Author Topic: Advice please on creating an author's website - Wordpress? Weebly? Wix? Other?  (Read 4426 times)  

Offline V.P.

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Hello, all.  I need some advice about setting up a website.  I started setting up a site on Wordpress, but I'm not sure if Wordpress is for me.  I've also looked into Wix and Weebly, but I think that the ads they run are very distracting.  What other options are available at a reasonable price?  Does anyone have any suggestions?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 05:05:39 AM by vprelatte »


Offline LadyG

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Re: Advice on creating an author's website - Wordpress? Weebly? Wix? Other?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 04:59:07 AM »
I love WordPress because it's very user-friendly and I'm not good with technology. They have a free option, but I pay for a few of the bells and whistles and it's still only $26 per year.

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Offline V.P.

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I love WordPress because it's very user-friendly and I'm not good with technology. They have a free option, but I pay for a few of the bells and whistles and it's still only $26 per year.

Thanks, Lady G.!  I tried the free version of Wordpress, but I found it to be not quite what I was looking for.  Also, I'm not very good at blogging.  I know that it can be set to a static page, but I read some articles saying that this was not recommended...


Offline Rinelle Grey

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I use self hosted Wordpress, and I love it. I initially started with a blog, and have moved more to a pages setup, with a home page with some banners, a books page, a coming soon page etc. I occasionally post to my blog, but these days it's usually book releases and updates.

The reason a static page isn't recomended is because search engines like pages that update frequently, and place them higher in the search engines. But that is going to a static page no matter what you use to make it.

The reason I love Wordpress is because it's so easy to customize the look and feel, and there are so many widgets you can make it do almost anything you like. I have a slider widget for my front page to display book teasers, a mailing list widget to make my mailing list signup look pretty (integrated with mailchimp automatically), a url forwarder, so I can track links, and the list goes on.

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Offline LadyG

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Really? And I thought I had it all figured out when I set the static page.  I wonder why it's not recommended. Like I said, I'm not good with technology.

At any rate, I'm sure you'll get other suggestions. It will be interesting to see what some of thee others say. There are so many possibilities out there!

Armed with nothing but coffee and a sense of humor.
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Offline p.s.w. gear

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I also use Wordpress and am thoroughly satisfied. I pay for hosting and have a paid Wordpress account, but that's because I thought having as much control as possible. My wife has the free version of Wordpress (com versus org) and is just as satisfied. I might have access to more features, but the advantages are only marginal (so far).

I thoroughly enjoy wordpress. And I wouldn't worry about the few hits you *might* get from search engines. Set up your little space of heaven and then look to tweak to drive more traffic your way. Too many people put way too much attention on making the biggest splash as possible. It's just not gonna happen immediately. Focus on making yourself happy first.

Offline V.P.

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I use self hosted Wordpress, and I love it. I initially started with a blog, and have moved more to a pages setup, with a home page with some banners, a books page, a coming soon page etc. I occasionally post to my blog, but these days it's usually book releases and updates.

The reason I love Wordpress is because it's so easy to customize the look and feel, and there are so many widgets you can make it do almost anything you like. I have a slider widget for my front page to display book teasers, a mailing list widget to make my mailing list signup look pretty (integrated with mailchimp automatically), a url forwarder, so I can track links, and the list goes on.
I just visited your website.  Would you be able to let me know whom you contract with to do your web hosting?
(PS  I peeked inside the first of your "Barren Planet" series while I was at it.  It caught and held my interest, so I downloaded it. Looking forward to reading it tonight!)


Offline V.P.

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I also use Wordpress and am thoroughly satisfied. I pay for hosting and have a paid Wordpress account, but that's because I thought having as much control as possible. My wife has the free version of Wordpress (com versus org) and is just as satisfied. I might have access to more features, but the advantages are only marginal (so far).

I thoroughly enjoy wordpress. And I wouldn't worry about the few hits you *might* get from search engines. Set up your little space of heaven and then look to tweak to drive more traffic your way. Too many people put way too much attention on making the biggest splash as possible. It's just not gonna happen immediately. Focus on making yourself happy first.
Thanks for responding!  Just wondering - do you have the Premium Plan or the Business Plan on Wordpress?


Offline Tony_A20

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A web site service such as Wordpress provides an easy and quick method of establishing a web presence, but there are drawbacks.

Web site services are about twice as expensive as owning your own domain name and establishing a web site on a host service that is just renting space and providing system management.

However, besides cost,  the main drawback is that web site services own the code used to display a web site, and if a client decides to change to a different provider, the web site cannot be taken to a new provider (read the terms of service very, very carefully).

It is much better to purchase a domain name, rent space on a reputable (thats very important) host and then purchase a web site creation application to create your custom web site. When created and tested, the created web site can be uploaded to your account on the host to provide your live web site.

I have been using WebPlus, from Serif - http://www.serif.com/webplus/ - for several years and it is extremely easy to use and comes with a bound, softcover User Guide that provides full documentation. There is also an optional Resource Guide that shows how to use all the resources available in the application. Virtually all features are drag and drop with no HTML or code knowledge necessary. It also handles all file transfers with your host.

With your own web site, for which you own the code, you can make whatever changes you wish at no additional cost, and if you wish to change the host service, you can do so and simply upload your web site code on a new host, and delete your files on the old host. The new host will take care of redirecting visitors to your web sites new location.

After starting out with a very poor host, I switched to my current host, GreenGeeks - https://www.greengeeks.com/ - without any trouble at all and Ive been fully satisfied with their service for the last four years with two years remaining on my hosting period. Maintaining or changing my web site is extremely easy. Ill be building a completely new web site over the winter and uploading it in the spring. The biggest problem I have is deciding on how the new web site should look. Creation it is easy.

Authors wanting an Internet presence should investigate building and owning their own web site before using a web site service.


Offline V.P.

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A web site service such as Wordpress provides an easy and quick method of establishing a web presence, but there are drawbacks.

Web site services are about twice as expensive as owning your own domain name and establishing a web site on a host service that is just renting space and providing system management.

However, besides cost,  the main drawback is that web site services own the code used to display a web site, and if a client decides to change to a different provider, the web site cannot be taken to a new provider (read the terms of service very, very carefully).

It is much better to purchase a domain name, rent space on a reputable (that's very important) host and then purchase a web site creation application to create your custom web site. When created and tested, the created web site can be uploaded to your account on the host to provide your live web site.

I have been using WebPlus, from Serif - http://www.serif.com/webplus/ - for several years and it is extremely easy to use and comes with a bound, softcover User Guide that provides full documentation. There is also an optional Resource Guide that shows how to use all the resources available in the application. Virtually all features are drag and drop with no HTML or code knowledge necessary. It also handles all file transfers with your host.

With your own web site, for which you own the code, you can make whatever changes you wish at no additional cost, and if you wish to change the host service, you can do so and simply upload your web site code on a new host, and delete your files on the old host. The new host will take care of redirecting visitors to your web site's new location.

After starting out with a very poor host, I switched to my current host, GreenGeeks - https://www.greengeeks.com/ - without any trouble at all and I've been fully satisfied with their service for the last four years with two years remaining on my hosting period. Maintaining or changing my web site is extremely easy. I'll be building a completely new web site over the winter and uploading it in the spring. The biggest problem I have is deciding on how the new web site should look. Creation it is easy.

Authors wanting an Internet presence should investigate building and owning their own web site before using a web site service.
Wow, Tony - There's a lot of food for thought in your response.  I didn't realize that " web site services own the code used to display a web site, and if a client decides to change to a different provider, the web site cannot be taken to a new provider".  Good info to have.  So, if an author chooses to go the independent route, would I be correct in summarizing the process as:
1.  Purchase a domain name (from GoDaddy?).
2.  Rent space on a reputable host (such as Green Geek)
3.  Purchase a web site creation application (such as Webplus) to create a custom website.
4.  Test the website; then upload it to the account on the host.

Correct?


AnmaNatsu

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It should be noted, WordPress is, in fact, available in both variants - as a hosted service (WordPress.com) and as a self-hosted CMS (content management system, i.e. WordPress.org).  The latter is free, no reason at all to purchase one.  And yes, you can move it around all you like, including moving from the .com to the .org if you later find you need more options.  Personally, I went self-hosted because one - I know how to run all that, and two - more control and wanted plugins not available on the .com.

For people who do not know anything about website design or web development, using an existing CMS application, like WordPress or any of others out there, is significantly better than trying to do it yourself with web creation software.  Trying to do it yourself when you don't know those things generally results in badly designed sites with bad code, little to no mobile friendly, bad SEO, and so forth.  It's much like making your own covers - sure you "can" do it, but most of the time you shouldn't.

(also, to be clear, domain names are also essentially leased - you have to renew them regularly; they are never truly yours)

Offline EB

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I am very happy with webs.com. I use the Pro package and find it easy to use and manage. I believe they have basic package for $5.99/month as well. If you'd like to see it, my link is at the bottom of my sig. 

Offline AYClaudy

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I use wordpress. Genesis Author pro set up. It came with a pre set up site and a step by step guide on how to make it yours, through that I figured out what each thing did. (I had been overwhelmed at first, but took it one step at a time like it showed.

It's still new to me, so there's not  a lot of content, but I'm very happy with it!

Offline MariaESchneider

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I just visited your website.  Would you be able to let me know whom you contract with to do your web hosting?
(PS  I peeked inside the first of your "Barren Planet" series while I was at it.  It caught and held my interest, so I downloaded it. Looking forward to reading it tonight!)

I use wordpress as well and Lunar Pages is my web host:  http://www.lunarpages.com/id/BearMountainBooks  (That is an affiliate link).   I have been with them for years.  Good service, no complaints, very very rare downtime.    They have a plan that includes the domain name registration/one domain with the plan.  The cheapest plans require multi-year sign up (I think I'm now on the 3 year, but I started with a one year to test them out.) 

I do a blog and have some static pages (the blog store is made up of static pages). 

www.BearMountainBooks.com
 

Offline Not Lu

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Your goal for your website should be about building your author brand. As a result, you want to get a domain associated with your author name if possible. You also want to have control of the code, images, and content of your site. Organize it in a way that helps your visitors find out about you and your books.

Godaddy has good options for a complete website solution. You can buy your domain and hosting from them then use the hosting dashboard to install Wordpress. It is pretty easy to set up and configure. In addition to Wordpress you can install other software (such as a forum) if you want.

The domain will cost about $15 per year.
The hosting will cost about $10 per month.
Wordpress is free (as well as themes to tailor the look of your site).
Security plugins are free too (to stop spammers, lock out people who try too many passwords, prevent viruses, etc.)

I've used this method for several projects and have been happy with it.

« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 11:24:40 AM by Not Lu »

Offline Annette_g

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I've been using the free Weebly site for almost two years now, I think and I've been happy with it. There is only a small text ad on the footer that says it's free and you can get a free website too. It's fairly unobtrusive.

It does what I want it to do.

http://annettegisby.weebly.com/ - this was all done with their free options.

I have separate blogs.


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Offline Penang

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I use wix.com and love it. It's fairly easy to use, especially if you use one of their templates. For $5 a month I have only a small ad displayed on my site and it also hosts my mailing list and I can create 5 newsletters a month for free. I bought my domain from go daddy and it was easy to hook up.

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Offline Eliza Marie Jones

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I use self hosted Wordpress, and I love it. I initially started with a blog, and have moved more to a pages setup, with a home page with some banners, a books page, a coming soon page etc. I occasionally post to my blog, but these days it's usually book releases and updates.

The reason a static page isn't recomended is because search engines like pages that update frequently, and place them higher in the search engines. But that is going to a static page no matter what you use to make it.

The reason I love Wordpress is because it's so easy to customize the look and feel, and there are so many widgets you can make it do almost anything you like. I have a slider widget for my front page to display book teasers, a mailing list widget to make my mailing list signup look pretty (integrated with mailchimp automatically), a url forwarder, so I can track links, and the list goes on.

The domain will cost about $15 per year.
The hosting will cost about $10 per month.
Wordpress is free (as well as themes to tailor the look of your site).
Security plugins are free too (to stop spammers, lock out people who try too many passwords, prevent viruses, etc.)

As a web designer, I definitely recommend this. I use Bluehost at $6 a month but they often have sales, at this moment it is 3.95/month! Get your own domain name and look up a few tutorials if you want specific things done with your site, Wordpress itself has many useful ones.


Offline 555aaa

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Have happily used Weebly. Work with a non-profit who use Wordpress. Don't use anything myself, I just write code so yeah my site looks old fashioned. Hosted by Godaddy. It's meh quality.  Planning to do something fancy with Microsoft Azure sometime.

Offline amy_wokz

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I just visited your website.  Would you be able to let me know whom you contract with to do your web hosting?
(PS  I peeked inside the first of your "Barren Planet" series while I was at it.  It caught and held my interest, so I downloaded it. Looking forward to reading it tonight!)

Rinelle uses DreamHost as her hosting platform. You can use WhoIs to find out any site's host. Other top hosting services can be found here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2424725,00.asp  I use iPage, because I got a 3-year deal at $20 per year. Usual website hosting costs run $5-10/month depending on the plan and how you pay (one year at a time or monthly). Regarding domain registrars (where you buy your domain name and point it toward your webhost), I recommend Namecheap. Their prices are reasonable to cheap and they don't beat you to death with pop-up offers when you're trying to check out.

If money is tight, I wouldn't worry about a website until you publish your third book and hopefully begin to get some sales traction. For now, a Facebook PAGE would be fine. Mainly just keep writing and publish more. Good luck and have fun. :)



« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 07:08:08 PM by amy_wokz »
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Offline Mxz

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I suggest wix.  It's free and so easy to make your site look professional.  They have tons of pre made templates where you just replace your pictures, content, and text with yours.  You can modify any of the templates as well.  If you want the site to be a certain url, their plans start at a low.  They even have sales giving you half off the first year.  I think the cheapest is about $60 per year.  The only negative is blogging.  I'd suggest having a wordpress for that and either linking it or use the html codes to link it onto your site.  It takes a lot of time to put new information on top and move the old information to the bottom.  You have to use a lot of boxes and link your pictures and text to them.

Offline Rinelle Grey

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I just visited your website.  Would you be able to let me know whom you contract with to do your web hosting?
(PS  I peeked inside the first of your "Barren Planet" series while I was at it.  It caught and held my interest, so I downloaded it. Looking forward to reading it tonight!)

Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

My webpage is hosted with dreampress. I have my domain and hosting both there, and they set up Wordpress for you. (Which is awesome. When I first started doing self hosted Wordpress, you had to install it all yourself, which was a major headache!) I have also used godaddy in the past, but had issues with incoming emails bouncing. Dreamhost is slightly slower I think, but the emails were an issue for me.

Feel good romance with a touch of magic.
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I have everything on wordpress (self-hosted). These days, providers have wordpress installed and all you need to do is one-click install it. The possibilities are endless depending on the theme you choose.

My author page is is static, but I also have a blog (separate install of wordpress in another directory) and the promo page (another install in another directory).

You can do anything with wordpress. I don't know who said not to have a static page, but "I have heard" is just about the worst reason for not doing anything. You want your author page to be reasonably static, and you blog in--well--blog format.

Offline V.P.

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Thank you, everybody!  I sure appreciate the input. 
A lot of you are recommending using Wordpress (self hosted).  I actually set up a page on Wordpress, using their free option, but I quickly realized that I wanted more than the free option offered.  I looked at their Premium and Business packages, but again, wasn't sure if that was the right route for me to go.  If I wanted to move to a self-hosted option, would I have to delete my free Wordpress page first?  I think I saw an option for that, but I'm not 100% sure. 


Offline Andrei Cherascu

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Mine is weebly. I'm happy with how it looks good but it's an enormous pain in the ass to update/ work with. Not sure if I'd use Weebly again but I'm too lazy to transfer to Wordpress.
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