I’ve had a professional website for a few years. My husband and I made it three years ago in Microsoft Publisher, late at night over a series of weeks. Even though Publisher is a dog to work with, it’s cumbersome and not very user-friendly, we made a darn good site, one that has served me well. Just this week an international organization found me online and is considering hiring me to lead a workshop on grief journaling. To all you nay-sayers out there who question the importance of having an online presence, if you are serious about working as a writer, get one.
You have three choices in website design:
1. Say yes to the spouse/son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchild who has offered to make you a website. Any website, even a static single webpage is better than no site at all.
2. If you want to hire out, check out the websites of your writer friends. Find a site that you like, see who designs it, ask the cost, and go for it.
3. To those of us who want to do it ourselves, you can use a plethora of website options. I just Googled “designing your own website” and got 29,000,000 results.
You may ask why am I improving my website if it still works? Well, I want to be able to update my own website myself quicker and more easily. Plus, Social Media has become such an important part of a professional writer’s world that I want my site to visually involve it even more. Last but not least, my writing life has grown and a website make-over will reflect that.
What stays the same in any website is that you need to:
1. Decide your domain name. This will be the name of your website. Most writers use their own name, such as janedoe.com. Find a hosting company, this is the organization that you will pay a small monthly fee (approx. $6.00) to host your site. The hosting cost does not include design or management, just hosting. InMotion, GoDaddy are two of the big ones. Pay for your domain name (approx. $20.00 one-time fee) first, this reserves it as yours. No other writer with the same name can claim it for their site after you bought yours.
2. Research, research, research other websites.
3. Start a folder of new website ideas.
4. Get a good PR headshot now — agents, readers, and followers want to see the author.
If you want to design your own site, check out WordPress.com or Blogger, they are free and easy to use. I’m going to use WordPress.com, it’s who we use here on this Library blog, and I use it for my own creativity and wellness blog. WordPress has a website capability in addition to being just a blogging site. I’m familiar with it, and I think it will give me what I want. Stay tuned and here’s a thought why not create your own site while I am creating mine? Misery does love company!
Until next time, keep on writing.