Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Full of Win! My Website Adventure

Teachers always put off until summer home or personal projects that we can't do during the school year. If you are not a teacher and don't understand why we can't get these things done during the school year, READ THIS. Truth, right there.

Here were some things on my summer list in no particular order:

ü  Colonoscopy (ewww)
ü  Clean out file cabinet (this took 7 hours – not exaggerating)
ü  Revise PB manuscript (and send back in – yikes)
ü  Create author website

Check, check, check, and check! *pats self on back*

Since I am all freaked out about the third thing on that list, the author website is what I am most excited about at the moment. 

My four day saga, condensed version:

I had a few platforms in mind to check out thanks to sharing on the topic with the SCBWI Carolinas forum group. Shout out SCBWIC - thank you! 

Decided to try out the free versions of Weebly, Wix and WordPress to compare functions, capabilities and how easy they were for me to use. Note: 'for me'. 

Got very frustrated, over a four day period, with trying to get all three sites to do what I wanted before settling on one. 

What I wanted to do.

My needs: A site that looks clean, sleek, uncluttered and is easy for visitors to navigate*. Needed to be able to link already existing blog to it. Needed to be able to use a domain name I already owned. Needed to be able to have more than 5 pages without additional charge. Needed to be free or the lowest cost possible with your own domain name. Needed to be easy to customize the way I envisioned without needing programming knowledge. Need to be able to add pages and content to it with relative ease as I go along. Tech-wise, I know how to do what I need to do, but I am not a tech wizard. Wish I were.

What I should have done.

WordPress: I had great hopes for this since I know a ton of writers use this for their blogs. I was really disappointed. It is not for me. I don't need a blog - already have one on blogger. I needed a website with the capabilities above. There is a way you can default your blog page to a website home page and build a site from there, but the rest of it didn't work for me. The available themes were not what I was looking for and to modify them to do the website functions that I need, you have to have programming knowledge. So, no go for me.

Weebly: Their available themes are ok. Not great, but okay. They don't have 'hundreds' to choose from as they say, though. I counted 157. I really tried to make one of them work for me, but you can't manipulate various elements of the theme (modify header,create dividing lines, etc.) the way I wanted to. Had some back and forth with support and basically, it just can't be done the way I wanted. Not bad in respect to domain, price, and page number, though. This is the one I thought I was going to go with when Wix was buggy (see below), but the limit on manipulating themes was frustrating.

Wix: This is the one I went with. This is also the one I was, at first, the most put off by since after I signed on, chose a theme (they have nice ones) and started to manipulate the elements, the text editor stopped working. Couldn't do a thing for two days. Apparently, it was a bug and it is now fixed. I am crossing fingers it is truly fixed and that won't happen again. I liked the way I could manipulate the design elements in the theme (more flexible than Weebly). Easy to use, edit, modify.

*The way I really want my site to look: Ruta Sepetys' website. But that wasn't remotely available anywhere as a theme and I would have had to pay big bucks to have it designed. I attended one of Ruta's workshops a few years ago. A-mayyy-zing. Just a huge wow. Spoke to her a bit afterward and she completely inspired me. Fan girl here. By the way, read her books. No, really. Read them. Huge.

Website at last!

My new site doesn't look like a lot of kid lit authors' sites do. That's a little on purpose and a little because I am not an artist. And a little because I can add fun elements as time goes on. I also write YA and wanted a site that doesn't look like it is strictly for the lower elementary crowd. I wanted minimal with option to add a bit of fun.

I do have a 'Books' page but it is hidden until I get published! It will happen! It will, it will! I am nothing if not determined. Mom and Dad, the stubbornness* that frustrated you in my childhood has paid off as determination and perseverance in adulthood. 
*this might have actually been referred to as 'hard-headed'

My photo on the home page is just a place holder. I'll change it to my book cover when I get published. See above paragraph.

My 'Media' page will eventually have fun stuff like downloadables on it. Maybe a Twitter feed? 

My 'Events' page right now has events that I am attending and learning from as a writer, but will in future have events that I am presenting, like school visits.

And the big question: Do I really need an author website now? I'm not even published (yet)! Well, no. I guess not. Not really. But see up there where I'm talking about teachers and the school year? No harm in being prepared. Too, frustrating as it was at times, it was actually a good learning experience. 

So sally forth with your big website ideas and make yourself one!

1 comment:

  1. Kara,
    I especially liked that your events and workshops section describes what you're taking part in. I think editors and agents would think that is a plus too.


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