Websites. Are they important? Hell yes. As a published/contracted writer, having a website or a blog is essential in today's internet world. Even an aspiring writer benefits from launching that blog or website early in the game. So, today, for those thinking of going with a professional designer, here's a list of designers who've created some pretty nice writer websites. And for those planning to do their own, take a look at the designer's portfolios -- they can be a great source of inspiration and ideas.
As soon as I receive my cover art (and I'm given the go ahead to make it public), I'm planning to hire a web designer to incorporate the design into my website to give it a more streamlined look. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.