5 Best Hosting Companies for Your Author Platform

 

image of a first place award for your author platformThere are so many hosting companies out there to choose from it can be downright difficult to choose which to use for your author platform. Fortunately, there are a lot of authors out there who’ve walked this path before you, and they’ve got some great information to share. In addition, organizations like PC Magazine regularly rate hosting companies against one another and can be a great place to get some basic comparison information on the top options out there.

I’ve pulled together a list of five hosting companies that regularly rank among the highest according to the fine folks of the interwebs. They all work very well with WordPress, have a variety of packages that are quite affordable, and provide 24×7 technical support, all of which are critical to the success of your author platform.

Bluehost:

Bluehost was founded in 2003, they have an excellent selection of packages and are one of the few hosting companies recommended by WordPress. They also provide 24×7 support, which to me is a basic requirement. Bluehost is my personal favorite, the company I always recommend. Their hosting packages start at $3.95 month. (Disclosure: I have an affiliate link to Bluehost on my website. I signed up for their program because I have been their customer for ten+ years and believe they have an exceptional product.)

Dreamhost:

Dreamhost has won PC Magazines best web hosting company twice. For the tech geeks among you, they use solid state drives for their hosting packages. They have a 97 day money back guarantee, offer 24×7 support, but their prices start quite a bit higher. Their base self-hosted package starts at $7.95/mo.

HostGator:

HostGator also provides their paid customers with 24×7 support and their costs are similar to Bluehost, with packages started at $3.95, but they don’t have the same suite of services as Bluehost and other providers. As an example their packages jump to $6.38/mo if you want just two websites. Depending on your writing preferences, you may want two unique websites. If you write children’s books and erotica, as an example, you’re going to want two unique author platforms and two unique websites.

A2 Hosting:

Folks who use A2 definitely seem to like it. They claim a 99.9% uptime right on their homepage, which is pretty good. They offer 24×7 support, and their prices are pretty good. Shared hosting packages start at $3.92/mo for a single site and $4.90/mo for multiple sites.

InMotion Hosting:

Prices start around $4.89/mo (though it looks like it may be $6.99/mo as their non-sale price), they’ve been around since 2001, and also provide 24×7 technical support.

Any of these hosting companies would make an excellent home for your author platform, but don’t feel constrained by this list. There are hundreds of options out there with a huge variety of hosting packages. Talk to people you know who’ve done this before you and get their recommendations. Do your research, make sure the services they offer match what you need now, and what you might need two years or even five years from now. Let us know who you went with and why in the comments below.

Happy writing,

k

WordPress for Writers is a once monthly column designed to help authors buildup their online presence through a professional, branded, self hosted website. Articles are posted the third Wednesday of every month. You can lean more from my book WordPress for Writers (only $3.99), or sign up for my WordPress for Writers Course (only $20.00).

Choosing a Hosting Company for Your Author Platform

shaking hands icon, partnering for your author platformChoosing a hosting company for your author platform can be hard. There is a lot of variability in cost, there is also a lot of variability in the service they provide. While there are hundreds of hosting companies out there, you definitely want to verify three bits of information before you electronically sign on that dotted line.

  • Cost
  • Reliability
  • Service

 

Cost

Cost certainly plays into this decision. It makes sense to keep your costs as low as possible, your writing is your business after all. Keeping more of your profit in your pocket is a worthwhile consideration! But it isn’t the only consideration, and it isn’t the most important one either. Sometimes the cheapest options end up costing the most, and you don’t want to play russian roulette with your author platform.

Reliability

Remember, your website resides on the servers that your hosting company owns. If those servers go down, your site goes down. At best this is a temporary inconvenience, but it can get a lot worse. A fly by night hosting outfit may be down for days or even weeks trying to reach resolution. That translates to lost sales and a loss of traffic for you, and that’s a problem. Check the reliability of any hosting company you are thinking about doing business with. They should have performance indicators, or service level agreements, and they should be in the neighborhood of 99.9% reliability (or up time).

Support

Also verify they are easy to get in touch with and are open sufficiently long hours that you can work with them when needed. Self-hosting a site is pretty easy, but you will occasionally run into challenges. When you do, the quality of service your hosting company provides can save your bacon.

(mmm… bacon)

They can save your ass in other ways too. A number of years ago one of my sites got hacked. The hackers were silently and happily stuffing my website full of pornographic material. My hosting company (Bluehost) caught it immediately, notified me, and together we put an end to it before any of my customers were the wiser.

The bottom line, think of your hosting company as a business partner, because that’s exactly what they are. Choose a partner who adds value to your business and to your author platform, not just someone who charges the least.

k

 

WordPress for Writers is Here!

Wordpress for Writers ImageIt’s finally here! My Wordpress for Writers course is officially launched, and I am so excited to tell you about it!

As writers, we all know our website is the hub of our online platform. It’s the first place existing and potential readers go to find information about us and our books. But for must of us, designing a website is a a bit like the Pit of Despair in the Princess Bride. Even thinking about it shaves years off our lifespans!

This is why I designed WordPress for Writers the way I did, to get you to a professional, branded, self-hosted website quickly and without the need for any technical know-how. By the end of this course you will have a professional, branded home-base for your author platform, all without even a trace of HTML and for only $20.00!

This course is designed for beginners, and for people who are not technically oriented. There is no programming, no HTML, and almost no technobabble anywhere to be seen. The course is not appropriate for anyone looking for advanced topics such as creating your own WordPress Theme or the implementation of specific plugins.

Interested in learning more? You can find the course and all the details you need to know right here. The first three lectures are completely free, and I’ve included the introductory video here for you as well.

Happy writing!

k.

Writing Life Comic #5: What People Think

From the outside, the writing life is a glamorous one. Speaking engagements all around the world with free airfare and hotel, adoring fans fawning on every word you utter, plenty of money for you to live quite comfortably while you scribble away over at the coffee shop everyday. And oh… how wonderful must it be to live so creatively every day!

It has it’s benefits, I’m not going to lie. But things are rarely what we initially believe them to be.

What people think the writing life is.
The Writing Life is a once monthly comic series released on the first Wednesday of each month. The next is due out on 6/1/15.

Author Websites: To Host or Self Host?

It may not seem like it, but there is a world of difference between hosted and self hosted when it comes to author websites. The easiest way to understand the differences between these two is to think about a car vs. a bus. With a bus you only get one type of bus and you’ve got no say in what it looks like. You have to meet it in a specific spot at a specific time and if you’re not in that spot at that time you’re out of luck. It will only bring you to certain locations, and while ultimately you can get most places with it you might need to add in a bike, some walking, or an Uber.

With a car, you have all the flexibility you could want. You can chose what sort of car to drive, what it looks like, where to go, how to get there and when you want to leave. You own all the decisions when you own a car.

The bus is a hosted solution, like Blogger. They are often free (or have a free version) and are usually very easy to set up. But you are very limited in what you can do and how you can do it, they are not scalable, they do not offer the same level of professionalism, and are not usually branded. You can often recognize free hosted websites by their addresses, which are often something like kristy<at>blogspot.com, as an example.

The car in the above analogy is a self-hosted solution. WordPress.org is an example of a self-hosted website, and it offers you almost unlimited options for customization and flexibility. It’s scalable and portable, you can keep your domain forever, and it is far more professional than what you can find with most free hosted solutions.

Which would you rather have for your author website, a bus or a car?

hosted vs self hosted author websites infographic

 

WordPress for Writers is a once monthly column designed to help authors buildup their online presence through a professional, branded, self hosted website. Articles are posted the third Wednesday of every month. You can lean more from my book WordPress for Writers (only $3.99), or sign up for my WordPress for Writers Course (only $20.00).

 

Author Platform ≠ Marketing!

Stick figure holding a stop sign, stop marketing on social media!I get it, marketing books is hard. But I’ve had enough!

I follow 1,066 people on Twitter. I consistently engage with and read the tweets of about 100 of those. Every other tweet from every other person I never even see  – thank you Twitter lists!

Why? Because the rest of those folks are doing nothing but marketing their work. They tweet nothing but pleas for me to buy their stuff and it’s completely fucking annoying!

So today we’re going to talk a bit about author platform, because it’s very clear a lot of folks have this all wrong.

Platform IS NOT marketing! Do not use your social media outlets for self promotion and selling. Cease and desist immediately!

Because seriously, literally no one is listening to you. Plus it’s just embarrassing. Have a little self respect, would you?

So if platform is not marketing, then what is it? In a word, platform is about connection and engagementJane Friedman says it best, I think.

It’s about making waves that attract other people to you – not about begging others to pay attention. ~Jane Friedman

This takes as much care and attention to detail as it takes to write a book. You must create or curate content that is appealing to your target demographic. You need to create or curate content that is informative, titillating, explosive, controversial, helpful, or humorous… in other words, content that provides value to your followers. Absolutely no one finds “Hey! You! Will you buy my book?” to be of any value whatsoever.

I do often buy and review books from the people I connect with on social media. But only if they’ve caught my eye with interesting content and engaged with me on a personal level. I have never, not once, bought a book as a result of someone torturing me with their version of a diaper commercial. I block those people so I never have to see one of their posts again. That should tell you something.

k

 

Writing Life Comic #4: Ideas

Ideas, and no more ideas? If I had a dollar for every time this happened to me I’d be giving my books away and living like J.K. Rowling! Many (most) writers are part-time scribblers and part-time something elsers. Ideas seem to fall from the sky at an alarming rate while I’m working on that something else. I wade through them like snow during a March Colorado snow. (That’s super deep, in case you didn’t know.)

The instant my butt hits my office chair at home, however, not even a cricket can be heard through the deafening silence in my head. *sigh*

So many ideas
Artwork by Kelci Crawford

The Writing Life is a once monthly comic series posted on the first Wednesday of every month. Stay tuned for the next comic, scheduled for 5/4/16.

7 Ways to Screw Up When Choosing Your Domain Name

Image of stops signs and wrong way signs, be cautious when picking a domain name
Open Source Image Provided by Pixabay

Last month we jawed about some things to consider when choosing a domain name. This month we’re talking about seven ways to screw the whole thing up.  Yeah yeah… rules are made for breaking the way that boots are made for walking. But not these rules.

  • Choosing a domain name based on a character in your book
  • Naming your website after the title of your book
  • Picking a domain based on the title of your series
  • Creating multiple domains – unless you have unlimited time or money to maintain multiple platforms
  • Choosing a name for your website that is very similar to another company or author
  • NOT  getting creating when coming up with possible names for your website. Remember, domains are unique, your first or second or third choice may already be taken
  • Choosing a domain that is too long, too hard to spell, too hard to remember, or that uses dashes or dots

You can thank me later.

k.

WordPress for Writers is a once monthly blog series designed to help writers get their own customized self-hosted WordPress site up and running, no technical experience required. Articles are posted on the third Wednesday of every month. You can also check out my ebook WordPress for Writers, or my WordPress for Writers online course to supercharge your author website.

Writing Life Comic #3: Writers Boulders

Somewhere roughly about the midpoint of a novel life really begins to suck for a writer. You would think that being a plotter would help with this, but, you’d be wrong. Middles are simply shitty places to be. I think if a novel could be written without a middle all of us would do it.

Comic - getting blood from a stone
Artwork by Kelci Crawford

The Writing Life is a once monthly comic series posted on the first Wednesday of every month. Stay tuned for the next comic, scheduled for 4/6/16.

Will Write for Money

Yes! I Write For Money image.
memegenerator.net

Yea. That’s right. I write for money.

I don’t do it for the art.

I don’t do it for the story.

I don’t do it to satisfy the voices in my head.

I don’t do it to be fully alive,

or to change the world,

or to discover who I am,

or to fill the bottomless hole at the center of my being.

Ok, well maybe those things are a part of why I write. But I’m not going to lie, I write to make money. Seriously. And so do you so stop fucking lying about it.

Look, I like writing fantasy. I mean, I love it. I’d like to do nothing but spin fantastical tales, read fantastical tales, and talk to other people who like to write and read fantastical tales.

I want fantastic tale all day every day. Tweet This

The only way for me to do that is to actually make money from my writing. And not just a swollen-prostate-old-guy-piss-trickle of money either. I’ve got to make enough to pay my mortgage every month and buy my groceries every week and take the occasional trip to a place with soft sand and blue-green water that manufactures rum.

This is a business. This is my job. I’m not doing it for free. An neither should you if you’re serious about it. Stop swallowing that milky green shit leaking through the inter webs like water through the hat of a pastafarian.

Whether you are a traditionally published writer or an indie, your writing is a business. Make damn sure you treat it like one.

k.