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Lavinia
11-13-2007, 04:39 AM
I have a blog. I have a myspace. I'm a part of the book writers marketing network. I'm a member of various other websites that are relevant to my book. My question is this; how important is a regular website?

I have an idea of what I would like on a website but just don't know where to start. Is there a way to start a website that is as easy as setting up a blog or myspace? If so, sign me up. I know people say that you get what you pay for, but in my case I will only get what I can afford, which isn't much.

Or- is having a blog/myspace enough? Will people of all ages (demographics) know to look for a blog? What can a website do for me that these other things can't? Ultimately I'd like to have a link for people to create their own family history projects, which might include such things as questionairres for their veteran (WWII, Vietnam etc) relatives. Would that work just as well from "just a blog"?

I'm not posting this under the "tech help" section purposely because they are usually so far beyond what I am capable that their information is not useful to me. In other words, what a techie thinks is simple, isn't. So I'm hoping for some more practical advice.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Karen

WriterGirl2007
11-13-2007, 04:47 AM
I'm definitely a huge proponent for having a website in addition to a blog or MySpace. Websites are great for posting portfolio pieces of your work, a list of recommendations, a press kit if you get that far, a resume and bio, etc. Also, business tend to like it if you have a professional website. :) But it has to look professional! There are lots of programs out there that offer WYSIWYG interface for website development, so you can create a professional site without having to hire a designer.

kimmer
11-13-2007, 05:27 AM
I have a website, blog, and myspace page. I used to try and promote all three. Due to time and budget, I now promote the website, which has the blog incorporated into the front page. MySpace hasn't worked out well for me (so far).

I think answering the question "who is your target audience?" will help you make some decisions.

I used Bravenet templates to create my own site about a year ago, then for $500 I had a site re-design (once I had a publisher), now I'm planning one more overhaul before my book comes out. I took it in stages as my budget allowed. I'm glad I did that, too, because it allowed me to learn how people navigate my site, what information they wanted, which pages were most popular, etc.

jst5150
11-13-2007, 05:36 AM
I think you might want to maybe take another look at the question being posted in Tech Help. Charlie, Fahim and the others are surperbly qualified to answer questions in that can be both technically detailed and down to Earth.

At least, give them the shot.

jt

veinglory
11-13-2007, 06:00 AM
A fixed website is a constant record of the things you want every visitor to discover--in my case new releases and backlist with links to a point of sale. The blog is just about what ever happened that day or week. If you can acheive that with a blog, word press has some fixed pages for examplel then that is fine. But I wouldn't depend entirely on social networking sites as some people avoid them like the myplague (myspace gave me malware, twice.)

Lavinia
11-13-2007, 07:15 AM
OK...another question-can anyone recommend a place to start for an easy-to-setup website? Are there some that would be easier to improve on later than others?

Thanks for all the good advice,

Karen

Tymolee
11-13-2007, 07:33 AM
OK...another question-can anyone recommend a place to start for an easy-to-setup website? Are there some that would be easier to improve on later than others?



Hi Karen,

I don't have much to add, being that everyone else covered it fantastically... but I did want to recommend my webhost. I bought my domain and have it hosted through hostgator.com (i know you're not supposed to buy/host at the same place, but it was just easier that way). I paid for a year in advance, and the total was right around $80 for the whole year. I have their "hatchling" plan.

I've had no problems with them - they've been great. They also give you basic layouts so you can build your own site (and if I can do it, anyone can). It just takes some time. They have a CP panel that you can access everything through - super easy. I have no web experience, but I think my site is pretty decent. It's basic, but I like it. If you'd like to see it, or want more information, feel free to PM me.

Hope it helps!

jst5150
11-13-2007, 08:01 AM
I use a company called successfull hosting. Once you buy your Webspace, you get a fantastic control panel that includes software to let you build a web site instantly. It uses a wizard to walk you through each page and what you want on each page. There are about 15 to 20 different templates. Very easy to use.

Lavinia
11-14-2007, 09:44 AM
Sounds good. Thanks jst5150!

Karen

ritinrider
11-15-2007, 03:18 AM
Karen-Bob, someone suggested 1and1 to me, but I haven't checked it out yet. Check out Kimmer's blog and website, she has hers hosted by the same people (I think, what do I know). After visiting her site, and posting a question for the bloggers I think I've decided to move my blog to wordpress, then eventually add a webpage, and include a link to the blog there. I'm having trouble convincing myself to do a webpage right now when I don't have a lot to put there.

Thanks jst5150 for the name of the company you use, you helped more than Karen. Just so you understand though, if Karen is as tech unsavy as me, she wasn't putting down the tech guys. It's just that they say things that sound super simple to them and I'm thinking they're talking a foreign language. I have a friend who's a techie. She'll try to help me. And, she starts simple enough, "you can have a web page or you can....." then she loses me.;)

JenNipps
11-15-2007, 03:54 AM
I use 1and1.com (http://www.1and1.com) (I think I suggested it to ritinrider, but I wouldn't swear to it). They have a wide variety of templates you can choose from or create your own from scratch. You can also get a domain e-mail address from them.

However, I recommend if you do go with 1and1, get your domain from somewhere like GoDaddy,com (http://www.godaddy.com), which usually has a lower rate for the domain than what 1and1 charges, and direct it to your 1and1 account.

As a sidenote, 1and1 has a built-in blog option. I think they use WordPress templates for that, just based on what little I've seen of it.

veinglory
11-15-2007, 04:03 AM
I would say don't use 1 & 1. I have used them 6-7 years and have several major problems including them terminating service without telling me through no fault of my own. I also hear it is very hard to terminate servuce with them. I can't quite face moving to a new host but it is laxiness not an endorsement.

jst5150
11-15-2007, 04:07 AM
Successful Hosting offers you the option of loading a half dozen blog programs of your choice; and several other applications like calendars, commerce and much more. And you don't have to be a techie to do it. Just enter in the initial information and, boom, the set-up works the rest of the magic.

I pay about $100 a year. I've had TREMENDOUS service when needed. I can host four other Web sites (I host three now, including my synagogue). I get a wealth of options that, again, I don't need to be a Techie jedi Knight to operate (though, you know, I am. :-) ). They have scalable hosting packages and payment options and are leinent on being late.

ETA: Here's a list of programs offered with one or two clicks:

Blogs
* b2evolution
* feedonfeeds
* WordPress 1.5.2 (1)
* boastMachine 3.1
* myBloggie 2.1.3
* Nucleus 3.23
* LifeType 1.0.4
WebMail
* RoundCube 0.1
CMS & Portals
* e107
* Mambo CMS
* PHP Nuke
* PhpWiki
* Postnuke 0.761
* vtiger
* xoops
* phpWebThings 1.4.5
* Joomla! 1.0.10
* Nucleus 3.23
Forums
* phpBB
* SM Forum
* XMB Forum
* punBB 1.2.12
* Vanilla 0.9.2.6
GuestBooks
* iPei GuestBook v1.8
* phpBook 1.3.2
Chat Systems
* PHPOpenChat
Surveys
* PHPSurveyor 0.996
Wiki Software
* Tikiwiki 1.9.2
* PmWiki 2.1.5
Groupware
* dotProject 2.0.2
* phpCollab 2.4
E-Commerce
* CubeCart
* osCommerce
* PHPAdsNew
* phpcoin
* SugarCRM
* MyMarket 1.72
Support Systems
* CS Live Helper
* helpcenterlive
* phpMyChat
* phpMyFAQ
* FAQMasterFlex v1.2
* ODFaq 2.1
* CascadianFAQ 4.1
* Support Logic Helpdesk 1.2
* Helpdesk Reloaded
Galleries
* Coppermine Photo Gallery
* Gallery (3)
* SPGM 1.4.4
Misc.
* BBClone 0.4.8b
* DokuWiki
* FormMail (1)
* phpESP
* PHPlist 2.10.2
* phpmycounter
* PHProjekt
* Advanced Poll
* SiteBar
* sRecommender
* WebCalendar (2)
* WebCards

flutecrafter
11-15-2007, 03:12 PM
I did a fair site using hostingtruth.net then later had it redisigned by Alan at A3woods Designs:
http://acubedwoods.net/

mark

amber_grosjean
11-15-2007, 10:04 PM
Right now I am using Bravenet but I will be switching over to a paid site soon so I can have my own domain. Everyone here pretty much gave you all the right advice. Since you really don't have anything to add to a site, use what you want people to see. The cover of your book with a short synopsis and maybe an excerpt would be great. Links to ordering for each site that carries your book will make it simple for your readers. Also giving a background to why you wrote the book may be found interesting for some people.

By having your own website is a way for promoting. I can't say all writers have them but they really should. If you're planning on writing more books, they can all be found together if you have a website. When you blog and you want to add all your books, you have to sit there and type them up one after another which can be time consuming. With a site, you do it one time, then add each book as it comes to you. Most sites have templates, you just fill them in with words and pictures, some of them links and some of them not. It is really simple.


Just updating this lol. I have a new website now going through IX Webhosting. Very inexpensive for get a host and the domain is registered for free! I went for the 1 year membership with them so we'll see how it goes! Thank you! 11/19/07

Rowdymama
11-16-2007, 03:34 AM
I use gate.com. For $10 a month they give you five pages, all the emails you can use and pretty good tech support. They have a website template which is easy once you learn how to work it. I haven't ever had any problems with them.

flashgordon
11-18-2007, 10:09 AM
I'm not going to comment on the webhost, since there are many and all have their +/-. However, although Google loves blogs over websites initially, in the long run if you don't continually update your blog, Google will put a static website above the blog in the search results. So, get a static website for your book. Blog to promote it and drive traffic there.

johnrobison
11-30-2007, 07:24 PM
I have both a website and a blog, and they are interlinked to work together. When Look Me in the Eye was released we had some online advertising driving traffic to the sites, and we pointed most of it at the blog.

My thinking is that blogs are the hot item now, and you should focus there if you have a lot to say. But - and this is a big BUT - don't use a blog unless you can keep it fresh with relevant commentary.

In the months before your book comes out, a blog is going to be far more effective at building a reader base than a website. But the website hosts the "buy the book" links, and all your static content. Hence the need for both.

Lavinia
12-18-2007, 03:36 AM
Thanks everyone! ~Karen