Writers can be fiercely independent. They are also occasionally underfunded. Either or both of these facts can influence the decision to build your own website. While this post is not intended to teach you how to build your own website – those resources already exist by the 1000s, it is intended to suggest some options of where writers can start the DIY process.
DIY website come in two basic genres.
At the highest level, there are two options for building your own site. While both will will have the same end result, each path is different and requires some compromises. We’ll use writing genres and call the two styles of DIY websites “Pulp Fiction” and “Speculative Fiction.”
Pulp Fiction (Software as a Service)
Like the genre, this option is approachable, pretty straight forward, and a generally enjoyable process. It involves little more than signing up for a service and letting that service guide you through the process. You’ve probably heard the names of these services in ads or just in passing. They include (but are far from limited to):
- WordPress (.com)
- Quick to set up
- Easy to use
- Templates ensure the site looks good – even on mobile and tablets
- Little to no technical knowledge required
- Limited to what is offered and that varies by the service and account type
- More expensive than hosting it yourself
- You may “outgrow” the service in a few years
- If the service shuts down, your site may go with it
Speculative Fiction (Host Your Own)
Like the genre, what is described here doesn’t even exist in the world you live in until you create it. The learning curve for this option is steep and time consuming. What you get out of it is limitless. These platforms have less name recognition and don’t often advertise. They include:
- WordPress (.org)
- And others even more obscure
- The price is usually very low, especially if you’re hosting more than one site
- You will understand the internet in ways that will help you in every other area you interact with
- You control everything – the look, the data, how fast the site is, etc.
- As things change, you control how you change with them (and the internet is always changing)
- Steep learning curve that will take significant time to master
- Long process to launch a site
- Site may end up looking ‘amateurish’ if you make poor choices
- People may ask you to build sites for them since its basically the start of a new career
FYI, the Carteret Writers new site falls into the Speculative Fiction genre.
When Autumn and I rebuilt this site, we chose to go the Speculative Fiction route because we both have experience hosting and building websites. The previous site was a really old school DIY site built from scratch using HTML. (Autumn built her first copywriting site this way, and she suggests that particular DIY route be classified as Horror.) Choosing WordPress.org for Carteret Writers means we can play around with functionality and design for a more professional appearance. Plus, it’s cheaper to host since we already host a dozen other sites.
When to choose Pulp Fiction and when to choose Speculative Fiction.
If you’re building your first website and have little to no experience, do yourself a favor and go with the Pulp Fiction service. If you already have a site, are upgrading, and/or want to understand and control your website, then the Speculative Fiction option is preferable. Either way, if you want to build your own website, DIY options abound, and I’d encourage you to get in there and give it a try! You’ll find plenty of YouTube Channels and entire websites dedicated to this topic, and of course, I’m always happy to offer my assistance.
Just remember: You’re a writer. Writers are resourceful. You can do this.
Jack the Friendly Carteret Writers IT Guy
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