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The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question? Should you have your own website? If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.
Should you have your own website? That’s the topic I’m addressing today in The Write Question. I’m Daphne Gray-Grant, the Publication Coach.
I have a question from Jennifer Wain, a writer based in London, Ontario. Here’s what she’s asked by email…
“Should I create my own website, or should I blog on a platform like Medium?”
Thanks for your question Jennifer. Writing is already a substantial job and the steps you have to take to share your writing with others might seem almost overwhelming.
But look at the situation this way: If you’re going to the trouble of writing, you want as many people as possible to read your words.
You ask specifically about Medium, but there are also other platforms you could consider. Substack. LinkedIn. Scoopit. To name just a few. (See links in the show notes.)
But here’s why having a website is better. You will OWN your own website. You set the rules. You can make it look exactly how you want it to look. And, most importantly, you can collect the email addresses of people who choose to subscribe to your writing.
Having a list of subscribers is extremely valuable because you can ask these people questions. And you can go on to sell them books, products or services if you choose to go that route.
Now, I’m not saying you should avoid Medium. Or LinkedIn. Or any other platform. You can use them too. Unless they require original content, you can simply re-run what you’ve already posted on your website.
I do this all the time.
I blog five days a week and, every Tuesday, I email one of those same blogs to tens of thousands of subscribers. That’s very little extra work for me. And I post exactly the same blog to LinkedIn, the following week. So, I get the best of both worlds.
You may worry about the cost of running a website, but it needn’t be expensive. You can use a platform like WordPress or Squarespace and then do all of the pretty-easy posting yourself. They are both simple platforms to learn, but if getting started intimidates you, hire a smart 16-year-old to set it up.
In terms of creating your own subscription list, you’ll need a sign-up box on your home page and you’ll need to use a service to do the emailing for you.
Mailchimp is free for the first 2,000 subscribers, and allows you to send a total of 12,000 emails a month. Beyond that, you’ll need to pay roughly $30 a month if you stick with Mailchimp. Or, you can switch to AWeber, which offers the benefit of phone support. Their basic plan currently costs $20 a month. See show notes for links to both of these services.
Understand that it will take you a while to grow your list. When I started blogging way back in 2006, I remember that my first subscriber list consisted of just 34 names. Thirty-four. Over time and with word-of-mouth, I grew it to the many-thousand-name list it is today.
I sell books and coaching and courses and an accountability program. I could not have done this work so successfully without having my own website.
Finally, let me wrap up with the words of the Belarusian-Amrican entrepreneur, author and speaker, Gary Vaynerchuk: “What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.”
Jennifer, starting your own website might seem like a big leap of faith, but it’s actually pretty simple and straightforward. I strongly suggest you give it a go.
Viewers, if you have any writing-related questions, I’d be happy to do a video on them. Just send me a quick email, email@example.com,or put a note in the comments section of this YouTube video.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how to make writing a happier and more rewarding process, check out my latest book Your Happy First Draft. I don’t sell it in bookstores or via Amazon. The only place to buy it is on my website, link on the screen below and in the show notes.