What do you recommend for a writer wanting to promote his or her work online?
1. Opt-in Site
2. Sales Letter Site
3. Authority Site with a Blog
4. Affiliate Site
5. Membership Site
Don't know about the rest of you, but I do believe a writer needs more than one presence on the web, but I wouldn't think he or she needed five. I'd suggest:
1. Online brochure type site for general info
2. An authority site with a blog (to establish a name in a specialty)
3. A social media site for interaction with fans (separate from personal social media site if you want to keep that one closed to actual friends and family)
4. A store page that links to your books on the web, whether you set it up yourself or simply point readers (and buyers) to the listings at Smashwords, B&N, Amazon, Indy Planet, etc.
I think that's a good plan for an online presence if you want to promote yourself.
I agree that one static site isn't good enough anymore because it doesn't allow interaction, and even if it does have a message board, sorry, all the people are at Facebook. But having only a Facebook page doesn't give you a place to build your portfolio showcase or easily point to sales outlets (without having to do it all the time and have them get buried on your page day after day).
The one some people might not see as a full necessity at this point is the blog that sets you up as an authority on a specialty. But I think this one (yes, this little ol' blog right here) is going to prove more helpful than I would have suspected early on, as people start to see "Sean Taylor" as "that guy with the really cool pulp and writing articles who sure seems to know his stuff." And a good blog keeps you on your toes with regular content to share with your current fans and clients and builds a backlog for your future fans and clients to discover. Just be sure not to use it solely to post your press releases. Use it to give back to your audience and reach new readers.