I'd never really considered why I'd made my personal website (www.mmdevoe.com for the curious) just got a connection to build it back in the 90s when I started publishing quite a bit of my own work. Being asked the question now made me think.
Why do I have a website? What does it do for me?
Here's some of the stuff I came up with:
- central location for your online work
- freely accessible "collection"
- bio and pix there for easy cut/paste when sending out new work
- press clips are nice, but hard to offer people via email
but the number one thing that it does I think is raise a writer's profile. If you have a nice site and a prospective client or boss clicks on it and is impressed, it's like having a nice portfolio or an excellent business card. It shows you are organized, gives a glimpse into your personality, lets people browse for what is of interest to them. I'm grateful for having an elegant website. I have gotten a lot of compliments from editors who browsed after agreeing to publish my stories, and even from random acquaintances who googled me and wanted to tell me they were impressed.
so if you're just starting out, do you need a website? not in the least. But it wouldn't hurt to keep a list of author sites whose form or layout you really like just in case you eventually want to create one. A tip: look for the name of the designer somewhere on the site. Chances are when you're ready to make your website, that designer will be looking for a new client too.