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5 Best Website Builders for Authors and Writers in 2020

Andrea Schlottman
Andrea Schlottman
36
January 28, 2020

Many author websites look boring, amateurish, or just outdated. Since you don’t want one of those, you need a website builder with professional templates and design flexibility.

But a good design is not enough. The right website builder will have other features that will make your site stand out, like a prominent author’s bio, an eye-catching spot for pull-out quotes and readers’ reviews, and a calendar for upcoming book signings. You may also want e-commerce features to sell your work directly from your site, or Amazon and Goodreads integrations.

I tested the major website builders on the market and found out which ones offer the best features for authors. I’ll share some time-saving tricks, pro tips, and helpful visual guides to make your website building experience as hassle-free as possible. Read on to find the right website builder for you, so you can get back to writing your next best seller.

Website Builders for Authors: Our Top Picks

  • Wix – Has 10+ fully customizable templates in the Literary Arts category and a great Amazon integration
  • Site123 – Offers a quick and easy website building process so you won’t waste any precious writing time
  • Squarespace – Offers polished templates and stand-out blogging features to present your writing in its best light.
  • Weebly – Provides a user-friendly editor and offers the cheapest e-commerce plan for unlimited book sales
  • WordPress.com – Gives you awesome writer-friendly features like distraction-free editing mode and Goodreads integration

What We Look For in the Best Website Builders for Authors

To narrow down the dozens of website builders out there, I focused on the features that matter most to authors:

  • Well-designed templates: If your site is going to represent you, you need it to look good. I chose the builders that offer the most attractive designs. Some even have templates created specifically for authors.
  • Personalization options: Templates are nice, but you want your author website to reflect your own personality. These builders allow you to customize your site’s design and make it your own (some offer more freedom than others).
  • Ease of use: You don’t need any design experience to use these platforms, and you certainly don’t need to know how to code. Building your website will be quick and easy, so you can save your time for writing (or, if you’re like me, for procrastinating).
  • Extra author features: These builders let you enhance your site with a blog, reader reviews, or even your own online shop to sell your books.

#1 Wix – The Best Collection of Templates for Writers

Wix Literary Arts templates

Wix has more than 500 free templates, and it even has 15 templates specifically dedicated to the literary arts. Whether you’re a novelist or a children’s book author, you can find at least one template made specifically for you.

Since all Wix templates are fully customizable, you don’t have to limit yourself to the Literary Arts category. You can choose any template you like from the library and make any changes you like. One of the advantages of choosing a designated author template, though, is that they come with preset sections for books, an author’s bio, press reviews, and upcoming events – like in the example below.

Wix Author Portfolio template

Heads up about the templates: Make sure you spend some time choosing the right one. After you’ve started editing, you won’t be able to switch.

There are many features you can integrate into your site, either through the editor itself or via the Wix App Market:

  • Add a blog to publish chapter samples or short stories
  • Directly display your books for sale through the Amazon app
  • Allow visitors to download files, such as free excerpts and e-books
  • Use the Wix Forum app to create a community for readers to share and comment
  • Insert a Wix Countdown Clock to generate buzz for your next book release

You can learn about other features in our full Wix review.

Wix’s free plan comes with 500 MB each of storage and bandwidth, but you’ll be stuck with a Wix subdomain and Wix branding.

If you want to sell printed or digital books online, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to run an online store. As a free user, you can add an external link to Amazon or Book Depository.

Number of Templates500+ templates in total, with around 15 for authors
Mobile-Responsive Templates?No, but each template has a mobile-friendly version and you can use the mobile editor to tweak it to your liking
E-commerce?Yes, but only on paid plans
What Do You Get with the Cheapest Paid Plan?The Combo plan offers:

  • 2 GB bandwidth
  • 3 GB storage
  • Custom domain (free for one year with annual plan)
  • Branding-free display

#2 Site123 – Perfect for Authors Who Want to Get Online Quickly

Site123 templates

If you’re up against the clock on your publishing deadlines with no time to waste building your website, you’ll probably like the efficiency of Site123. This website builder has far fewer templates than Wix (and doesn’t have any specifically made for writers), but there’s a nice selection of modern designs.

Site123 has plenty of useful features for an author site. You can:

  • Insert testimonial blocks to highlight readers’ reviews
  • Add Timeline to display your body of work visually
  • Choose your preferred blog style to publish teasers, short stories, or chapter excerpts
  • Add an Events page to showcase upcoming book releases or signings (shown below)
  • Use SEO tools to make sure potential new readers can find your site easily

Adding a new page on a Site123 website

Site123’s 24/7 live chat support is also really helpful for beginners. I used the live chat a ton while writing my full Site123 review and never had to wait more than 30 seconds for an answer.

Site123’s free plan is pretty limited, with only 500 MB storage, Site123 branding, and a Site123 subdomain. But it still allows you to build a fully functional site quickly and easily.

Number of Templates100+ templates, none specifically for authors
Mobile-Responsive Templates?Yes
E-commerce?Yes. You can technically even host an online store with a free plan, but you cannot accept online payments (offline options, such as pay by phone and bank transfer, are possible)
What Do You Get with the Cheapest Paid  Plan?The Basic plan offers:

  • 5 GB bandwidth
  • 10 GB storage
  • Custom domain (free for one year)
  • Branding-free display
  • 100 mailing list messages
  • Access to plugin library
  • More customization options

#3 Squarespace – Advanced E-Commerce and Blogging Features

Squarespace Blogs & Podcasts templates

Squarespace is well-known for its trendy, polished templates. In such a competitive industry, you want your website to reflect who you are and look its absolute best.

Along with attractive templates and standard edits to your website (like adding images, pages, and text blocks), Squarespace also has some unique features for authors – especially if you like blogging.

editing a blog post on Squarespace

A Squarespace blog lets you:

  • Organize your posts according to categories and/or tags
  • Enable or disable reader comments for individual blog posts, or even set a time limit for comments
  • Use accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to make your posts load faster on mobile devices
  • Automatically push content to your social media accounts (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more)

Start with Squarespace’s 14-day free trial to build your site and see if you like the platform. If you subscribe to the Business plan, you’ll be able to add an online store to sell your books. You’ll also get unlimited storage – great for uploading videos from book readings or even sketches from the creation process of your graphic novel.

Read more in our in-depth Squarespace review.

Number of Templates100+ templates, none specifically for authors
Mobile-Responsive Templates?Yes
E-commerce?Yes, on the Business and Commerce plans
What Do You Get with the Cheapest Paid Plan?The Personal plan offers:

  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage
  • Custom domain (free for one year with annual plan)
  • 24/7 customer support

#4 Weebly – The Cheapest Way to Sell Books

Weebly templates

Weebly has a simple, streamlined drag-and-drop editor. Although it offers fewer themes than Wix or Site123, the selection is attractive, and every theme can be customized exactly as you want. If you don’t like the free themes on Weebly, you can also import third-party themes from marketplaces like ThemeForest. Unlike Wix, you can change Weebly themes at any time, giving you more flexibility.

Customizing your site is easy, with 25+ ready-made elements you can drag and drop onto any page.

Adding content elements to a Weebly website

For your author’s website, a few standout features of Weebly include:

  • Downloadable documents via Scribd
  • A blog to share your thoughts with the world or publish writing samples
  • Contact forms for readers, literary agents, or other site visitors to get in touch with you
  • Social media apps and buttons to help you get more followers
  • Custom surveys to collect feedback from your readers

With Weebly’s free plan, you’ll get 500 MB storage, but your site will have a Weebly subdomain and Square branding. Upgrading will unlock more storage and the ability to connect a custom domain. Weebly also offers the cheapest e-commerce plan with no limits, allowing you to sell your books for much less than other site builders.

Learn about other pros and cons in our detailed Weebly review.

Number of Templates60+ themes available, none specifically for authors; you can also purchase and import third-party themes
Mobile-Responsive Templates?Yes
E-commerce?Yes, available with the cheapest plan
What Do You Get with the Cheapest Paid Plan?The Personal plan offers:

  • Custom domain
  • 500 MB storage
  • E-commerce, including digital/physical products and online payments

Note that this plan does include Square branding

#5 WordPress.com – Lots of Free Widgets, Including Goodreads Integration

5 Best [Really FREE] Website Builders for Authors-image7

WordPress.com has more than 100 free and premium themes, with around 15 themes designed for writers. If you upgrade to the Business plan, you can also purchase themes from third-party providers (Template Monster is one of my favorites).

With a free WordPress.com plan, you can:

  • Display your books on Goodreads on your site
  • Add a “milestone” to count down to an upcoming event, like a book release
  • Add a Google Translate button to display your site in different languages
  • Take advantage of built-in SEO tools to grow your readership

Good news for the easily distracted writers among us: Once your website is published, you can write blog posts distraction-free by using the Full-Screen Editing or Spotlight modes.

You can easily import your previous blog posts from most popular blogging platforms, such as Tumblr, Blogger, and Medium.

Importing blog posts to a WordPress.com blog

With WordPress.com’s free plan, you’ll get a generous 3 GB of storage, but your site will have a WordPress.com subdomain and WordPress.com branding. The free themes and widgets give you lots of options, but if you want to sell your books, you’ll have to upgrade to the Business plan (or settle for adding a link to Amazon).

Jump over to our WordPress.com expert review for some pro tips on using the platform.

Number of Templates100+ in total, around 15 free themes for writers; you can also purchase and import third-party themes
Mobile-Responsive Templates?Varies by individual theme
E-commerce?Yes, but only on the Business plan and up
What Do You Get with the Cheapest Paid Plan?The Personal plan offers:

  • 6 GB storage
  • Email and live chat support
  • Free domain for one year (with annual plan)
  • Branding-free display

Some Final Thoughts on the Best Website Builder for Authors

Still not sure which is the best option for you? Here are some quick recommendations:

  • If you want the largest selection of designated templates for authors, Wix is by far the best choice. You can also take advantage of its great free apps, including the Amazon integration.
  • If your priority is to sell your books at the lowest cost to you, then go with Weebly. You can sell unlimited e-books, printed books, and other merchandise directly from your site on the cheapest plan.

In most cases, it’ll be worth the added cost to upgrade. You’ll be taken more seriously as an author with your own domain name, and you’ll often get access to better customization options or add-on features. All of these site builders offer reasonable starting prices and a minimum 14-day money-back guarantee, so you can try a premium plan without risking your hard-earned cash.

Check out the table below to find the best website builder for your author’s site.

Stand-out features for author websites
Wix
  • 500+ free templates, 10+ in the Literary Arts category
  • Great free apps like Wix Forum, Amazon, and Countdown Clock
Site123
  • 100+ free elements, including events calendars and pull-out quote blocks
  • Responsive 24/7 live chat support
Squarespace
  • Great blogging platform
  • Advanced e-commerce features
Weebly
  • Stylish templates, all free
  • The cheapest option for unlimited e-commerce
WordPress.com
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • 40+ free widgets, including Goodreads integration
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