So you wrote a book, now what: Website Stuff

I’m in a lot of author groups on the web.  I see other authors posting a lot about newsletters, domains, and websites.  Websites kinda freak out those that are not “technology savvy”.  So, that got me thinking maybe YOU dear follower need to know about websites and newsletters?

I used to hand build websites.  My first website was launched in 2000!  Do you know what HTML 4 is or am I showing my age?  It was new when I graduated college.  The internet was still AOL and chat rooms back then.  I had to drive 30 minutes away to the “big bookstore” to even find books on HTML 4.  I purchased a hefty manual on HTML 4 and I taught myself how to make websites with code.  It was not very fun.  PHP came out, but I never bothered with it.  Instead, I started using drag-and-drop builders.  I tried Blogger, BraveHost, WIX, and even learned how to build websites in Photoshop CS3+.  Yet, unless you owned the fancy programs or had immense coding knowledge, fancy was out of reach for most shoestring budget builders.  For the longest time I did not have Newsletters, web mail, or forms.  I owned my domain, but it was just a way to reach my website.

It took me a few years to find “WordPress” and to learn the difference between self-hosted WordPress and the actual website.  I tried a basic WP blog, it was OK, but I found I could not do a LOT of stuff on it, like host raffle copter stuff in it.  I looked into their paid one.  OMG.  You want HOW much to host a website?  I found out I actually had been paying quite a bit of money over at Host Monster where I could host unlimited websites on my one service.  Say what?  That’s how I started with WP.  I moved my domain over to HM.

I had to argue for HM to send me to a new server b/c theirs was always crashing.  That fixed the issue for a bit, but after a month it went back to crashing.  My host tried to blame it on the background processes of the themes I had been using.  Long story short, I tried a BUNCH of themes.  I found a really good WP theme called NIMVA! that did everything I wanted it to with some pretty awesome coding.  It was a top of the line type theme.  Unfortunately, that did not stop my website from crashing.  HM told me that Jetpack would say my service was crashing, but was lying.  I installed a “site uptime” doodad.  Every time JP said I had a crash, the site up time also recorded a crash.

I started considering moving my website or shutting it down.  I did not know what I was going to do.  I did not have the 240 dollars to renew my site and it did not work half the time.  I finally found a hosting company that was a LOT more stable than HM and I stumbled on a deal for lifetime hosting package.  I bought two of those and proceeded to try to move my websites.  I had no clue what I was doing.  Turns out, I did not need to know.  Arch Hosting  has awesome support.  They moved my domains, my WP websites, and installed security certificates all for free.  Their c-panel is very state-of-the art as is their “user area”.  Anytime I have a question, a live human responds back to me in a matter of minutes, not days.  They are really good about showing server uptime and working on any problems immediately.

I bet you are wondering where this is going?  I’m telling you as a person that has used multiple website products, multiple hosts, and multiple domain managers that you do not have to settle for your website.  Do not pay somebody 300 dollars a year for hosting on a crappy shared server that crashes all the time.  Arch Hosting starts out for 3.00 a month and a business plan is only 6.00 a month.  Use my link to sign up today for your taste of awesome hosting!

You, dear reader, DO NOT NEED TO FEAR WORDPRESS!!  Yes, I have years of experience writing codes and creating websites by hand.  That does not mean I do not enjoy the ease of using something like the NIMVA! theme and making all the pretties without the effort.  You can use NIMVA! right out of the box.  A few clicks in the panel and you can have as much stuff as I do.  Also, Rockythemes, the makers of NIMVA!, have excellent support.  You may have to wait a few hours, but their techs will help you!

In summary, you do not need to fear creating one of the best tools available to you.  I always said if you are not on the internet, then you do not exist.  For a lot of people this is true.  There really is no reason for you to not register a domain name AND buy a hosting package if you are trying to make a career out of your writing.  A website with your personal domain gains you credibility.  I do not understand the psychology behind it, but it does.  Business cards with a domain name that you created seem to work better too.

I know money is tight a lot of the times; so, If you are starting out, publish through Draft2Ditial and utilize their author site until you can get your website squared away.  In the very least you can register a domain for $12 to $20 dollars a year and direct that domain to the free website.  This way you will not have to reprint cards.  All my items say www.shannonmcroberts.com and this domain has been with me since I started doing books back in 2005!  It certainly has changed over the years, but I have not had to reprint any cards 🙂

Remember, I want you to succeed and I want to help you navigate through the jungle of being an author.

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