So many beginner writers ask me ‘do I really need a website?’. Of course, the answer is a resounding yes, but in my view they are really saying something quite different. I think they all know they need a website, but they are worried, scared and generally feeling overwhelmed at the idea of creating one. Or getting someone else to create one. Expensive. Tech nerdy. Complicated. So they try to avoid it and ask ‘do I really need a website?’ in the hope that I will say that of course they can go ahead and build a fabulous writing career without a website.
And, of course, I don’t.
Every writer needs a website. But… but… how?
For once being here in 2019 is a huge advantage for us. The solution is one of the lovely, 21st century easy to use drag and drop sites. You no longer need a web developer. These new sites have taken all the grief out of web development for you.
My favourite drag and drop service is Weebly. I run my business on Weebly. My husband runs his business on Weebly. I fling up quick websites for clients on Weebly. It’s not hard to use and it’s very, very cheap. The main investment is your time.
You think I’m kidding when I say it’s not hard? Take a look at this site. https://www.ismeworldconference2018.org/
In the middle of last year I slipped on greasy bitumen and broke my hand. In two places Yes, it hurt. A lot. But I had a website to build for a client. This site https://www.ismeworldconference2018.org/ took me two days from scratch to launch. WITH ONE HAND! And a lot of that time was spent fiddling with pics as this is a graphic-heavy site and downing handfuls of Panadol.
It can be done.
Most writers don’t need a complicated website. A home page, a simple structure, a great design (theme), the ability to capture email addresses, maybe a blog page, is pretty much all you need. You can add other more techy features like a password protected membership area and the ability to sell directly if you so desire, but that’s icing on the proverbial cake.
February’s OWL will show you how to create a wonderful Weebly website in four easy lessons. And I do mean four easy lessons:
- Basics: How to set up an account, buy a domain name or connect to your existing one, how to choose a theme (and how getting it wrong can stuff everything else up completely!) and a quick tour of the site admin areas
- Building your site: structure, email sign up (connecting to MailChimp), how to use the super simple drag and drop functionality, building the framework for your website
- More site building: loading content, adding extra functionality, understanding insights plus we’ll go through all the basic and structure elements that we haven’t covered already
- Mini nerd week: (optional) adding some bells and whistles, such as SEO (search engine optimisation) which is how Google indexes your site so people can find it, membership areas, adding code for such things as the Facebook pixel and Google Analytics, and we’ll take a tour of the Weebly app store for lots of great add ons to make your website shine. Plus good housekeeping.
For clients I also use Weebly to take conference and professional development registrations, take money and send emails. It can do much, much more that a writer will ever need! But those functions are there if you ever need them.
Don’t worry if week 4 looks too scary. You can stop the course at the end of week 3. Or go on with the more nerdy stuff in week 4. Your choice.
We will be working in a Facebook group with videos. You can ask questions until the cows come home and I will be there every day to answer them. You won’t be on your own!
I look forward to seeing you in the course.
Suitable for : writers who don’t have a website yet or who want up upgrade their site or use a simpler platform. No tech knowledge required.
How to set up a Weebly website in 4 easy lessons presented by Sara Hood, will run 4 February to 3 March, 2019.
Sara Hood has almost 40 years experience in marketing. She runs a consulting business looking after clients in the music industry and also provides marketing support for writers. She is a writer and has published one short story, with more to come!