeriousWriter.com just look more serious? More professional?
Having wordpress.com attached to your domain name sounds less professional because it lets everyone know that you are using a free service.
MAKING MONEY WITH YOUR WEBSITE
I decided to go with wordpress.org as I wanted to choose my own domain names and I also wanted to be able to monetize the blog in ways of my own choosing.
I carry a few adverts via Adsense and the extra money coming in pays for my hosting and domain name.
Since this income is growing beyond my expectation I regard it as a little pension, or insurance policy for bad times, or times when I can’t write.
IF I CAN DO IT – ANYONE CAN
I taught myself using Pat Flynn’s ‘How To Build A Blog In Less Than 4 Minutes’ video which you can find here on his Smart Passive Income Site.
Pat is a great teacher and I have to give him all due credit for helping me build my own site.
There are so many gurus and teachers out there and out of all of them Pat is the one whose teaching materials I found easiest to follow and to implement.
These skills just don’t come naturally to me, so believe me if I can do it, anyone can do it.
There are other systems out there as well.
You could also try Blogger. I have a small hobby site with them called Ballyyahoo In Pictures
I rarely have time to post to my site Blogger site now but it is where I used to post mages from my walks around Ireland. The walks and views which inspire my Ballyyahoo series of children’s stories.
It is free, but we are back to the problem of having your address carrying their name in addition to yours, like mine here : http://ballyyahoo-in-pictures.blogspot.ie
The problem with going with Blogger for the serious professional is that having their name in the address screams out that it is just another hobby site.
A hobby site is fine for hobbies but if you are a serious writer – having just your own name in your website URL looks far more legitimate and serious.
Writing is not a hobby to me so I need my websites to look professional.
CHEAP WEBSITE HOSTING & GREAT SUPPORT
If you decide to go with self hosting and I hope you do. I would highly recommend using HostGator as your host like I do.
You can buy your domain through Hostgator as well which saves you having to waste time messing about with other providers.
All my sites are hosted by Hostgator and I have no hesitation in recommending them to you, especially if this is your first time blogging.
WEB CHAT SUPPORT
The reason for my recommendation is because for me, support is everything.
I am a writer, not a technician, and I need to know that if I have a problem there is someone ready to solve it.
When I was with my original host, their idea of support was to point me towards a load of complicated technical solution sheets – impossible for a beginner to understand.
There was never a human available to communicate with me directly and that is why HostGator stands out.
Their web chat support has been outstanding and their friendly support staff have helped me get out of so many jams.
Hopefully your blogging will be jam-free! In the meantime best of luck.
All the best,
P.S. This article about cheap website hosting contains affiliate links. This pays a small commission which helps to pay the costs of providing the free information on my site.
It doesn’t cost you anything and I can assure you I would not do this unless I used the product myself and was totally satisfied.