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Starting an Author Website and Blog

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Hi and Happy Holidays to all,

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a long time. I've been researching and found it is best to have an author website and blog at the same place. I want to set a good foundation to avoid problems later on.

I would like recommendations about where to get my domain name, best web hosts and what I should keep in mind when creating the site.  I would, also, appreciate your comments on what other topics I should learn more about. I know security is one of them. I plan on building my own WordPress Site and have a video course for this purpose.

I know how valuable other writer's experiences can be. I appreciate your time and suggestions. 
#1 - December 23, 2016, 06:03 AM

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Zoraida, it's great that you are having a tutorial on wordpress. I know many people who love using WP because it can be a landing page with the possibility of blogging.

Darcy Pattison has a very detailed list of things to consider when building a website http://www.darcypattison.com/marketing/author-website-tech-domain/  She has a wealth of information on writing, revising, and tech stuff like this.

I've registered my domain name with GoDaddy and used to pay them to host a website. Since last year, I no longer do this, instead have my domain name point to my blog (on Blogger).

Good luck with this. Vijaya



#2 - December 23, 2016, 06:47 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Hi Zoraida, sounds like you're off to a great start. I do everything through Wordpress: domain name, no ads, security, free theme. There are many threads on this discussion board (under this same technology category). One of the most recent = https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=81711.msg1027892#msg1027892  Good luck!
#3 - December 27, 2016, 06:02 AM
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
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Vijaya and Marcia, I really appreciate your taking the time to answer during the holidays when everyone is so busy. I checked the links suggested and they're very good. I've saved them to go over them again. 

Vijaya, I'm so grateful for your support and help when I'm stuck in a new writing (ad)venture. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

I wish you, both, a lovely season and many blessings and success in the new year.
#4 - December 27, 2016, 05:56 PM

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Zoraida, my pleasure! May Christmas blessings remain with us throughout the New Year.
#5 - December 27, 2016, 07:23 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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Timely subject! I remember the last round of discussions on the matter, and had since looked into WordPress but (for me) it was like speaking Urdu and, I don't.  :bewildered  I've been looking at Weebly, which I describe as technology on diapers.  :exactly  HOWEVER! The two things that concerns me is 1) limited designs; and 2) Web Domain and possible reach. And now I am back to being stymied.  :bangbreak
#6 - December 28, 2016, 07:33 AM

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I suggest you get a site that is easy enough for you to update yourself, that protects your privacy, and doesn't contain ads. (Ads can be really embarrassing; it's not worth it. My first website in 1997 was a free one with ads. On the page featuring my poetic tribute to a friend who had died in a plane crash, there was an ad for air miles!)

It doesn't need to be fancy. You can personalize it by using your own photos, etc.
#7 - December 28, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Great advice, Barbara. Thank you
#8 - December 28, 2016, 09:15 AM

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LadySlipper, I use Blogger because it's so very intuitive even for a person like me who doesn't get along with technology very well. I manage everything myself. And you don't have to blog if you don't want to. But the pages make it easy to have separate tabs. Good luck! V.
#9 - December 28, 2016, 10:50 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Vijaya--Thank you! Will have to check it out.
#10 - December 28, 2016, 11:39 AM

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No techie, I. Take this for what it's worth (maybe not much.) :P

Vijaya is right that Blogger is very intuitive and super easy to use. But all its content then belongs to Blogger. Should they choose to end services, you are without a site, and I'm not sure about the rights to your posts. I have been using it since 2012 and worry about some of my better posts not "belonging" to me. But then, I didn't pay for the service, either. Incidentally, Blogger has had plenty of security issues, hacked-in blogs taken over and spam. So far I've only contended with spam, but moderate comments and sift that out.

The only real ownership and full control you have is on a real website where you have registered your domain to your name. I have that, since 2011, also. (Go Daddy is where I secured my domain. You can do this even if you are not ready to have a site, and the cost is very minimal.) But managing the technical aspects of my real website is not easy for me. The design is homemade, and cost me nothing. It probably shows, but I'm all right with it. I've actually preferred that in others sites.

Here's what I don't advise: having a professionally designed and maintained site for you that, although super slick looking, will cost and continue to cost $$$, while you don't have writing income to justify taking this off as an expense against your related earnings. When I see those, they scream of vanity to me. Or maybe the owner/subject of the site is independently wealthy.

My only experience with WordPress is when I tried posting on a group blog. Although others said it was easy, some of us found it challenging. I know many are very happy with WordPress.
#11 - December 28, 2016, 01:32 PM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
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http://mirkabreen.BlogSpot.com

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LadySlipper, Barbara Etlin and 217mom, your comments have been most interesting. I'm planning on having my own site since I want a blog. I read that Wordpress has many options and many good themes that are free. I don't want a fancy site, but one that's attractive and easy to navigate.

I checked some blogs and websites of fellow writers (the links are here on this site) and found some very nice ones.

This is one of my goals for 2017! I'm excited!  Thank you all.
#12 - December 29, 2016, 08:15 PM

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Best of like Zoraida-rivera! Let us know when you get it set up. :)
#13 - December 29, 2016, 08:42 PM


Darcy Pattison has a very detailed list of things to consider when building a website http://www.darcypattison.com/marketing/author-website-tech-domain/  She has a wealth of information on writing, revising, and tech stuff like this.


Unfortunately there's some very misleading information in that piece.

First of all if you are just trying to secure your domain name there is no requirement to buy hosting as well. A lot of companies will try to upsell you on hosting and privacy tools etc when all you need is a domain name. Remember a domain name is portable you can host with any company of your choice and direct your domain to their servers. Grab your domain name first and then take some time to research your hosting options.

Secondly suggesting that only dot com domains attract traffic is just nonsense. Up to a few years ago domain choices were limited to just com, net org and specific country domains .co.uk .fr etc. Right now the choice is huge as the domain market has opened up entirely and there are domain extensions like .site .online and hundreds of other variations. While it's true that dot com is still the most popular choice there's no truth in a statement like "Or, you can also try a .net, but this will automatically cut down on your traffic; you’ll have to work harder to get visitors to your site."

As long as your site is properly setup from an SEO point of view there's no limit to your traffic.

For domains and multiple variations check out Namecheap.com

#14 - February 16, 2017, 01:29 AM
Frequency - Design for Authors
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My Blogger site was hacked and some guy was using MY name and MY email and MY blogger URL to put up HIS content. Blogger wouldn't do anything about it at all. This was in 2015. He is still using my name and my url (http://www.verlakay.blogspot.com) for his content. I would NEVER use Blogger again because of this! <just saying>
#15 - February 24, 2017, 09:26 PM
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 09:39 PM by Verla Kay »
Verla Kay

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With what happened to Verla's blog and another writer I was linked to, I took my BlogSpot site completely down as a precaution and have not put up another.
#16 - February 25, 2017, 11:14 AM
Beyond Suspicion, YA Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press, 2015
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Thanks Verla Kay and Cathie for your insight.
#17 - February 28, 2017, 08:23 PM

Just to follow up on this subject, I wrote a bog recently that expands on many of these points so I thought I'd post the link here as it may be useful to some people just starting out with their websites.

https://www.frequency.ie/blog/broadcast/building-your-author-platform-a-beginners-guide

#18 - June 06, 2017, 04:44 AM
Frequency - Design for Authors
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Excellent post, frequency; thanks!
#19 - June 06, 2017, 06:53 AM
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Thanks, frequency, Verla and Cathie.  I haven't started my blog because I'm stuck on the name.  It's been hard finding the appropiate name; one that's easy to remember, sounds great and tells what it's about.  Any suggestions? 
#20 - June 06, 2017, 08:18 PM

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Hello,

I just started building an author website at http://www.homestead.com  where I was also able to easily register my domain name. I am hardly a techie, yet I am finding Homestead fairly easy to use. I'm finding the posts in this thread very helpful.

 :new


#21 - June 07, 2017, 01:54 AM

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Thanks for that helpful post Frequency.

Zoraida, I'm in favor of using your name. It's unusual and pretty and it can become your "brand."
#22 - June 07, 2017, 05:22 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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I second using your name, Zoraida. It's beautiful, and how many words start with Z? It stands out.

If you feel strongly about using a pen name in all public writing (some do) I'd still think of a Z name.  ;)
#23 - June 07, 2017, 10:15 AM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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Another vote for your name!
#24 - June 07, 2017, 10:56 AM
http://www.vonnacarter.com
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I have been using Wix and it's been a lot of fun. Blog is hosted here as well and I have been slowly accumulating subscribers. An old school method of building traffic is I always leave the house with 3-5 business cards with my website info. If I meet someone who may be interested, I hand them a card--very effective!

Right now since I don't have the resources to upgrade the domain, wix has "wixsite" as part of the url, but this is not something you HAVE to do (you can upgrade the account for a little $).

Check it out!
http://gehrleinb.wixsite.com/write
#25 - June 12, 2017, 07:54 AM
Brian Gehrlein
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Thanks for that helpful post Frequency.

Zoraida, I'm in favor of using your name. It's unusual and pretty and it can become your "brand."

I second using your name, Zoraida. It's beautiful, and how many words start with Z? It stands out.

If you feel strongly about using a pen name in all public writing (some do) I'd still think of a Z name.  ;)

Another vote for your name!

And still *another* vote, Zoraida!!!

#26 - June 12, 2017, 09:29 AM

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Hi. My gratitude to all who offered your suggestions and insight.  I didn´t expect all those votes for my name. I thought that since it´s not a common name, I don´t have a brand and I´m not  known,  this could make it harder to find me.  Also, the  blog, although it will have a category about writing and reading, will be about life skills and  human relationships.  This relates more directly to my books  about self-help and not my fantasy novels or picture books.

You´ve really gotten me thinking and  it´s been a week of reflecting on this. 

I wish to share some of the information I´ve found in case it´s useful to those that are in my shoes or will be.  Some good articles on the topic are:

http://www.successfulblogging.com/how-to-come-up-with-a-blog-name/
http://www.sarahwerner.com/personal-branding-for-writers-wn-052/
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/03/20/branding-author-platform/

 With the information I´ve included now,  are you still voting on my name or does that change?   Thanks again to all. I really appreciate your help with this. 
#27 - June 13, 2017, 10:21 PM

Yes, definitely on your name! I looked at the links you sent and while they are helpful, they aren't the final authority (pun intended?) on your author website and blog. I love your name! Have you checked out wix?  I've used wordpress and weebly and wix has by far been my favorite. For mine I have my name in the url and the blog itself just has a fun title that I came up with. I think there is a danger in becoming brand focused. What is important is making sure there is a aesthetic theme that is consistent and represents your style. Trust yourself and remember there is no one right way. Jump off the dock and swim! : ) --and just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

#28 - June 14, 2017, 06:50 AM
Brian Gehrlein
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An uncommon but pronounceable name is an asset, trust me.  ;)

You've got just such a name.
#29 - June 14, 2017, 10:11 AM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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