Sunday, April 14, 2013

Any website gurus out there?

I'm getting ready to publish my first two novels, and considering associated elements that will be necessary if I'm to make a success of this.  One of them is to move to a dedicated Web site, one that can host this blog, offer information about my books, host articles about the writing process and other areas that interest me, perhaps have an e-commerce portal for direct sales in due course, and so on.

I've tried to contact a few people, but so far nothing's worked out.  I can't afford high-priced professionals, particularly on a disability income.  (That may change if my books are successful, but not before then.)  I need the advice and assistance of someone who can help me register a domain and put together a basic, attractive Web site for an author/self-publisher, with the features I've mentioned above.  This blog will also have to be ported to it and/or interfaced to it - I'm not sure whether I'll leave the whole thing on Blogger as well, or move it all to a dedicated Web site.  (That's one of the areas where I need advice).

Do any of my readers do this sort of thing for a living?  At reasonable rates?  If you don't do that sort of thing yourself, can you recommend anyone from your experience?  If so, please drop me a line (my e-mail address is in my blog profile), and let's talk.



Erik said...

I do work in the computer industry, though I'm not a "website guru" by trade. But I do run a few websites, and have done most of the programming on the sites myself, and I really don't think it's that hard to do a site that you want.

For instance, one of the sites I use cost less than US$50 a year, and offer everything you want, except for e-commerce portal. Though I'm pretty sure that could be done with PayPal, until the volumes get too big.

Basically what you need is a good basic design, which I would recommend that you do yourself. This would be a general look of the site, what you want the visitor to see, and how you want them to be able to navigate the site.

Then you need someone that can make that happen, as well as design a good user interface behind the site so you can do most of the updates yourself. I've done a few of those, and it just takes some decent programming skills to get it done. And anyone that has done it once can reuse it for other sites.

Again, I haven't done this professionally, only as a favor for friends, and I dont know what it would cost in the US, but in Scandinavia, the website itself would run under $100/year, and the host service will register the domain for you.
They will even provide you with a website programming tool online, so you can design your own website, though if you want to update it regularly you'd be wise to get someone to do a simpler interface for you, as I mentioned above. But that way you can create the look and feel of your site yourself, which saves a lot of work for anyone doing the rest of the job.

I have no idea what rates for this type of job is, but it really shouldn't take that much time to get it set up. At least not if the programmer allready have the necessary program structure available.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at it is designed for authors, photographic and music people to setup their own web sites. It also has simple to set up and use e-commerce portal that you can add at a later date. Also you can import your blog to the site.


Aaron C. de Bruyn said...

Web geek right here.

Mad Jack said...

I've looked into this a little. What I've discovered so far is that if you're going to publish, your best bet is Amazon. The site is high traffic and security is better than anything anyone else is going to come up with anytime soon. Maintenance is minimal.

Building your own site is easy, and you can get it hosted for less than $50 per year. Email the author of and explain what you're up to, and he'll point you in the right direction.

Hope it works out well for you.

perlhaqr said...

Yeah, I've done professional web stuff before. If you can't find anyone else to help, I'm willing to help you for free, but, I tend to be exceedingly busy, which is why I'm recommending you look to others first. Turnaround time would likely be a lot better.

I'm guessing you still have my email address? That's the best way to get ahold of me if you'd like to chat about it.

Grace Bridges said...

Cheapest domain hosting is with Doteasy and I've never had any trouble there. I combine this with the free Google Sites site builder for Google Sites has loads of templates that you can tweak. Doteasy also gives you 10 free subdomains, one of which I use for although that's still hosted by Blogger, but I've aligned the look as far as possible and you can make one of the main site's menu tabs go to the blog, likewise a blog tab can link back to the main site to unite the whole ecosystem. It's very DIY but not hard, considering the templates are all in place. The other important thing is to make sure your graphics look good - display at actual size (resize to desired size before uploading) for best clarity, etc.
Ideally you want to retain control over the content so you can tweak and add at will without waiting for a web designer who will charge you for any change. This is one way to do that.
Domain name considerations: Recommend getting some form of your name, even if you have to add something like "books" to the end since I imagine your name isn't uncommon... Don't get a book title as your domain because it will quickly go out of date with your next book. A series title is slightly better, but is that the only series you will ever write? Better not to limit yourself. Feel free to ping me with questions. I've made many mistakes over the years and they should be of some use to you if they help you avoid them!

Gay_Cynic said...

Talk to Minuteman over on GBC. I suspect he can set you up. :)