I recently decided to rebuild my website and platform. I had been using a simple WordPress site and had been paying a significant monthly fee for an email list management / bulk sending provider. I have a hosting plan and I can install WordPress on my sites, so besides the cost for the host (that I use for many things besides my author platform) the site was free.

My largest costs to date for my author platform and books, consist of advertising fees from Facebook when I first built my email list, and the monthly costs of the list management service. I will still need to advertise, so while I can try and be as targeted and specific as possible, I can’t eliminate that cost. I discovered an alternative, however, to paying for a monthly email list management service: host my own.

It’s called Sendy, and so far, it’s great (regular link here / affiliate link here). You have to install some software on a server, then use Amazon’s SES (simple email service, I think). Anyway, it’s significantly cheap, and so far it seems to be doing the job I need it to.

I hunted for a nice theme, because that’s what you do with WordPress, you install a theme on it to customize how it shows pages. I couldn’t find one I liked, and then I found Divi by Elegant Themes (regular link here, affiliate link here).

It lets you customize EVERYTHING you can imagine (at least everything I’ve imagined to customize) and it looks slick.
Creating a custom site with it is almost ‘fun,’ but the system does have a steep learning curve.

Add in a couple premium plugins for some of the specific functions I want my site to have and add in a significant amount of time in order to customize everything, and out comes something like my site.

After hosting fees and one time costs for the premium software, my new system will cost me about $20 a month. During the peak of my last series launch, my monthly, non-advertising costs were about $150 a month. I’m hoping that with the reduced cost will come a reduced sense of urgency to market, sell, upsell, cross-promote, etc just to pay the bill.

I’m not sure exactly when I got into the mindset of creating as lean a system as possible, but I’m glad that I did! While it took many many more hours of setup and troubleshooting to ‘roll my own,’ I think the benefits will be significant and long lasting. I hope that this new system is easier for me to maintain and afford–which I hope means that I’ll therefor be more likely to use its full capabilities.