Benefits of your personal site?

I've had BolanderBooks for over a year, and I get decent traffic on it. Maybe 10-12 visits a day, so I wouldn't say its a waste of my time. But at the same time, I can't help but wonder. Are there any benefits to having your own website rather than using sites like WattPad? At the very least, WattPad practically has an audience giftwrapped for you, you just have to give them something to read. Plus, you don't have to pay for the domain name and to keep the site running. I mean, I mainly built mine because I thought it would make me look more professional, but I still get waaaay more traffic on the WattPad and RRL. What do you guys think?

I'd say the personal site is always worth it. It's a good measuring stick, for lack of a better term. A funnel for fans of your books independent of the large read-in-place directories, where they will get you and only you. In theory, it displays the strength of your fandom.

It also serves to keep visitors attached to your work rather than the next recommended title by the sod next door when they're done reading given the number of books you have.

I'd say transfer to WordPress if you don't want to pay, but do keep a personal site.

Sites like WattPad have very specific demographics with very specific interests. Fine if you write what they like, not so much if you don't.

Although I use blogger it still is basically having my own site. I greatly prefer having one central location for my projects. As mentioned it gives people a central location to check back on and explore.

That said it helped to post elsewhere and leading back to the site to keep getting new eyes on the site.

The main benefits I can think of are as follows:

Assuming you don't use advertisements to earn money (which you can do if you want), you get to decide what's on your website. The limits are defined solely by your webhost, and are usually more lenient than most communities.

You can include Google Analytics on your site, which allows you to track your visitors. Harder to do on communities.

Most personal sites are done through Wordpress or similar software, which allows a very wide amount of customization, some types of which require little or no programming skills. This helps you tailor the site the way you want it to appear, which in my mind is a big plus.

If you do want to earn money, you have many ways of doing it. Paypal, Patreon, merchandise even advertisements. Communities may restrict this to some extent.

The main downside is the need to manage said website yourself. This is easy enough to do if you use a host like Wordpress, which may even allow you to buy your own URL. Many popular webhosting companies also sell URL and hosting packages built around Wordpress hosting. Or you can hire a tech firm to do it for you, but that's not really necessary unless you're operating a big site.

Well I get to spend lots of time on it, instead of doing other things like spending time with my family or walking my dog.

Also when it breaks I get to stare at it helplessly as it mocks me, which it does semi-regularly.

For some reason I always try to update it just before NaNoWriMo starts, and it invariably goes horribly wrong.

It's really good for my sense of masochism.

It depends- what are your goals? Are you looking for sales or a followship? Different sites have different benefits, and depending upon what you want, some are better suited than others.

What Dary said. It's awesome if you're getting traffic, but I've now been publishing daily on RRL for almost six months. My last poll, a few weeks ago, around part 140? Got 1 vote. I published daily on Wattpad for a straight month late last year. That netted me nothing (until I marked it completed, then one person came by, heyo). On my personal site though? I can usually scrape together 4 votes in a week (after being at it for three years), which beats those handily.

When you're part of a larger site, it's a lot easier for people's attention to drift to other stories, or for you to get lost in the shuffle. With your own site, you know people are probably there to actually engage with your style/material in particular. With my site, I can also time tweets, and I know what the links are going to be like for getting the info out. Others have pointed out you can maybe get more specific stats. You can personalize navigation too.

There's also the fact that, if the other host site decides to do a big upgrade in terms of look, or draft format, or navigation, you don't get stuck. (Wattpad did something at one point that ditched all my hard returns when I pasted in documents, years back.) Related, if they go down or something (for an upgrade or otherwise), your work's inaccessible (hopefully only temporarily). And I don't pay for my WP site, so it doesn't cost me anything anyway (except time, and at this point I have a process)... so, since I'm never able to access the mythical "gift wrapped" audience, why not have it?