Building Your First Website: Resource List

Wordpress

When writers ask me what the most important thing they should be doing to further their career—aside from write—it’s almost always start your own website. Even if you don’t consider yourself a tech person, services have advanced to the point where an average person can establish a site without knowing code, and without hiring professional help.

Should you start a site if you’re unpublished? I say yes, because you don’t want to tackle that learning curve at the moment you actually need the site. You’ll need and want the time to get comfortable with how you update the site and how it behaves—not to mention you’ll likely learn how to better structure and organize your site based on feedback. A website is never finished—it is a work in progress. Hopefully this is good news rather than bad. For more, read my earlier post, 3 Reasons to Have a Website If You’re Unpublished.

While there’s nothing wrong with hiring professional help to sort through the initial stages of establishing your website, make sure the result is something you can easily update yourself. This is why I recommend, without reservation, having a WordPress-based site. Even the most tech-averse person can usually handle updates on their own, as well as make basic modifications and upgrades. I also recommend WordPress because it’s open source, it’s frequently updated, and has a strong community of developers. (Side note: Many people ask me if Blogger is an OK substitute for WordPress. Blogger is not open source, it is blogging focused, and you never know what Google might do to it in the long run. It’s not a bad service, but it’s not as versatile and dynamic as WordPress.)

This is a long intro to a recommended resource list of my own posts, others’ posts, and general sites that can help you (1) establish your first website (2) maintain it successfully on your own.

Getting Started With WordPress

Online Courses and Tutorials

Beginner Books on WordPress

My Past Posts on Websites

What resources have you found invaluable in dealing with WordPress? Share in the comments.

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Posted in Digital Media.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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