Author Websites: Static vs. Dynamic

I have been asked a few questions from local writers about creating an author website, and since I like to write about topics that are a part of my writing life, I thought I’d share some information that I considered when creating my own website. This post will give a general and easy to understand overview of the differences between static and dynamic websites and my views on each and why I chose to go with a dynamic website.

Static Website

A static website has a homepage that doesn’t change. The information will always be the same, or rarely change. This is great for businesses, and I can see it working well for established authors who already have a large body of work published. Many times, it’s a landing page where you then need to navigate to another page to find information like a list of published books, information about the author, upcoming events, etc. A good example of an author website that is static is the one by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Think of a static website as a billboard where people can come to find information about you and your books. Visitors will probably stop by once and not return. A benefit is that the upkeep of a static website is minimal, and you’ll have the online presence that agents and publishers are looking for without much effort.

Dynamic Website

A dynamic website requires more work, because the content is being updated often. This website is a dynamic website, where the blog is the landing page, and a new post is added weekly. This is a great way to get visitors to return frequently. It’s also an advantage for writers who do not yet have a list of books; however, it works well for well-published authors as well, since it gives readers a chance to interact with the author. It helps build a foundation of readers who return week after week. This is a great way to keep people updated on upcoming events, projects, and book releases. With a static website, a visitor might not stay up-to-date on upcoming events, but a follower of a dynamic website would receive the updates if the information is part of a blog post. Additionally, having more content on your page by having a blog will increase the chances of someone finding your website while searching for content that you are posting about, which may lead to another follower.

Here are a few other things to consider when creating a website with a blog. Can a new visitor come to your home page and easily see which blog post is the newest and follow them to the next most recent and so on? Does your website have easy navigation bars for other pages, or to archived posts? I would also suggest that if you have a blog that you place it on your home page. There are options to have a static home page and another page where you post your blog, but people who follow blogs like to come to a website and find the most recent content right away. They don’t want to have to navigate to another page to find the most current post.

It’s all about creating the type of website that serves the purpose you need, and there are benefits to both styles. You can always change your mind, but it is far easier to start off the website to serve the purpose you need it to rather than try to change it later. On a final note, if you can’t decide which you prefer, there are some site builders that allow a hybrid of the two that you may want to look into.

 

If you have a website, which did you choose and why? If you are considering starting an author website, which way are you leaning and why? What concerns do you have about static or dynamic websites?

7 Comments


  1. // Reply

    This was great information! In this day and age, most writers need dynamic websites, especially since readers always want new content.


    1. // Reply

      Thank you! There’s a lot of appeal to a dynamic website for an author, even if they don’t blog. Upcoming events, news on books, etc.
      It’s funny that I came to this decision, you would not believe how much I did not want to blog, but I’m glad I did. I’ve met some great writers, I get to share my work, and help other writers. Plus it forces me to write at least once a week. It’s also made me expand my writing life in my local community. It’s amazing how one little thing can help you grow so much.


  2. // Reply

    I think either option can work, although it partly depends on the target audience. If a writer is aiming for a younger audience that is used to reading plenty of free content online, then a dynamic website is probably essential. But older markets who want paper books and don’t do a lot of online reading are probably going to be happy visiting a static website.

    Creating content and blogging can be pretty time consuming, so I guess it also depends on how much time the writer has to spare.

    I think my ideal eventually would be to have a static home page, but still have a blog for updates and the occasional story.


    1. // Reply

      Thanks for adding this, Scarlett. I think you hit on some great points.
      I started my website at the same time I started submitting stories to literary journals, so it was creating an online presence, and it served to create a foundation for what I hope to be a long career as an author.
      I made the decision early to be okay with allowing people to read my work for free, so people become familiar with my work, and hopefully are won over by the free content to purchase my larger works later. It keeps me writing during periods I would otherwise be too invested in editing my novel too.
      I think blogging can take over your life. I know I can commit to a post a week. And while I know I could grow my blog faster by posting more, I don’t want to be a full-time blogger, and I really need that extra time to work on other projects. I think it’s all about finding a balance, and creating what will help an author meet their overall goals.
      I really like the clean lines of a static website, so maybe one day I’ll switch over to that too. I think I’m a long ways away from that point though.


  3. // Reply

    Thank you for this information, Mandie. I think either one is fine.


    1. // Reply

      You’re welcome, EM! I’m glad you stopped by. I am having a busy August. I need some time to sit down and catch up on my blog reading. Hopefully, after this month things will slow down and I won’t feel like I’m playing catch up all the time. 🙂


      1. // Reply

        I love stopping by! You can’t get rid of me that easily. 🙂 Anyways, although you’re having a busy August, I hope that everything is going well for you. Take care!

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