Daily Archives: May 4, 2007

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May 4, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as
Website A, B, C’s

by Gina Black

So you want to have a website, or maybe you think you should have a website, but the whole thing is so confusing you’ve done absolutely n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

Don’t despair. It’s not that complicated. Really. Let me help get you started by sharing my version of website A, B, C’s.

A is for address. Just like every business, if you’re going to have a website, your customers (or readers) need to be able to find it. Remember: Location, location, location. To a writer that means you want your name in the address (or domain name). If your website is set up properly they will be able to Google you anyway, but make it as easy as possible by buying yourname.com. But what if (like in my case) the .com that goes with your name is already taken? Then go for .net or put a hyphen in your name (gina-black.com wasn’t taken so I grabbed it), or do whatever you can think of to get it as close to yourname.com as possible. Are you going to write under a pseudonym? Then buy that too, while you’re at it. If possible, get both the .com and .net. One caveat: when you purchase your domain name your information (name, address, email, phone contact) goes on public record. If you don’t want that you can pay for a private registration (with some companies), or get a P.O. Box, which is a good thing for any author to have anyway.

But, you say, you don’t want to set up the website now. Not a problem, says I. You can buy the domain name at any time and hold onto it until you are ready to . . .

B is for build your website. In order to do that, you need a place to put it. In cyberspace, the equivalent of “land” is space on a server. Your server can be located anywhere in the world. Mine happens to be in England (just because I felt like it). There are loads of companies that would love to sell you space on their computers for your website.

C is for content (which is made out of code–called HTML, but I’m not going into that today). What kind of a cyber-home do you want? For this I can only offer you the simple advice that your website should reflect your voice and the kind of stories you tell. Some authors include lots of personal information, some don’t even have an author photo, some include blogs, and discussion forums, some have just a page or two to advertise their books and provide links to booksellers. Spend a day or two touring the various cyber-neighborhoods, make notes about what you like and bookmark the sites you love. If you aren’t a graphic designer, or don’t want to figure out how to build it yourself you can hire someone to make it for you, but it will be easier for you and them if you can tell them what you want, including colors, tone, and style. If you hire someone they might want to sell you a whole package of domain name, server space, and web design with monthly updates. The more you understand, the easier it will be to find someone who can give you what you want for what you can afford. Or, you could try it yourself!

So now that you know what you need, where do you start? I don’t want this to turn into a commercial, and it really is good to do your own research, so, I’ve included some links to Google searches:

Domain name registration
Website hosts (servers)

Web designers (for authors)

Remember, no endorsements here, just a place to start. Especially with web designers, you might wish to find one through a referral from someone who has a site you particularly like.

Gina collects domain names like some people do shoes. In her closet, she now has allyouneedisyarn.com, marciasgallery.com, gbtrynin.com (in case she ever writes that mystery), theresablack.com (her YA alter-ego), and ten others, including ginablack.net.

And yes, her computer screen really has burned itself into her glasses.

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