How to do a website on a budget?
Shelia M. Goss ©2005 All Rights Reserved.
If you're a published author, soon to be published or even thinking about being published , then you should have a website. No one thought the World Wide Web would be used in the capacity it's being used now. Well, correction, some folks did (smile).
There's no excuse for NOT having a website. If you're unsure of how you want your website to look, I suggest surfing the net. Go to www.google.com and enter in a few authors names to get an idea.
If you're unable to hire a web designer to create your home on the web, then do it yourself.
If creating a website scares you, then halt. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe. If you have yahoo, AOL or any one of the many other internet providers, then you have access to creating a website. Bravenet (http://www.bravehost.com/), Angelfire(http://www.angelfire.lycos.com), GeoCities (http://geocities.yahoo.com/), or Homestead (http://www.homestead.com/) offer free or low costing web space with handy tutorials.
As an author, you need to choose a domain name. What is a domain name? It's an identifier or the information you type in your web browser to pull up a website. For example, if you want to pull up the Shades of Romance website, you will enter the domain www.sormag.com. The most important thing to remember when deciding on a domain name (your new website address) is to choose something that is easy for your current and future readers to remember.
For example, if your name is Jane Doe, then use the domain www.janedoe.com. There will be instances where your name is already taken and you might have to add an initial or some other identifier. Some authors use there book title as their website address. This is fine if you plan on that being the only book you'll publish or if you can have it forward to your main website (i.e., www.janedoe.com).
Once you purchase your domain name, it's yours for the allotted time. You can buy it yearly or whatever terms you and the provider set up. In the past, I've seen it for as low as $2.95. The price will depend on the web host site you choose.
There are so many sites that offer web services and it's easy to get lost and frustrated while trying to find the one for you. Here's a website that I hope will make it easier for you. The page identifies the web space and price: http://www.mysitespace.com/compare.asp.
Thank goodness there is software out there that doesn't require you to know HTML. Frontpage is one of them. I use it constantly and it's simple. You can create your page in Microsoft Word and paste it directly into Frontpage. If you have Microsoft Office, Frontpage may already be on your computer.
What should you include on your web site once you've decided on your domain name and web server? At the minimum, make sure the following are included:
Book Information (Title, price, where to purchase your book, sample chapter, etc)
How to Contact You (Email or contact sheet)
I've been doing my own website for quite some time now. If I can do it, you can too. My website is www.sheliagoss.com. Take a look around and check out the headings.
One day I'll turn over the reign to someone else, but in the meantime, I'm always trying to come up with different looks. What you see today will probably be different six months from now.
Remember, having your own website doesn't have to cost much, you just have to shop around.
1st Assignment: If you have a website, post it here. If you don't have a website, and at the minimum, sign up for one of the free websites.
2nd Assignment: Visit workshop participant websites and take a look around. Be sure to drop them a note in their guestbook, so the'll know you were there.
Shelia M Goss is the ESSENCE MAGAZINE Bestselling Author of My Invisible Husband. With unique storylines, her goal is to create "stories with a twist." Shelia was the recipient of three 2003 Shades of Romance Magazine Reader's Choice Multi-Cultural Awards for her debut novel, ROSES are Thorns, VIOLETS are True. Be on the look out for her next novel--My Three Beaus. Her articles, poetry, and short stories, have appeared in National Magazines such as Black Romance Magazine, Bronze Thrills, InnerCosmetics, and Tribes Magazine. Visit her website at www.sheliagoss.com or check out one of her blogs: http://myinvisiblehusband.blogspot.com.