- Determining long-term goals
- Hiring a web developer or designer
- Doing it yourself
- Reasons why you should use WordPress
- Reasons why you should use the Divi Builder
If you’re a writer or a blogger looking to build your presence online, you must have a website you can truly grow on over time. Not only that, but you need something reasonably easy to use, rich with features, and that isn’t going to break the bank. I’m going to show you why you should build your blog or author website on Divi by Elegant Themes using WordPress. If you dedicate enough time to creating quality content and building SEO on your website, you can eventually make a nice income from monetizing your blog and selling products like merch and books.
As a web designer and SEO specialist, I’ve had the opportunity to test out quite a few different blog platforms and website builders over the years. In this article, I’ll give you my recommendation for the absolute best website builder and platform to use for your website. Again, this is my recommendation based on what I’ve seen work really well for long term growth, SEO, and overall user-friendliness.
Determine the Long-Term Goals for Your Website
Before choosing a platform and website builder, you must know your goals over the next few years and for the long haul. If you want to start a blog, think about how you want that blog to grow over the next ten years. How many readers do you want to have month after month? Do you plan to sell digital products on the site eventually? If you’re a writer or an author, will you need to sell your book from your website at some point?
It goes without saying that if you want to make an income from your website, you need to get as many people as possible to visit it. Even if you’re simply a freelance writer, you’ve got to get potential clients to your website. Getting traffic comes through a robust website that maximizes content and implements the latest SEO techniques so that it’s getting found online.
If you’re looking to monetize your site or leverage it to make an income, I recommend using a platform and builder that allows that kind of growth and SEO optimization. If you’re creating a website for the fun of it, which I hope you’re not, then it honestly doesn’t matter what you use to make your website.
Should You Hire a Web Developer to Create Your Blog or Author Website?
The answer is both no and maybe. If you’re a blogger, writer, or author, you likely don’t have a large marketing budget to throw at a new website. Keep in mind that hiring a web developer to create your website from scratch will usually cost you anywhere from $60 to $160 per hour, requiring at least 50 to 100 hours to finish the entire project. If you have a larger budget to burn on a simple blog or author site, more power to you! In that case, go right ahead and hire a developer.
However, if you’re wanting to cut costs but still get an awesome, custom website, I recommend doing this yourself or using a designer who knows the ins and outs of WordPress and Divi by Elegant Themes. A savvy web designer will know how to create a fully custom website for you from the front end of your website, meaning they won’t have to drag in any complicated code to make the vision you’re looking for in a website. Additionally, a quality designer will charge you around $20 to $60 per hour to create your website in about 30 to 50 hours.
Now, suppose you’re more technically savvy and don’t mind learning new skills on YouTube. In that case, I firmly believe that you can set up and design your very own custom blog and author website visually using WordPress and the Divi Builder. Over the coming months, I’ll post a series of tutorial videos that show you how to do this, but you can also find hundreds of Divi and WordPress tutorials online already that can help you!
Why You Shouldn’t Use Website Builders Like Squarespace and Wix
When you create your blog or website, you want it to get lots of visitors. That’s the whole point, right? Well, an online tool called BuiltWith, used to track technology across the internet, did a study to find out what blog platform drives the most traffic. They found that approximately 96 percent of online organic traffic is going to WordPress domain names, while only 1.4 percent goes to Wix domains, and roughly 15.1 percent goes to Squarespace domains.
Now, what does all that mean? Well, BuiltWith didn’t dive too deep into the factors involved in the study results, but having spent the last eight years using tons of website builders and optimizing websites for SEO, I can tell you that I have a pretty good idea.
Website builders like Wix and Squarespace are built with ease of use in mind. That’s great for helping technically challenged people, and beginners get their website up quick, but it also means that available features, functionality, and critical SEO tools you need on the backend of your site aren’t available to you. For example, you are extremely limited to what you can enter for your meta descriptions, while WordPress opens the door to very robust SEO tools such as Yoast SEO and Schema Pro, two awesome SEO plugins that can make a huge difference in how you show up in search.
Finally, these kinds of builders are slow. Keep in mind that the hosting that comes with these builders don’t have many options to increase your website speed. This is a real problem when it comes to growing because you want to accommodate a large number of visitors eventually, so it’s best to keep your hosting separate from your website so that you have options to speed things up when you need to. I haven’t even touched on the challenges that come into play when tracking your user analytics on these kinds of sites. Don’t get me started.
Why You Should Use WordPress as Your Website Platform of Choice
Aside from the fact that WordPress-based domains attract over 90 percent of organic website traffic, there are many other reasons why you should choose WordPress over other platforms. I’ve personally used WordPress for all my website projects, and I’ve built WordPress websites for my clients for the last eight or so years. Here are some key highlights that make WordPress an attractive solution for bloggers and authors.
WordPress is User-Friendly
WordPress is super user-friendly, even for those who aren’t technically inclined. Yes, you will have to learn a few new tricks when managing the platform if you’ve never used it before, but there is so much support surrounding WordPress, such as YouTube channels and websites like this, that can teach you everything you need to know. You don’t have to be super technical or know code, or even know design to create a sleek, professional-looking website.
WordPress is Versatile and Scalable
If you put a lot of time into a website, I’m sure you’d love to see it keep growing for years to come. WordPress is versatile and scalable. Unlike other builders, which lock you into using only tools within their wheelhouse in most cases, WordPress has thousands and thousands of plugins to choose from. These plugins allow you to add virtually any feature to your website so that you can take full control of the user experience. Most of these plugins are free, but if you can’t find something free, you can also find premium plugins that work great.
You Don’t Need Design Skills with WordPress
You don’t have to be a designer to create a professional-looking website when you have WordPress. You have access to thousands of themes, some free and some premium, that allow you to create a beautiful, mobile responsive site that fits your brand. Now, if you do choose WordPress, I highly recommend buying a premium builder called Divi by Elegant Themes, which provides tons of templates and the ability to drag and drop—letting you customize those designs with ease. I’ve built tons of websites on WordPress using the Divi Builder by Elegant Themes, and it is the best builder I’ve ever used.
WordPress Websites Rank Higher in Search Results
WordPress sites rank very high in searches. This is because you have so many options and flexibility in SEO optimization on the backend of the website. You can add plugins like Yoast SEO, a plugin that guides you step by step as you optimize individual pages for SEO. You can also add a custom schema markup on individual page types that helps Google better understand your content to rank higher more often.
You Can Host Your WordPress Site Just About Anywhere
Unlike most website builders like Squarespace and Wix, WordPress allows you to freely choose the hosting provider that works best for your budget and your users. If you’re not familiar with hosting, it’s essentially where your website will live digitally speaking. Your host is what determines your website’s speed and security, so you must have the option to choose what works in your specific situation.
My number one hosting provider right now for small websites is Siteground, so I encourage you to check them out! They have fantastic support and are very easy to use. They even have a free WordPress website migrator tool that will come in very handy if you’re trying to move an existing WordPress site to their hosting service.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you know that I’m a big fan of WordPress and Divi by Elegant Themes. It’s come in handy the last eight years for me, and I’m confident it will work well for you in most situations. With WordPress, you can scale your brand with what seems like endless tools and design options that you truly can’t get anywhere else.
Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont.