Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A funny thing happened the moment I joined MacGregor Literary. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the moment I joined. Could have been a moment or two later.
Anyway, I became the “tech person.”
Due to what was probably a massive dose of ageism and the fact that I knew how to blog on WordPress (whoopty-do), I was soon the de facto knower of all things tech. So, whenever our website broke, the solution was to call Amanda. Or the posts weren’t showing up like they should–call Amanda. Or we needed to set up some kind of new account or change something on our site or figure out why in the world Twitter was being crazy–call Amanda.
Eventually, this responsibility was shared with another within our company, and rightfully so. Because here’s the truth…
I know little-to-nothing about tech stuff. I can’t write or read HTML. I have no idea what “Nameservers” actually means. Or if I’ve even spelled it correctly. I can barely navigate GoDaddy (in my defense, it’s the least intuitive, clunkiest website ever), and I’ve just now gotten the hang of a few website building tools through WordPress…and only because I painstakingly replicated what I saw a REAL webmaster do.
And yet…I’m one of the go-to tech people.
My husband always gets a kick out of this, because when setting up electronics or the like, I’m the type to refer to wires as “the blue one” and “the spirally short one,” whereas he says “input” and “output” or something of the sort. Or for the longest time I thought the universal hyperlink icon was a paperclip. A PAPERCLIP, PEOPLE! It didn’t dawn on me that the icon for “linking things” was a chain link (duuurr). So there I was, telling people to “click on the paperclip.”
THE SECRETS TO MAKING PEOPLE THINK YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT TECH AND WEBSITE STUFF THAN YOU ACTUALLY DO
Here are a few of my not-so-secret secrets:
1. I’m really really really good at Google searches
2. I’m great at following directions
3. I don’t have this mindset that I’ll “break” the Internet or whichever program I’m using
4. I’m not afraid to ask for help
5. I realize that this can be learned…but I won’t be an expert right away. I allow myself time and I go at my own pace.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUILDING AN AUTHOR WEBSITE (WEB HOSTING, WEB DESIGN, SITE CREATION)
Okay, all this to say that I’ve been working on setting up a website for awhile, but again…since I know almost NOTHING, and since I want my site to be AWESOME, I figured I’d start at the beginning.
I need to figure out what program I’m going to use for my site (WordPress? or something else?). And where I’m going to host it (apparently, hosting outside of WordPress is cheaper and better for IT problems, and other reasons that I don’t really know right now). AND I need to figure out where to get a template (pretty design) so that I don’t have to conform to pre-made templates and can ensure my site has what I want it to have.
To get started, I rallied the troops.
I posed the question on Facebook, and here are some of the recommended sites, hosting services, etc. Just in case you too are in the market for a website and don’t know anything about anything.
Suggestions for Website Hosting
GoDaddy.com – Despite the many recommendations, I’ve used them before and don’t like them. They’re tricky to navigate. Not intuitive at all, so I won’t be using them.
Hostgator.com – This got a few mentions
BlueHost.com – This one also was mentioned more than once
Suggestions for Web Hosting and Building (or just site building/maintenance)
Squarespace.com – Seems to be a site for those who like to be cutting edge, but we’ll see
WordPress.com – This was the most-mentioned for website management and creation, though many self-hosted elsewhere (list above)
Weebly.com – apparently good for ecommerce, this seemed to be the second most popular format
Suggestions for Web Themes
ElegantThemes.com(a WordPress Theme site) – Lots of recommendations for this one
WordPress.com – Many used the free themes and tweaked them. In fact, quite a few people said that at some point they have used WordPress all the way for hosting, templates, and maintaining their site.
StudioPress.com (a WordPress Theme site) – This also had many recommendations
MichaelHyatt.com (a WordPress Theme site) – he has a theme service called Get Noticed that someone recommended
So…that’s a lot to wade through. But we’re going to do it together! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to research these suggestions and present my findings on this blog (Thursdays). Then, I’ll let you know what I end up going with! And if you want to help and do some research of your own, all the better. Share your results here. I’m going to start by researching the hosting sites, since that’s usually step 1 (along with figuring out where you’re going to buy your domain…my plan is to buy from the hosting site).
Are you in the market for an author website or maybe a new design? Or a new hosting service? Tell me about it!