Do writers need a website? The short and sweet answer is - absolutely! There are a lot of benefits to a website that your social media was not designed to do. You don't need anything "fancy" but you do need a base-camp, so to speak, from where you can promote yourself and your work.
A website is one-stop-shopping for your readers. Aside from selling your books, a website allows you to collect information from your readers. This is called email list building and is one of the best and least expensive ways to re-market new books to existing audiences. Your author website will also allow you to rank on the major search engines making it easier for readers to find you. An author website also allows you to communicate and engage your fans through a blog and keep them updated on future books, book signings, and any other marketing you do to promote your writing.
Social Media is important and many people find new readers on sites like Facebook, Goodreads, and Scribd. Social Media is limited, however. Most importantly, social media isn't yours. You can't "backup" your followers lists, the sites can, accidentally or intentionally, terminate your account, and getting exposure on the search engines with just social media is exceedingly difficult. You should add buttons that link to all your social media accounts on your author website, but don't rely on those social sites and not a stand-alone website that you own.
All your online content, from social media to your Amazon author page should lead to your website. It creates a funnel that directs readers and potential readers to your desired end result, the purchase of your book. To get more people into your funnel, promote your content on the search engines, other blogs, social media and anywhere else that makes sense for the type of content you produce. Writers do need a website in this, highly competitive, self-publishing market, to stand out from the crowd.
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