I have been playing around with my website (www.agodon.com) which is hosted by iPage (which I highly recommend!) because if you're a poet or writer (and even just one starting out), you need a web presence.
For many of you who know me and know I tend to lean towards more anti-platform, anti-branding, when it comes to publicity/exposure for writers, so this strictness in my belief might surprise you. But realize, just because I'm less likely to buy into the hype of building your audience before you build your book, doesn't mean I don't think as writers, poets, and artists that you should haven't have a professional website, web presence and also, take care of the parts of your job (submitting, promoting your book, etc) that aren't quite as artistic.
I'm a Capricorn. We're practical (and smart). We know that to keep doing what you are passionate about, you need to cover all the areas, not just the fun parts. (And actually, I've learned creating a website is pretty fun...and easy).
Having a website helps create the writer you are and/or want to be. And really, all I'm asking is that if you publish in journals (or plan to), you need to have a way for your readers to find you.
Here's exactly what I do after I read a poem by someone I like. 1) Go to computer 2) Go to Google.
It's that simple, if I read something I like by a poet, I want more.
When I google your name and I can't find anything about you, I'm disappointed.
So, if you don't have a website for your writer self, consider it a resolution for 2012.
Website hosting I'd recommend:
1) iPage: I just moved my domain name here (from Yahoo, which I don't recommend) and am so glad I did. I have never been trained in website design, but just used a template and their "Weebly Drop & Drag editor" (which I just played around with until I figured it out) until I created what I wanted.
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, great customer service & assistance, you can do it yourself (and update it yourself whenever you want!) and not have to pay someone to create your website.
Cons: It's not free. If you want more than 5 tabs on your website (I have contact, calendar/blog, poets on the coast, books, consulting) it's extra $$.
2) Blogger: I keep a blog on blogger, but I do know others have this as their main writing page. Blogger now lets you have "Pages," which can work as links to other parts of your website. Also, you can check in daily.
Pros: Free! And the page feature is pretty cool!
Cons: it has "blogspot" in your web-address which I don't like, but I think you can change this to your domain name, but you would have to purchase that separately somewhere else and point it to your blogger acct. (Something like that.)
3) Wix.com: I've made a website on this site a year ago and they are pretty cool. Here it is. I was going to switch over and just have it be there, but I realized the bad thing about Wix is that you can't see these webpages on iPads, iPhones or anything that needs Adobe Flash Player. So while I loved the templates here, I didn't like that iPad users wouldn't be able to visit.
Pros: Free! Coolest templates ever. Stylish, modern, chic.
Cons: iPad users can't see it because it uses Adobe Flash.
4) WordPress: I have never used them, but I've heard great things from people who do. Because I don't have personal experience with them, I can't really offer much on them, but wanted to include them because I've heard many positives from others.
Cons: I think again, you may have "wordpress" in your website (but honestly, that sounds nicer than "blogspot").
I'll do a post on Wednesday about what I think the best websites have and a few other tips for poets and writers.
Good luck! I hope you get one!