It used to be difficult to get a book published. You’d have to find a publisher willing to accept it, which often meant finding an agent to sell your book to the publisher. But things have changed in recent years.
While traditional publishers still exist, self-publishing on Amazon or other sites has made it possible for just about anyone to become an author. Between 2013 and 2018, self-publishing grew by 263% with nearly 1.7 million self-published books hitting the shelves in 2018.
Today, even the best books might go unread if they are not marketed well enough. There is a lot more competition than ever before, and authors have to work to get their content seen.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a website where you can connect with your fans, drum up publicity for your work, integrate ecommerce functionality to sell books directly to readers, list a bibliography or CV, build an email list, write a complimentary blog to increase your audience, and much more.
This might sound like a daunting task, but it’s really quite easy. Even if you don’t have technical skills, you can get a new website up in an afternoon.
This guide examines the best website builders for authors after many hours of research. I hope this will help you save a ton of time (and stress) in choosing the right website builder. Enjoy!
What is the Best Website Builder For Authors?
Unmatched ease-of-use and clean, logical templates perfect for the basics ($2.90/month).
Zyro is an easy-to-use website builder with a lot of clean, stylish templates. Although this platform doesn’t offer quite as many features as top website builders like Wix and Squarespace, it is a lot more affordable than most others and comes with the basic features you need to build an author website.
The templates are extremely easy to edit, even for those without any tech skills. However, the level of customizability isn’t very high, which means that the platform is perfect for new website builders who want a simple and professional-looking website.
If, on the other hand, you want to add your personal touch to your branding, then you might consider one of the website builders listed above.
- High-Quality Templates: Zyro’s templates have clean lines and a modern feel. You can easily customize them by dragging and dropping different elements.
- Commission-Free Plans: The platform has commission-free eCommerce plans which means you get to keep 100% of your profits.
- AI Branding Tools: There are a few optional artificial intelligence-driven branding tools that you can choose from to make your work easier.
Pros of Zyro:
- Easy-to-use template editor
- Clean, logical templates for authors
- Great sales and marketing features
- Affordable plans for authors on a budget
- No commission fees for eCommerce websites
Zyro has four plans, starting from $2.90 for the Basic plan. This is ideal for personal brands and comes with 3 GB bandwidth, 1 GB storage, and free email, among other features. The eCommerce Plus plan costs $14.90/month and allows you to add up to 2,500 products to your online store.
What Are People Saying?
- “I just started a small business and the website was one of the most important items on my to-do list. I tried a couple of other website creator tools, but they were too difficult to learn, had terrible interfaces, or didn’t look good on mobile devices. So, I figured I’d give Zyro a try. I was very pleased. Their customer service is the best. I’ve had some troubles with domains and they helped me, even at 10:00 at night. I’m glad I went with Zyro.” A.C. – Administrator in Construction.
Best template design selection ideal for modern authors ($12/month).
Squarespace has dozens of sleek and modern templates that you can use to build an exceptional author website.
Although none of them are designed specifically for this, they’re all 100% customizable which means you can create your pages and website exactly the way you want them to look.
The platform also has a wide range of tools and functions that you can easily integrate into your website to extend its functionality. These include event calendars, email capture, eCommerce, and marketing automation tools.
There are a lot of website builders available these days, but Squarespace is among the top website builders that are designed with ease-of-use in mind so you can set up and launch your website in just a couple of hours.
- SEO Features: Squarespace boasts top-notch search engine optimization which is great for authors who seek to secure a spot on the first page of Google.
- Social Media: Social media is another important marketing channel for authors and Squarespace makes it easy to integrate your website with all major platforms.
- Mobile App: Squarespace has an accompanying mobile app that you can use to easily manage and edit your website on the go.
Pros of Squarespace:
- Advanced eCommerce features
- Great blogging platform
- Built-in email, social media, and analytics
- A curated selection of sleek author templates
- Managed hosting, backup, and updates done for you
Squarespace doesn’t offer a free version, but there is a 14-day free trial that you can sign up for on the website. Plans start at $12/month and come with 24/7 customer support, a free custom domain name, and unlimited bandwidth and storage.
What Are People Saying?
- “I like that there are great templates – drop some words in, add some high-quality pictures, you can make a decent website quickly. It won’t be jaw-dropping, but it’ll get the job done. I also really appreciate their simple pricing – makes choosing the right plan easy for people I’ve worked with. I also like that it’s all in one – you can get your domain, hosting, all of it in one place, rather than having it all spread across different services.” A.R. – Administrator in Retail.
The most intuitive website builder ideal for authors on a budget (Starts from Free).
Weebly makes it easy for anyone to build a website – even when they have zero coding knowledge or technical skill. The platform has an intuitive interface and the drag-and-drop editor is unmatched in its ease of use.
The service specializes in eCommerce, which makes it a great option for authors who want to move a lot of books.
There is even a professional product photography service on the platform in case you need eye-catching images of your books, merch, and other promotional materials.
Weebly also has a membership area (a feature that authors will appreciate) and the themes are very responsive and adapt perfectly to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
- Drag-And-Drop Design: The platform’s drag-and-drop website builder makes web design easy and is one of Weebly’s biggest selling points. Using this DIY feature allows even beginners to build a website with ease.
- App Center: There are hundreds of apps you can choose from to integrate different features into your website to extend its functionality.
- ECommerce Upgrades: If you want to sell books from your own website, you can market, sell, and take payments easily with Weebly.
Pros of Weebly:
- Weebly has growth-focused features
- Tons of apps and widgets to integrate into your site
- An affordable option for unlimited eCommerce
- Cheap plans offer fantastic value for authors
- Built-in SEO tools and guides for quicker ranking
- Easily integrate Google Analytics to track website data
What Are People Saying?
- “This Weebly platform differs in its simplicity compared to the competition and is designed for people who do not want to spend time designing a website or simply have no knowledge to design a page from scratch. The entire platform has a large functional unit that focuses on drag-and-drop elements to place them where you want. This is an advantage over WordPress.org or Wix that while intuitive, are not designed to offer a 100% friendly experience.” Betty V. – Sr. IT Project / Program Manager.
Best platform for creating a customized experience ($228/year).
WordPress is the original website building software for non-developers. It’s free to download and use, and comes with a wide range of plugins that you can choose from for advanced SEO optimization options.
Thrive Themes is a set of blazingly fast templates, plugins, and widgets designed to work with WordPress sites. You can also create upload all sorts of content including videos, podcasts, review pages, blog articles, and much more.
Even better, you can import previously content previously posted on blogging platforms like Tumblr, Medium, and Blogger. For the 21st century author, this is a true blessing that make content management across sites a breeze.
Together, these two tools will help you create a great-looking, conversion-focused website that will get you more sales for your books.
Key Features of Thrive Themes:
- Conversion-Focused: Thrive Themes’ main selling point is that it focuses highly on boosting conversions which is ideal for authors looking to sell more books.
- Free Training: If you have never created a website before, you can learn everything you need to know about how to build an effective website from Thrive University.
- Fully Responsive: The platform’s page builder, as well as all the templates, are 100% responsive and look great on all devices.
Pros of Thrive Themes:
- Hundreds of beautiful page templates for authors
- Intuitive, easy to use user interface
- Simple drag-and-drop editor
- Great third-party integrations
- Perfect for WordPress.com websites
- Use custom domain names with ease
- Integrate your author site with dozens of web hosting platforms
Thrive Themes is an all-in-one suite of tools including the Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Architect, Thrive Quiz Builder, Thrive Comments, and more. You can get access to all of these for just $19/month paid annually ($228).
What Are People Saying?
- “I was using different tools and plugins to customize my and my client’s websites, and in the end, it was a super complex task keeping everything up to date without breaking something. Every time a major WordPress update came, or some big change in the visual editor I was using, things just got broken. Thrive is an all-in-one solution that works, and they send releases every three weeks, which feel like Christmas, because of all the new features they provide.” Juan G . – CEO.
Best for authors who don’t want the hassle of building a site ($12/month).
Webflow isn’t your typical drag-and-drop site builder. The platform combines an intuitive visual builder with powerful CMS capabilities, which is one of the reasons why it has become such a popular choice among authors.
With Webflow, you have complete control to build a responsive website without having to learn any coding. Pick your fonts, styles, themes, and more with the click of a button and swipe of a mouse.
One feature authors will find helpful is the dynamic content that allows you to create and reuse templates and other elements so you can ensure design consistency across your entire website without wasting a lot of time.
- Simple Editor: Webflow’s website builder empowers you to create a custom, professional-looking website using a simple visual canvas.
- Incredible Customization Options: The platform allows you to control every aspect of your site design, including responsiveness, interactions, styling, etc.
- Accessibility: The website builder also has a huge focus on accessibility with in-built features such as visual impairment simulations, smooth scrolling, and audit panel.
Pros of Webflow:
- A huge community of users
- 100+ hours of tutorials for first time website builders
- Growth-focused premium plans
- Reliable and hassle-free hosting network
What Are People Saying?
- “I love the ease of creating sites on Webflow, and with everything linked to CSS style classes, the designs stay pretty clean compared to other “drag n drop” / WYSIWYG editors. I love the “Visual CMS” design functionality, which helped me design CMS’s for my clients that are custom-tailored to their business.” Calvin H. – Producer, Learn English with Camille.
Best overall website platform with templates and features for authors ($14/month).
Wix is ideal for authors, both new and established. It’s a popular platform that will help you create a stunning website to make your next release a hit.
The platform has an intuitive design and excellent customer support. It’s perfect for those who want a professional-looking website without having to spend hours learning how to code.
There is a simple drag-and-drop editor that you can use to build the pages of your site by simply clicking on different elements like images, text, videos, etc., and dragging them onto a page.
Wix also has tons of author website templates to choose from so you don’t have to start building your site from scratch.
- Sell Downloads: This is a feature on the Wix platform that allows you to sell digital books, short stories, and any other digital documents directly on your site.
- FlipFolio: This feature is fantastic for authors and allows you to add 3D animated pages that resemble books to your website.
- Members Area: Website members can log in, make orders, and manage payments, bookings, etc., making the work easier for authors.
Pros of Wix:
- Easy to use, beginner-friendly platform
- Personalized SEO support for your website
- 800+ template designs to choose from
- Full customization features
- Wix offers a free plan (ideal for smaller projects)
You can use Wix for free. However, to remove Wix ads and branding, and unlock more advanced features, you can sign up for one of the paid plans which range from $14/month for the Combo to $39/month for the VIP plan.
What Are People Saying?
- “Wix helps me enormously because I can make designs from my device. The interface is wide, it has multiple tools that make a good spectrum of operation widespread. I can do brochures, social media advertising, and any kind of original creation. It does not have problems of slowness like other software of the same nature.” Richard B. – Small Business Owner.
Good for languages with amazing help and support (Starts from Free).
Site123 is a simple website builder with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor that will let you create and launch a website in just minutes.
The platform places a high focus on languages. The editor is available in over 20 different languages, including Romanian, Arabic, and Turkish, and the platform features multilingual websites, as well.
If you are an author who deals with multilingual content, then this website builder could be perfect for you. The platform has responsive support and offers a decent free plan which is great for smaller projects, but it comes with ads in the footer.
- Ease-Of-Use: Site123 has one of the simplest setups of all the options listed in this article, which makes it ideal for people who are just learning how to build a website.
- Design Flexibility: Although not at the same level as Wix or Squarespace, Site123 has basic tools to help you create a simple, yet professional-looking website.
- Strong CTA: The templates are designed to incorporate a clear call to action (e.g. “Buy my books here”) to get more visitors to take action.
Pros of Site123:
- Responsive 24/7 live chat support
- Very beginner-friendly, ideal for tech novices
- Free plan available
- Supportive building process
- Multilingual websites
You can use Site123 for free for as long as you want to. The free plan comes with 250 MB storage and 250 MB bandwidth. You also get a subdomain.
The premium plan costs $12.80/month and comes with a free domain for one year, eCommerce features, 10 GB storage, and 5 GB bandwidth.
What Are People Saying?
- “This is BY FAR, the easiest and most user-friendly website designer that I have dealt with. The technicians on the help chat are above professional and make it so easy to create an awesome website. Once I found SITE123, I quit looking!” Christi Prettyman.
A solid all-around package with a cheap ad-free plan (Starts from Free).
Jimdo is an increasingly popular website creator that currently powers over 20 million websites online.
The platform prides itself on its ease-of-use and recently introduced Jimdo Dolphin which requires zero coding skills to build awesome websites in under three minutes.
The platform is ideal for small businesses, and authors can use it to set up a fully responsive website with all the features for marketing and selling their books online.
There is a basic online store that you can add to your site, and since the platform offers a free plan, it means you can try out Jimdo without any risk.
- Jimdo Creator: In addition to Jim Dolphin, the platform also offers Jimdo Creator, a classic page editor with basic coding features for those who prefer it.
- ADI Feature: Similar to our top three website builders, Jimdo has artificial design intelligence that can create your website for you.
- Free eCommerce Plan: You can sell up to 5 products, such as books, merch, etc. with Jimdo’s free plan.
Pros of Jimdo:
- Choose your preferred editor
- Simple yet effective template designs
- You can sell your books on the free plan
- Responsive help and support
- Cheapest ad-free plans
What Are People Saying?
- “This was easy to use right out of the gate, customizing and arranging things I needed plus had great add-ons that would make it easy for my clients to find what they needed. I liked the integrations and the easy way to set up a shop with eCommerce items and with payment portals. You can buy your domain and hosting through them too for one low yearly price.” Tina S. – Certified Aromatherapist.
- Journo Portfolio: A range of tools to publish articles, blog posts, and books.
- Clippings.me: A quick way for authors to build an online presence.
- Booklaunch.io: A great start for showcasing your published works
- GoDaddy: The fastest way to build an author’s website.
- Strikingly: A beginner-friendly website builder specializing in one-page websites.
- One.com: The budget website builder is perfect for authors who are just starting out.
- Webstarts: Best for building basic, no-frills websites for authors.
- Duda: Ideal website building platform for authors who want multiple sites.
- Webnode: The cheapest website building platform (when using your own domain).
- Ghost: A powerful content management platform designed specifically for writers.
- Substack: A platform for authors to monetize their work via paid subscriptions.
- Convertkit: An effective single-page website builder to help authors build an audience.
- Joomla: An free, open-source platform for authors
What Features to Look For in a Website Builder For Authors
As you can see, there are a lot of website builders to choose from. But, to help you make the best choice for your needs, here are the features to look for in the best website builder for authors.
1. Well-Designed Templates: Your website represents you as an author so it needs to look good. Choose a website builder with the most attractive template designs created specifically for authors.
2. Ease-Of-Use: The platform you choose should not require you to have any coding or technical experience (unless that’s what you prefer). Otherwise, choose a website builder with a simple and easy-to-use page editor.
3. Personalization Options: In addition to getting nice templates, you also need the ability to customize them to match your brand and reflect your own personality. So choose a platform with robust customization capabilities that will allow you to make unique landing pages, home pages, blogs, and more.
4. Additional Author Features: Opt for a website builder that allows you to enhance your site by adding extra features, such as a blog, online shop, reader reviews, comments, etc.
5. Pricing: This is an important factor since you will have to maintain your website for a long time so make sure you choose a pricing plan that is affordable and comes with no hidden extra costs.
6. Reliable Support: Always check what type of support the platform offers (live chat, phone, email, forums, etc.) before signing up so you can be assured of getting the help you need if you come across any problems.
7. Free Trial: While most free website builders leave a lot to be desired, most premium website builders offer a free plan that allows you to test the platform first. If the platform doesn’t offer a free plan, it should at least have a free trial available (without the need to enter credit card details). At the very least, opt for one with a solid money-back guarantee policy.
8. Blog Functionality: While you might be an author not a blogger, blogging is a great way to get your work out there to wider audience. It not only creates shareable content, you shows off your writing skills.
9. Content Management System (CMS): Most website builders will have features that allow you to manage your content. Some of these are very simple and include simple publishing. Others are more intensive and can integrate offsite channels like social media and email with ease.
How Can a Website Builder Help You as an Author?
In today’s world, it’s hard to compete or find success as an author unless you create a professional online presence.
An effective website is a huge part of that. It will not only act as the foundational building block for your brand, but it also gives potential readers an easy way to find your books. Without it, you will have a hard time building an audience.
The right website builder has all the features you need to help you build a website that will help you create a good impression, establish credibility, and sell more books online.
Website Builder For Authors FAQ
Why does an Author Need a Website?
A website is a crucial marketing tool for authors. It not only allows them to showcase their expertise and sell their work online but also helps them build an audience around their work and develop an email list. It also provides authors with ample networking opportunities.
Can I Sell Books on my Website?
With the right website builder, you can add an online store to your website. This is a great way to promote your books to your target audience directly and avoid being reliant on retailers like Amazon. It also means you get to keep 100% of your profits (after processing fees).
What Pages Are a Requirement for an Author?
An author’s website needs the following pages: a home page, a bio, and a list of published works (with links to buy). You might call this page “books”, or “work”, or something like that.
You also need a “Contact” page so readers can easily get in touch with you. Depending on your audience and needs, you might consider adding a few bonus pages, such as a blog page, events, news/press, blurbs/praise for your work, etc.
How to Protect my Books From Being Stolen
As an author, you don’t need to have your work registered with the US copyright office in order to have copyright protection. The law states that as soon as you’ve completed the work, you own the copyright to it, and therefore have protection.
This means that if someone steals your work, you can sue them, as long as you can legally prove the work is yours.
How to Sell my Books Online
Your websites will be a powerful tool in helping you promote your books. But, there are other things you can do to help more readers find and buy your work.
Here are a few steps you can follow:
- Step #1: Create Great content. Your first step is to focus on creating great content. When you can show readers that you create amazing content, they will want more – and be willing to pay for it.
- Step #2: Offer a Lead Magnet. A lead magnet is a “bribe” that you offer in exchange for your readers’ email addresses. This should be something that your target audience finds extremely valuable and would be willing to share their contact details to get their hands on it.
- Step #3: Build Your List. You can use a tool like Active Campaign to help you start building your email list. You can then start sending your subscribers regular emails, beginning with a welcome series thanking them for signing up and letting them know what to expect from future emails.
- Step #4: Establish Trust. People won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you, so make sure you establish trust by providing tons of value in your emails. You should also show your readers why they should listen to you by showcasing your knowledge and expertise on the topic.
- Step #5: Sell Your Books. Now it’s time to start selling your books. As long as you have been providing value in the form of relevant and useful content, your subscribers will be eager to purchase your books.
And do your best to nurture your existing customers. After all, repeat customers are easier and less costly to acquire than new customers.
What Other Services Can My Website Offer as an Author?
There are a ton of other services you can offer on your website. This includes things like copywriting services, ghostwriting services, consulting services, and much more.
As an author, you have to work to build an audience and sell your books online, which means you will likely develop social media, email, and other digital marketing skills that you can also offer as services on your website.
You can also create a page with contact forms and other methods of communication. It’s never been easier to build a personal relationship with your fans.
We’ve come to the end of this article on the best website builders for authors. I hope by now you know how to make the best choice to suit your needs.
My number one recommendation is Wix. It’s the best overall website platform that is easy to use and comes with templates and features specifically designed for authors.
For authors who want to create a fully customized experience, WordPress with Thrive Themes will help you create a unique website to showcase your next bestseller.
If you are on a tight budget, Weebly is a great option that will help you build a simple, yet professional-looking website for free.
While building a website will come with a learning curve, you can easily overcome any difficulties by choosing these three or any other website builders on this list. The truth is that you don’t have to be a professional web developer to build a great website. All you need is a few hours and an desire to grow your audience.