Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

My Hybrid Author Website: Custom Domain and Free Hosting

As you may have noticed, my author website now carries a new domain name:! In this post, I want to share with you how I set up my custom domain name, why I have decided to stay with’s free hosting, and my plans for the future.

My Domain Name

I chose to use my pen name as my domain name, because I believe it will be the way most readers and fellow authors try to find me in the future. At some point, I may also buy a domain name and/or set up a website for my press, but at this point, that does not make sense financially or logistically.

I purchased through, as it was recommended to me by The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast’s Author Website Course. The cost was $8.99 for one year.

From there, I mapped my new domain to my free account using these instructions. I did have to pay for WordPress Site Redirect to “redirect” those who type in/link to to The cost is $13.00 per year. However, it allows the site I currently use to function as it always has with a newer, more professional domain name. That put my total cost for one year at $21.99.

As most users will know, you can register your custom domain name directly through However, I decided against this for two reasons. First, the base cost for a domain name at is $18.00. For half the price, I can have a domain that I can easily transfer to different hosting in the future. Second, the domain registrar I used ( provides free privacy protection, whereas requires you to pay $8.00 for privacy protection. In short, my cost was $21.99 per year instead of $26.00 per year.

As an added perk, I also have free email forwarding now. So if you ever want to get in contact with me directly, should do the trick!

Why I Stayed with for Hosting

This list is simple:

  • Hosting is an extra monthly cost that I do not need right now.
  • I love my theme and mobile-friendly site.
  • I can do without fancy plug-ins and customization options until my career is more established.
  • I’m not super tech savvy yet, so I like having a reliable host and site design for now.
  • I love interacting with the community!

Plans for the Future

Eventually, I will move to a self-hosted website with either a custom design or a design template with heavy customization options. This is the main reason why I bought my domain name from a third party source — it is ready to move whenever I am!

As far as this site is concerned, I do have a few plans for updating it. You may already have noticed new email newsletter sign up buttons, new tag lines, and a few subtle changes to some of the pages and widgets. In the coming weeks, I hope to continue this by refining the options in my navigation bar, updating my author biography, and possibly integrating some video into my pages.

In other words, stay tuned for subtle, exciting (to me anyway) changes ahead!

For more information on how to set up your own author website, see Building Your Author Platform: Setting Up Your Home Base.

For tips on what to included on your author website, see Building Your Author Platform: 8 Essential Elements for Your Author Website.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

Building Your Author Platform: Setting Up Your Home Base

The first steps in building your author platform are understanding what, when, and why and choosing the pen name you want to use. Once those steps are completed, you can take action. My suggestion is to begin by setting up your “home base” on the web: your author website.

Your author website will be the center of your activity online. It will be the place to which you direct your readers (“funnel” them) from other sites. In the game of internet tag, it is the place you want your readers to end up: home base. It is a place entirely devoted to you and your work.

Most authors go one of two routes with their author website.

Route One: Free Blog/Website

There are several host websites that allow you to create your own website entirely for free. These include WordPress, Blogger, and Wix, among others. With these websites, you use the provider’s hosting, design options (often called “templates”), and a domain name that ends in their domain name (ie: NOTE: You can pay to have a custom domain name.


  • Entirely free
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to create and design
  • Easy to connect to others (via features like the WordPress Reader and searchable tags)
  • Simple statistics provided (not as thorough or accurate as Google Analytics)


  • Highly limited customization
  • Website is technically “owned” by another company
  • Host company may have regulations about content (profanity, selling products/services)
  • May look less professional than a custom website with custom domain name

Authors who should consider Route One: beginning authors, authors on a tight budget, authors who intend to blog regularly, authors who may not want to be full-time writers

My humble opinion: I chose to go the free route for the beginning of my indie author career. I did not want to invest money in my author website until I was closer to publishing. Likewise, I am not a technical wizard, and I like having an easy website with a strong social component to help me connect with other bloggers.


Route Two: Your Own Website

For a website to be entirely your own, you must pay for the hosting, buy a custom domain name, and either install a design template (free or purchased – themes are the most popular) or pay a designer to create a custom design for you. Depending on the services you select, having your own website may be inexpensive, or it could cost quite a bit. However, it will never be free.


  • Full customization
  • Ownership of your home base
  • No restrictions on content and/or selling your products/services
  • Shows professionalism
  • Can install Google Analytics (or another tracking service) to see exactly how many views you receive, from where your traffic comes, and other statistics


  • Costs money
  • Can be high-maintenance
  • Requires more technical knowledge
  • An “island” – not connected to others via a social network, must rely on search engine optimization (SEO) and organic traffic to generate views

Authors who should consider Route Two: authors with some technical knowledge, authors without strict financial limitations, authors who intend to be full-time writers, authors who are in writing/publishing for “the long haul”

My humble opinion: When I publish my first novel, I will be switching to a self-hosted site with a custom domain name and a free theme. I’m doing this, because I want to own my content, write any content I wish, and sell my products directly from my site. To me, it is an investment and a tool that I intend to keep my entire career.


To view the rest of my author platform series, click here.

What kind of author website do you have? If you use a free website, do you intend to keep it or change to self-hosted later? What else would you like to know about author websites?