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Old 02-27-2012, 02:06 AM   #1
Nathaniel Bell
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The Great Question: Blog or Author Site?

As I gear up for the release of my first novel I wonder what will be the best way to establish my web presence, blog or static website with links to Amazon?

Both formats have merits and downsides.

Blog: Running a blog is like putting out your own magazine. Surely Benjamin Franklin would have opted for the blog. He would have fired up the old hemp pipe and dashed off a new issue of Poor Richard's from his favorite table in the ale house.

But blogs project a fundamental cheezyness don't they? Almost like "zines" homebuilt, cranky and unreliable. And they take work too: the hard, grindy, elbow grease type of work to keep up with voracious demand for content.

The website, while static, is also elegant- serene almost. It's your storefront. It invites people to come in and browse around, which may present a problem if you only stock one book because that's all you wrote so far.

We all want to be brand name authors and it seems the website/storefront naturally lends itself to branding and brand promotion. Then again, the blog, with its variability, gives readers something to look foward to and a chance to interact with their favorite writers.

It strikes me that the website is more take it or leave it, while the blog is a work in progress that might get better or worse.

Your thoughts?
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:13 AM   #2
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They aren't mutually exclusive. Use a blogging or CMS system like WordPress or Blogger, and have both static pages and a blog.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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They aren't mutually exclusive. Use a blogging or CMS system like WordPress or Blogger, and have both static pages and a blog.
Nah... I knew somebody would say that but it's like working in the factory till five o'clock then going to your second job as a waiter.

Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging- plus maintaining a website and answering email would take up my whole day. And then there's the cost. If you get a free blog you don't own the content as I understand it.

So it's one or the other for me.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:52 AM   #4
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If you get a free blog you don't own the content as I understand it.
Huh? I've never heard that. I am no expert, but I'm pretty sure that isn't true.

If you don't want to do both, I personally would choose a blog, but that's because I enjoy blogging. People learn about me because of my blog. If you're trying to attract attention, people who visit your author website likely already know about you and are searching for more info. With a blog, for me at least, I get a lot of attention I would have never gotten without one.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:59 AM   #5
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I went from a static freebie website to a blog, and there's a great difference in traffic already. The blog takes work, of course, but that keeps it green and active. Some people can go a year or more before they update their website, and it shows right away.

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Old 02-27-2012, 03:01 AM   #6
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Huh? I've never heard that. I am no expert, but I'm pretty sure that isn't true.

If you don't want to do both, I personally would choose a blog, but that's because I enjoy blogging. People learn about me because of my blog. If you're trying to attract attention, people who visit your author website likely already know about you and are searching for more info. With a blog, for me at least, I get a lot of attention I would have never gotten without one.
I'm sure I read somewhere that if you go with free Wordpress they own the rights to your name and content, but I'm not sure if this is correct.

Anyway, do you find your blog is helping sales? What do you do to drive people to the blog?
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:08 AM   #7
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You could be right. I really don't know.

I just released my first book a few days ago, but I do think my blog is already helping sales as I have seen, in my blog stats, a number of clicks on the link to the book.

I'm relaxed enough with my blog that I can post only once a week and my readers will be fine. At first, what I did was post often and not make my posts about me, but interesting topics. The followers trickled in pretty quickly. It was more of a random blog for a while, but it has now settled down into a reading indie books type blog.

Good luck with yours!

ETA: I've had my blog since mid-August of 2011 so it's been around for a while.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:28 AM   #8
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Nah... I knew somebody would say that but it's like working in the factory till five o'clock then going to your second job as a waiter.
I think you are not understanding the nature of blogs or Websites at all.

You create static pages in the CMS/blogging tool of your choice.

These are typically About, Contact, policy pages, a page about your book . . .

You use the blog for quick updates or posts. Both are hosted by the same tool and site.

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Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging- plus maintaining a website and answering email would take up my whole day.
There's no law that says you have to all or any of these; moreover, there are numerous tools that allow you to automatically post a link to an update on your site to FB or Twitter, or any number of other sites and services.

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And then there's the cost. If you get a free blog you don't own the content as I understand it.

So it's one or the other for me.
You have not understood it at all. I think perhaps you need to spend some time looking at Websites and reading blogs, first.
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Last edited by Medievalist; 02-27-2012 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel Bell View Post
Nah... I knew somebody would say that but it's like working in the factory till five o'clock then going to your second job as a waiter.

Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging- plus maintaining a website and answering email would take up my whole day. And then there's the cost. If you get a free blog you don't own the content as I understand it.

So it's one or the other for me.
Heck, maybe I'm doing it wrong. I feel like a writer is best served by having a web presence and I wanted a website. But I also wanted a Blog-O-Rama so I put my blog on my website.

The website itself has a number of static pages, sure, but the front page is where I post something every four or five days. All of the pages get some interaction but the blog draws a much bigger audience.

So far, it seems to be working for us.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:42 AM   #10
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I'm not sure how you plan to create this website. I hand-coded a webpage for a few years, and I was darned proud of it, but in the end, I was really limited by the fact I didn't know (and couldn't learn--I tried) php.

Using an out-of-the-box theme for Wordpress simplifies a whole heck of a lot of things. And since most websites these days do use modified blog platforms, if you don't, your website is going to look like something out of 1998. (Here's a page from my old website: http://www.vjchambers.com/bio.html) As you can see...it looks dated.

I'm not sure what other options there are for creating websites these days beyond a blog platform (wordpress, drupal, etc.), hand coding, or using something like Dreamweaver. Do they still have like those free geocities things? Those things always had ads all over them. Can anyone weigh in here?
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:01 AM   #11
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I use webs.com, just paid for my own domain name and no ads. They have a ton of templates and page options (blog, forums, storefront through PayPal, calendar, etc.). If you want to check it out, the link is in my signature line.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:41 AM   #12
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I started out at webs and found them expensive in comparison to others. I then went to One but there was a lot of design work involved and php. I then went over to blogger, where I have finally settled with a custom domain name. It was easy to set up. It was also very little effort to set up a facebook page with links to goodreads and a nice welcome page. My blog feeds to the facebook to keep some kind of presence there with little effort.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:29 AM   #13
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It was also very little effort to set up a facebook page with links to goodreads and a nice welcome page. My blog feeds to the facebook to keep some kind of presence there with little effort.
How do you do that?

Is it on your blog control panel or where can I find the features on Facebook?

By the way thanks to all of you who participated in this thread. I'm going with a blog format plus static pages. As Kurt Cobain once said: forever in debt to your priceless advice. He may have been kidding but I'm not.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:58 AM   #14
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Facebook has an app called RSS Graffiti that will automatically post blog updates to your Facebook page.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:51 AM   #15
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I did it by networking my blog via Facebook. List your blog and get a few people to confirm it's you by clicking on it. There is an app for goodreads to feed your blog through there automatically too and to add a goodreads page to your Facebook page. Once everything is set up initially, updating is much easier.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:37 PM   #16
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My blog, Guerrilla Warfare For Writers, has only been up for two weeks and I've had 461 page views and seven subscribers. I do have a dozen or more comments. I have no idea if this is a good start or not. It appears to be about 30 hits a day, or so. It's really, really time-consuming to get the word out there and drop links all over hell's half acre.

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Old 03-03-2012, 03:11 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nathaniel Bell View Post
I'm sure I read somewhere that if you go with free Wordpress they own the rights to your name and content, but I'm not sure if this is correct.

Anyway, do you find your blog is helping sales? What do you do to drive people to the blog?
Re Wordpress: Not true. You still own the content. You have to give them the right to use it to copy and promote your blog, that's all. If you didn't, they couldn't run the blog for you.

Here's a link.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:34 AM   #18
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I have a static website--a free one, but my domain name is attached. I also have a free blogger blog. Blogger has the option to have pages, which are static like a website, so essentially all my content is doubled. My blog also feeds to FB and my Amazon author page.

Blogger has an active community of writers in my genre, so I find it very practical for promo and for keeping up with writer friends(which is also a kind of promo because other readers read your comments and click through). It links me to many of my writer sites and I use it as my homepage.

My blogger is also fed to a triberr tribe(twitter). I get a couple thousand hits a month on the blog, but less than 500 monthly on the website. I don't think I even need the website.
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