Elsie King shares her trials and triumphs building a website
My original website, built on WordPress about four years ago, showcased my artwork. It was free, and I enjoyed creating it and adding to it. I wrote blogs giving tips on painting. The website appeared on Facebook and people regularly sent me friendly messages about my blog. Then Facebook became complicated and my website disappeared. After unsuccessful attempts to resurrect it, I just let it die a natural death. Facebook continued to send me messages with obscure recommendations, which sounded like I needed to spend money and time in order to revive my site.
This year I decided I wanted to create a new website using my pen name, Elsie King, which would put my books and artwork online.
I used WordPress thinking I had deleted my old website and I could create another one with a bonus of one year free. Big mistake. The algorithms remember everything. If you use the same e-mail address to sign up a second website, they will immediately give your freebee to the previous website and charge you $60 for the new one. Being technologically challenged, I pressed something and spent $60 on something that I didn’t sign up for. After several days of e-mails toing and froing, I convinced WordPress to give me a refund. WordPress had become a bit too complicated for this little black duck.
I researched lots of website builders and decided that WIX looked safe for the confused and unwary. The following steps helped me build a website of which I am proud as punch. I figure that if I can build a website anyone can, but it takes time and persistence. The following ideas helped me get started.
- Have a look at the websites of your favourite authors or artists. This gives you a good idea of what you want to include and gives you a concept of a design.
- Write up what you want to say. Have text for your home page and an about page ready to run. I put my bio photo and artworks in a file on the desktop for easy access. Prepare your first blog as well.
- The WIX site allows you to play with designing a website and you can then delete what you’ve done until you get it right. Keep playing with the templates, drag-and-drop features, adding text, changing the fonts and layout, adding media and moving between pages. You can also make a menu and put information into the header and footer. The most important place to find in the edit area is the delete site button in the Site actions. You can create a trial site and delete then start again and again and again. I played with the site building for weeks.
- While you are in play mode, use YouTube videos for guidance. WIX provides lots of tutorials and you can also access videos from experts. They have heaps of useful information. Be warned, some tutorials presume you know what they are talking about. I found I needed to find a tutorial presenter who didn’t talk too fast and use acronyms I didn’t understand. Also, have a paper and pen available so you can jot down the information. The pause button is a marvellous invention.
- WIX suggests you pick a template and modify to your needs. I couldn’t get the hang of this and ended up selecting blank templates and designing my website to my satisfaction. I found this much easier.
- Make sure you have an e-mail address ready to use and have sorted out your website address you intend using. I used www.elsiekingauthorartist.com which is long but suited what my website is about.
- Once you have designed your website, you can publish. I paid for the premium plan so I don’t have adverts popping up all the time. You can pay with PayPal or a card. It’s about $200 for a year. Look out for 50% off offers to save money.
A website with an e-mail address is just the beginning for me. I will explore the ways to promote my website, link it to social media, dive into analytics and improve my SEO (search engine optimisation) and other stuff. I put this off over Christmas but I will do the research and report in the new year. Stay tuned for more on web sites in 2023.
©Elsie King 2023
Photo supplied through Creative Commons