Do authors and illustrators need multiple websites and platforms? Advice from a web designer and digital strategist

Do authors and illustrators need multiple websites and platforms featured image

Creatives often have multiple irons in the fire which leads to the question: do you need multiple websites for each venture? 

This is one of the top questions I hear from clients and in online communities of authors and illustrators. This blog post will go into the pros, cons, and considerations with case studies to illustrate when it makes sense to combine and when it does not.

Why consider multiple websites and online platforms

This question comes up any time someone is juggling multiple things that each might require an online presence and website. For instance:

  • I write for both kids and adults – should I combine them?
  • I illustrate kids books and also sell pet portraits through Etsy – is that too confusing for one Instagram account?
  • I need an author website and a professional website for my translation services – should I combine those?
  • I have a podcast, I’m a children’s book author, and also I teach environmental classes?

I often help clients sort this out – it involves strategizing and delving into the details, because the answer depends on the specifics of the ventures. 

Pros and Cons on Combining Your Ventures into one Website

The first step to deciding if you need multiple websites is to weigh the  advantages and disadvantages for your specific case.

Pro: Less Work and Cost for You!

A major advantage of having a single website is that it takes less time and cost to build, maintain, and update. (That’s true whether you’re doing that work yourself or paying a webdesigner like myself.)

This is a major consideration for most authors and illustrators – we would rather be writing or creating art!

Pro: Drive Traffic From One Part of Your Platform to Another.

If you combine all your ventures into one platform, people can discover all the things you do.

  • Readers go to an author’s website for their adult fantasy novels then discover they also write YA fantasy. 
  • A potential customer follows your Instagram for your art prints, then learns you’ve also illustrated children’s books.
  • A fellow writer follows you for that, and then learns you also offer editing services.

You can potentially make each venture more successful by driving traffic from one venture to another.

Con: It May be Confusing/Off-putting To Your Audience. 

This is a big con! Sometimes the gap is just too large between ventures which causes confusion or drives away your potential customers and audience.

Imagine a site like “Ed’s fried pickles and oil changes.” People looking for fried pickles probably aren’t looking for an oil change at the same time. (And vice versa.) Oil changes aren’t appetizing and no one wants car fumes with their food. On the flip side, people may wonder about the reputability of an oil change place that’s also frying pickles. Combining these may drive away business.

It’s often less clear-cut for authors and illustrators. How aligned do ventures have to be to combine them into one platform? Let’s look at some specific examples.

When should authors and illustrators have single vs. multiple websites

The next section will deal with how to combine multiple ventures onto a single website, but first let’s look at some examples of when to combine or not.

Authors who write in multiple genres/markets should have a single website if they can!

In most cases, it makes sense to combine everything into a single author website so long as you can clearly differentiate between them on the site. Usually, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but there are some specific cases where that advice doesn’t hold.

Kidlit writers like myself, tend to cover a lot of age groups – those are fine to combine as long as they aren’t off-putting. That can include adult and kidlit. (I once heard an agent at a kidlit conference say the only genre’s she wouldn’t combine would be kidlit and erotica!)

An exception is for genre fiction writers. They are sometimes advised to use a pen-name for each genre since adult readers often stick to one genre. This prevents reader confusion – they could grab a book in another genre and hate it simply because it’s not what they were expecting. It can be a fairly open connection between them and still help prevent confusion! 

Illustrators and artists can usually combine All their Art into a single site!

Usually, people won’t be put off by arms of an artistic business, and there’s a clear thread tying it together: you’re the artist!

The same caveat apply as for authors: you still need to clearly differentiate between each part of the website and the subject matter of each shouldn’t drive people away. (E.g. don’t share your kid lit illustrations and erotica illustrations on the same website!)

A possible exception is for different intended audiences. At a recent SCBWI conference, I sat in on a session with two art directors who gave live feedback on illustrator’s websites. 

My biggest takeaway was that art directors need to see a portfolio foremost. Whereas if you’re trying to sell directly to customers (such as an art store) you want a main page layout that showcases your works with clear calls to action to help move people from browsing to buying. Each would need to be at the top of the page to be effective.

Even then, I think it could be combined into a single website with careful thought, landing pages, and a clear linking strategy. Or you could separate them but have links between to encourage cross-traffic.

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For authors/artists who have unrelated businesses/professions – it depends

Should you combine your websites if you’re an author or illustrator as well as something unrelated? That depends.

Many of us don’t fit neatly into one category. For instance, you might be:

  • A professor, podcaster, and book author
  • A homeschool blogger and an artist
  • A children’s book author and web designer (That’s me!)
  • A truck driver, union leader, and illustrator

This is where things get trickier and need more thought.

Things to consider: 

  • How related are the two things you are considering combining into one website? 
  • Do the audiences overlap for these two ventures? 
  • Does one venture drive away people from the other?
  • If you have an existing audience in one venture – will they be put off by adding a new one? (This may not apply to everyone – but it did to me!)


Do you need multiple websites as an author or illustrator? Each creative is unique and their answer is, too. But hopefully this post gives you some guidance so you can make an informed decision that maximized your impact while minimizing your time!

If you need help strategizing or help figuring out how to combine your brand cohesively, we can help on a consulting basis!

About the Author

Angie Isaacs is the owner of Bookend Creative Studio and a published children’s book author. On the blog, she writes about web design, branding, marketing, goal-setting, and writing.

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