What makes a great website?
Almost every professional book marketer believes that an author's website is the essential starting point for success.
Good websites for authors focus on the availability of the author’s books and contain links to blogs, news media coverage, social media, videos, and podcasts. The best ones prominently display a way to subscribe to the author's newsletter and also include a bio and how to contact the author.
Reedsy has a blog post about how to build author websites, complete with a downloadable .pdf checklist. https://blog.reedsy.com/author-websites-tips/. Book marketing expert Tim Grahl stresses the importance of website design in his marketing books, and his online courses include a template to help authors design websites.
The page for Authors I Follow on my site has links to see how some successful authors use websites as the starting point to market their books. Some have traditional publishers or small press publishers; others use hybrid publishers or self-publish their books.
The website for indie author Carmen Amato has everything on the Reedsy checklist to connect with readers, including her blog. The website for Edie Littlefield Sundby, who has a traditional publisher, puts more emphasis on national and regional news media attention, including TV appearances .
Many bestselling authors can afford to hire professionals to create and maintain websites. A lot of indie authors, especially newer authors, don't have that luxury.
Many authors use Wix as a free all-around website builder because it's relatively easy to update and maintain without paying for professional help. I'm using the free version of Wix for this website to learn more about its capabilities and help newbie authors build beginner websites that don't need more than 500MB of storage. It has more than 200 million users.
WordPress offers 3GB of storage, has just under 40 million users, and is better for people with lots of big blog posts. I use it for a five-year-old site I manage with an archive of nearly 100 blog posts about history, and which has more than 15,000 individual visitors from 103 countries.
Here's a link to see a rating of the best free website builders based on in-depth testing: https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/website-builders/free/