Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

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jficke13
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Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby jficke13 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:11 am

I see some people have websites in their signatures. Does anyone have advice about starting one? Hosting or other companies you recommend (or recommend we avoid)? I'll confess to web design being a glaring hole in my tech-saviness.
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby RSchibler » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:19 am

I went through 1&1 and have been relatively happy so far- they host and provided the website design tools I use. My husband did the front end dirty work as he is more computer savvy, but I find it easy enough to work with I don't need his help now that it is established.
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:05 pm

If you're looking more on the "already built" side of things, Wordpress.com has their free offerings which can be easily updated to use a custom URL, though you'll pay real money for it at that point.

Personally, I've grown fond of Medium lately. They offer custom domain linking as well, which could be nice. I haven't yet taken the plunge and switched over completely, but I'm thinking about it since they've really made a great web-based text editor.

Beyond that, hosting and such is a bit of black magic nowadays. Almost all of the major companies (like 1and1, like RSchibler suggested) have gotten on board with "easy" Wordpress setups and the like.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby pcmccollum » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:28 am

jficke13 wrote:I see some people have websites in their signatures. Does anyone have advice about starting one? Hosting or other companies you recommend (or recommend we avoid)? I'll confess to web design being a glaring hole in my tech-saviness.


I'd recommend starting with the free offering on Wordpress.com and see how you like it. That's what I did and ended up moving to my own self-hosted version. The great thing about Wordpress is it's so easy to work with, but you can scale it and get more granular if you want to learn how.
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby amyhg » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:29 pm

Glad you brought this up. I've been researching the issue as well and just took the plunge this week to launch an official authorial website. I figured it'd be unwise to not provide a link with my bio on the ebook version of the anthology. But Dave and Galaxy Press needed the info ASAP so I had to just go with the easy option, which was WordPress. I went ahead and paid the money too so we'll see over the next year if it's worth it.

I'd used BlogSpot/Blogger for a long time though and the layout is very similar (though Blogger seems to have more flexibility). So far, it's done its job, but there have been some frustrations. Namely, it does an autosave, which is great, but it does it periodically so if I change pages or make edits too quickly, the refresh doesn't keep up and changes get lost. Which means I have to slow down how quickly I make changes and "update" often, which is annoying.The other problem is sometimes editing tools are not located where I expect them to be. For example, some of the back end tools for editing the main menu require me to use tools on the blog end first.

Before I made the plunge, I poked around other author websites first. Matt Dovey's uses a service called DISQUS, which seems nice. Brandon Sanderson uses a private web design company (Blue Mountain Media) as does Patrick Rothfuss (Authors on the Web), but a lot of other writers, including David Dalglish and Kary English, simply use WordPress.

Hope that helps!
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MattDovey
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby MattDovey » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:01 am

amyhg wrote:Before I made the plunge, I poked around other author websites first. Matt Dovey's uses a service called DISQUS, which seems nice. Brandon Sanderson uses a private web design company (Blue Mountain Media) as does Patrick Rothfuss (Authors on the Web), but a lot of other writers, including David Dalglish and Kary English, simply use WordPress.


Disqus is only the bit for the comments because, um, control freak + nerd = coded my own custom website in PHP and MySQL on a LAMP hosting service. Don't take me as any kind of example unless you too wish to spend a month coding a website from scratch for fun and entertainment!

For most writers who haven't got a degree in Internet Technology I'd say Wordpress is the service most suited to needs and budgets.
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby amyhg » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:06 pm

MattDovey wrote: Don't take me as any kind of example unless you too wish to spend a month coding a website from scratch for fun and entertainment!


Uh...no thanks. 12 weeks Java in high school was enough to teach me that I never want to write my own code again. Stupid brackets!

On another note related to this thread, what do y'all do about facebook? Do you keep a separate profile for writing associates? for fans? just create a "page" for ppl to follow? I've just gained access to this incredible network of writers, but I'm not sure I want them to see my blanket Facebook poll on the best ways to potty train...
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MattDovey
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby MattDovey » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:30 am

amyhg wrote:On another note related to this thread, what do y'all do about facebook? Do you keep a separate profile for writing associates? for fans? just create a "page" for ppl to follow? I've just gained access to this incredible network of writers, but I'm not sure I want them to see my blanket Facebook poll on the best ways to potty train...


There are... schools of thought. I set up a separate page, because I am nothing if not a Good Boy what does things The Right Way, but Facebook is getting really bad about deliberately starving your posts of audience to encourage you to pay for them to be displayed.

Others recommend using your personal page with the audience controls, so keeping personal stuff restricted to Friends Only but posting writing stuff to Public and allowing people to follow your profile (without having to be friends). That way you don't fall foul of Facebook's stupid advertising algorithms, but you have to be careful when posting stuff. You can set a default audience for your posts, though, which helps.

Personally I've fallen out of love with Facebook anyway, and am terrible at keeping my author page updated anyway, let alone interacting on it. I'm much better with Twitter, because that is less "here's a blatantly promotional page" and more "here's me and all my nonsense and the odd story too". Much more sense of community for me, much more enjoyable for me, and I feel less weird about posting promotional stuff because it's buried among 400 other tweets of utter nonsense.

But the point is: you don't need to do this stuff if you don't want to. It will never make much difference to your sales. If you enjoy it, like I do Twitter, great! But if you don't, and it feels like work, don't bother and don't feel guilty about it.

(If I was going to start with Facebook now, I'd probably go with the personal approach, though)
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jficke13
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Re: Websites (This one's not spam, I swear)

Postby jficke13 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:04 am

Wordpress seems the consensus recommendation. So... here we go: www.jonficke.wordpress.com it is.

I will say that so far it's both super intuitive, and super... um... not. I had to google how to edit links away from defaults, create tags. I'm sure I just need to get used to it.
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