Security drives change
The internet is a battleground! Your website, your bank account, your email and all the other components of your online life are constantly being probed for vulnerabilities. There are an amazing number of people who prefer to steal from you instead of developing an honest service. There is simply no way to avoid spending significant time and money defending yourself.
All the products you use to build your Writer's Platform should be sending you frequent (quarterly?) updates. Wanna be hackers (Script Kiddies)can buy a cheap program that searches the web looking for sites that are still using old programs with known vulnerabilities. 90 or more percent of the attempts to login to to my sites use the user name "admin". Why? That's the default used by WordPress when it is installed. You can change it during the installation process but how is a non technical writer going to know that?
Competition drives change
Lots of brilliant minds can see the opportunities the internet presents. Lots of investors can see the potential of putting these minds to work. Lots of brilliant marketers are well paid to convince you their changes are essential for your success. The result is a flood of "opportunities" to spend time and money chasing the hope of better, faster, cheaper, easier.
Some of it is even true
It is easier to build and maintain a website today than it was ten years ago. It requires less technical skill to develop an author's platform than it used to. It costs less to start an online business than ever before. Compared to the cost of opening even a tiny brick and mortar store, online development is almost free.
Easier is not the same as easy
Writers need to remember that all the sales literature they receive was written by people with technology backgrounds. (or writers who had words put in their mouths). When a programmer says "easy" it does NOT mean the same thing as when a technology challenged writer says "easy".
Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick Two
If you are willing to accept that rule it cuts through a lot of marketing hype. For example, the first purchase you make to start building your Writer's Platform will probably be a domain name. If the lowest price is the criteria you use to drive your search for a registrar, there is an excellent chance you will find yourself using GoDaddy or 1and1.
As a novice buying a single domain name you will probably not care that GoDaddy forces you through endless upsells before you finally get to purchase your domain. It doesn't matter if you only have one or two domains, but if you start to accumulate more it gets really tiresome. I am aware that some people enjoy playing the cheap game. If that is you, more power to you. For me, I would rather pay a little more.
The pages you are shown are carefully designed to tempt you to buy services you don't really need. Unfortunately, what is needed and what is not, is not obvious when you are new. Take Domain Privacy for example. It is understandable that people wish to preserve their privacy. So a service that keeps your contact information off the Whois database might seem like a good idea. Is that true if you plan to use the name to grow your business?
1and1 attracts new customers by running full page ads in print magazines which offer domain names for $0.99 for the first year. What you won't see mentioned is that they take HOURS to make changes to your DNS records. What's that you say? When you or your developer have to make a change to your website hosting the DNS records need to change. With other registrars the changes will take place within minutes. ( for the wiseguys, I mean the change at the registrar. I understand propagation can take longer.)
All registrars I have used (12+), except 1and1, let your domain expire if you don't pay to renew it. How do I know this? I let two domains registered at 1and1 expire. Several months later I got collection letters from a New York City law firm for the unpaid renewal fees! At 1and1 your have to specifically request that your name be allowed to expire. They DO NOT make it easy to find the page where you do that!
Change exposes dependencies
WordPress, which powers over 25% of web traffic, releases upgrades and bug fixes every four months. Software developers know this. They also have access to beta copies of the changes which they use to make sure their plugins and other products will work with the new release.
That may not be the case for that free/cheap plugin your site depends on. Some free stuff is good. Some really brilliant minds like to sharpen their coding skills by creating neat tools. In fact, authoring a popular plugin that gets thousands of downloads, is the best resume a budding programmer can have.
When the programmer behind that fabulous plugin you have come to depend on gets hired by a hot new startup that offers stock options as part of a hiring bonus, there is no time or interest in providing support. After a few update cycles one of the changes breaks the old code and you have a big problem.