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Should you start a site if you’re unpublished?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 For more, read my earlier post, 3 Reasons to Have a Website If You’re Unpublished.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.


Upcoming Online Classes

Posted in Digital Media.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

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 co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

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. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

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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21 Comments on "Building Your First Website: Resource List"

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Sharyl Heber

I use blogger and I love it so far but I’m very grateful for this list of WordPress resources in case I make a switch. Thank you Jane!

Pooja

WordPress is great reasource and having a nice tools

Adriana Ryan

I have WordPress, and I love it. I’ve had it for about two years now, I believe, and am just getting to the point where I’d like to have a professional come in and tweak it to “brand” it more. My first novel doesn’t even come out until later this year, so you’re right–it’s been a great way to get a feel for running a website as a sort of precursor to when I’d actually need it.

Pamela Waterman

This advice is so well put! I started a blog on Blogspot then ported it to WordPress, having heard that eventually I could build a whole website around it to promote my new brand. It’s all about to happen and I’m so excited at the tools offered with this system. Thanks for sharing all these tips and resources.

TeresaR

I went back and forth about taking your course because I already have a website set up at Weebly.com. On the other hand, I could never get the hang of WordPress when I had a blog there (I do know that WordPress.com is much different from WordPress.org though I can’t say I’m really familiar with either), and learning more about it (at least the .org website offerings) certainly would never hurt anything and might actually prove helpful to me one day.

Well, I have the evening left to think about it… 🙂

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[…] We’ve all heard about author platform by now. Matthew Turner lists 5 free services to help build author platform, while Jane Friedman focuses on the centerpiece of your platform—your website, with a resource list for building your first website. […]

Marilyn Slagel

Hi, Jane! I have a WP site and am beginning to figure out how to actually use it. Posted my first blog last week. You are so right to say the website needs to be up and comfortable before the first book comes out.

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[…] Building Your First Website: Resource List from Jane Friedman (Don’t know if I agree with Wiodpress being the way to go with a website, but I know enough to get in trouble on my own – a lot of people don’t. So this could work for them.) […]

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[…] help you create a website for free or at minimal cost. Social media expert Jane Friedman offers advice on building your first website using WordPress. Chuck Sambuchino in his book Create Your Writer Platform (Writers Digest Books, […]

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[…] is just a single page with your name and a little information about what you write. You can always build it out later with a blog or more pages, but having something up now will help with search engine […]

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[…] Building Your First Website: Resource List […]

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[…] I built my website based on Jane Friedman’s series of classes and blog posts. The site is not one hundred percent where I want it to be yet, but it has the basics: a clean look, a starting point for all that I do and have online, quarterly newsletter, email list, etc. I recommend looking at Jane’s collection of resources:  https://janefriedman.com/building-your-first-website-resource-list/. […]

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