My brain hasn’t had to work this hard since my days at Houghton College. Sure, I have been learning all sorts of new stuff in the past twenty years, but the stuff I’m having to learn now?
I have no frame of reference to pull from. And much of the information is so new, there are few people I know who are operating under this new paradigm of being a published author.
Over the course of the past two weeks, I have learned how to build a functional website. The process has been painful at times, but worth it. I can update my we site and re-arrange whenever I please.
What have I learned so far that may be helpful to you?
1. If you are producing a lot of unique content, consider buying a registered domain. That way, what you write/photograph/draw/create/compose is YOURS. No one but you can claim it. I am using Hostgator. It is only about $13/yr to have a domain that is MINE. And it only costs about $6/month for them to host it. That means they are techie minions who keep your site live and available to readers. And provide security.
2. Go to Google (or Bing) University. All the information you need is there. For free. On the web. However, use good judgement when choosing a source. Like, I found a bajillion sites on how to build an author website. Some of them were downright scary! Red scripted font on a dark purple background? Really? More like a what-not-to-do! If the person’s web site looks great, you can probably trust what they say. If not… click the back button!
3. Resist the urge to just skim over terms and acronyms you don’t know. Google them. And give yourself grace in regards to the time it will take you to do so.
4. If you mess something up… well… you can delete it! I struggled with installing plug-ins and widgets (still trying to wrap my brain over the difference). Things went wrong. Then I found the little red “x” icon. To undo what I did. Use it freely. You won’t know unless you try and fail a few times.
5. Know this is all gonna take a long time. I mean, a looooonnnnnnnggggggg time. You will not have a stellar site in a day, week, or years. That is okay. Guess what? While your website is in the “merely functional” phase like mine, not many people will be seeing your site. Mostly likely they are people who know you and love you and will not judge you by your website. Keep doing research. Look at other website. Note what you like or don’t. And play with yours. Keep playing and making it better.
That is all my brain can process for now. Besides, I have more research to do. Like, on how to put the Follow Me buttons in my header, rather than have them at the bottom of the footer where no one will find them.