A Writer’s Website Wonderland

steve male

Steve Male

This week, CWC member, Steve Male, talks about setting up his website.

“So, you’ve written that first draft of your masterpiece and then edited and edited and edited and… Now you have to consider how to publish your sparkling prose and most importantly how to market the book. Many authors feel faintly soiled by the very idea of marketing but at heart it’s basically just telling potential readers your latest and greatest opus is available for purchase. It’s got to be done or how on earth is anyone going to read the book you have just sweated blood over? And, after all, having people read your book is kinda the main purpose in writing the damn thing, isn’t it?

Of the many marketing options available, I’ve chosen, as a first step, to run a blog website dedicated to my new book called Modelling Mind.

I chose WordPress to host and help me create the site. They can help you run a blog website or just a website.There are other hosts such as Blogger, Wix and many others but WordPress is the market leader by far; some say almost 30% of all websites are constructed using WordPress, and I’m happy with my choice. Although you can get people to set up a site for you for a fee I went the DIY route and the process was really quite painless(ish)and not too expensive. The WordPress system is fairly easy to use and certainly much lower in cost than getting a website designer to do the job.

Luckily WordPress provides you with loads of help and if you type WordPress Tutorial into YouTube there’s a ton more. One word of warning here: you can also download the WordPress software for free and install it in your own server or on a host supplier server. Some of the YouTube videos take you through that route. Way too complicated! The best way to go, at least initially, is to let WordPress host your website and do all the work for you. That’s the way I went.

The first thing to do is create your account which is the same for any other website and is straightforward. You then need to select your plan and for one site the way to go is the Personal Plan which costs $3.50 per month billed either annually or two yearly. Going this route ensures there are no adverts inserted onto your site to help pay for the hosting service provided.

You then have a choice: use a free website address with a site name which will be yourname.wordpress.com or you can purchase a unique web-site name as you can see I did. This costs around $26.00 per annum so is not too bad an expense.

That’s it for recurring expenses: $68.00 per annum or around £60 depending on exchange rates.

Your management home page will be at https://wordpress.com/home/yoursite. You can do quite a lot from here, not least access what WordPress call your “Dashboard” via the menu “WP Admin” option.

From the dashboard you can then set up your site. The first step is to choose a theme under the dashboard menu item “Appearance”. There are many themes available some free and some paid for with a one off payment for life; the one I chose was $79.00. A theme is like an empty website which you can then populate more or less as you wish using all the rest of the facilities on the dashboard.

Now, you can enter all the content you like, add pages change graphics, manage comments and much, much more. I’m pretty happy with the results and it all seems to work quite well; at least I think so.

If you want to give me your views on the site itself go to the “Contact Stephen” page and send me an email message from the site. (A built in feature of the theme, and from what I can see, all the other themes.)

If you would like to comment on my content and blogs then please do in the site comment boxes or under each blog. (Another built in feature of the theme, and from what I can see, all the others.)

If you like the blog and want to be alerted to each new post then simply click on the “Follow” button that lurks around the right hand side of every page. (Yet another built in feature of the theme, and from what I can see, all the others.)

How long did it take? The actual writing of the content is as long as you like, and of course I now have to write a blog every so often to keep whatever interest I get alive. The time just to set up the blog website was under a day which was mostly learning what to do (and what not to do!) If you think a blog website or just a website is the way to go for your magnum opus then I can heartily recommend WordPress and the route I’ve taken.”

Steve Male

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Filed under Creative, Member News, Training, Viewpoint, Writers' resources

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