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Pamela Murdaugh...

Posts: 513
Registered: 06/13/14
Professional Website
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 1:58 PM
 
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Greetings All,

It's time for me to splurge on a professionally built website. I've been doing my research, but like everything on the information highway these days the possibilities are infinite. I'm dazed and confused. What I'm looking for is a website where I can have an online store, own the domain name, decide how it looks, email capabilities, search engine exposure... basically, the full Monty. Perhaps those of you who have already rode this pony might be willing to offer some solid advice on who/what to avoid, how much is too much (both in design and finances) what seems to work/what doesn't, and/or anything you feel relevant and appropriate to share in a public forum.

Thank you for your time and expertise,

Ride Safe, Write Daily
Pamela
Donald Roble

Posts: 1,018
Registered: 12/15/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 2:16 PM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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To get what you want I would hire someone. Look around at sites you like. See if there is information on the designer. If not, look for designers and see what sites they have done.

Avoid bells and whistles. A site should be what you need and not one thing more. This isn't a high school project.

I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars for what you need. I wouldn't pay that much if you can go without something. 500 is the top price I'd pay for you. You aren't a top ten site and don't pay for one.

My site I did myself. I didn't need much of what you want. I haven't done sites in years but I do keep up with pricing. While I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars I also wouldn't pay 200 dollars. Don't hesitate to tell any designer if you don't like something. The website is you.
booknookbiz

Posts: 3,811
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 5:28 PM   in response to: Donald Roble in response to: Donald Roble
 
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Donald Roble wrote:
To get what you want I would hire someone. Look around at sites you like. See if there is information on the designer. If not, look for designers and see what sites they have done.

Avoid bells and whistles. A site should be what you need and not one thing more. This isn't a high school project.

I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars for what you need. I wouldn't pay that much if you can go without something. 500 is the top price I'd pay for you. You aren't a top ten site and don't pay for one.

My site I did myself. I didn't need much of what you want. I haven't done sites in years but I do keep up with pricing. While I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars I also wouldn't pay 200 dollars. Don't hesitate to tell any designer if you don't like something. The website is you.


Donald:

I don't know what pricing you're keeping up with, but even bloody GoDaddy charges $1500 for a website, scratch to done, which includes an eCommerce side. While I'd be the FIRST to encourage an author to just get their domain name, buy a nice but simple template for Wordpress, and go that route, it's extremely hard in today's marketplace to find "affordable" website designers/creators, that will set up an entire site, start-to-finish, done-and-dusted, for under $500.00. Believe me, I've had to deal with website guys (and gals, no gender bias here) for years, and it's a constant, constant headache. The cheap ones don't do what you want, or they flake off and disappear for months, or, or, or.

To the original poster, asking about websites:

Someone with a bit of determination can do what I said: buy your own domain name at someplace like GoDaddy. Then go to ThemeForest, and find a nice template or theme. If you are careful, you can find one that already pretty much does everything you want. They have a category for "creative," so: https://themeforest.net/category/wordpress/creative . Try starting there. Themeforest has LIVE demos, so you can almost take a website out for a test drive. (The BOO template is on sale for $29, and they GUARANTEE that you can have your "dream website" up and running in 30 days, or you get your $29 back. Now, that $29 probably isn't make-or-break, but...). While setting up a website feels intimdating, to set up, you CAN most likely do it.

Note: don't let your designer/whatever, "get" your domain name. BUY YOUR OWN, so it belongs to you. The domain name doesn't go with a website; a website goes with a domain. The domain is unchanging--you can put however many websites you want to on it, over the years.

BTW, don't let any bozo tell you that a blog is different from a website, It's not. They're the SAME thing. The only difference is what you call it. A website is a website is a website, period. You put blog stuff on it, fine, call it a blog, but...SSDD.

Then take a few short tutorials, online, about how to add images, how to add an article, and you're on your way. If you need a special item, like an eCommerce shop, most templates now come with ways that you can do that--but you will probably have to hire someone to help you with that. If you do most of your own website yourself, you can likely get the eCommerce bit done affordably.

I hope that helps whoever is looking/thinking about an author website. Good luck!

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.biz
jm14

Posts: 2,587
Registered: 10/06/11
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 8:53 PM   in response to: Donald Roble in response to: Donald Roble
 
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My site, which is full bore - a blog, bio and contact stuff, individual pages for all my books (50 years worth), author photos across time, links to videos of me being interviewed on various television shows, appearing before audiences, and a few helpful bells and whistles - ran me about $2,000, on a favored-nation basis.

That was close to three years ago.

It replaced an earlier site, which was nearly as comprehensive but not as well designed, and also a bit cumbersome.
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,400
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 3:03 AM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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Pamela Murdaugh Smith wrote:
Greetings All,

It's time for me to splurge on a professionally built website. I've been doing my research, but like everything on the information highway these days the possibilities are infinite. I'm dazed and confused. What I'm looking for is a website where I can have an online store, own the domain name, decide how it looks, email capabilities, search engine exposure... basically, the full Monty. Perhaps those of you who have already rode this pony might be willing to offer some solid advice on who/what to avoid, how much is too much (both in design and finances) what seems to work/what doesn't, and/or anything you feel relevant and appropriate to share in a public forum.

Thank you for your time and expertise,

Ride Safe, Write Daily
Pamela


1. Register your domain name and pay for privacy so they don't post your home address and phone number for the world to see. I would also buy the domain name from a site that is different from your host. Why? Because if you pay the host to register your domain name and then decide you don't want to do business with them, it can be a PITA to have your website moved. I've heard plenty of horror stories. By registering your domain separately, you have more control (and it might only cost another dollar or two).

this is a site for accredited registrars: (replace the DOT with a period and remove the spaces)
www.icann DOT org/registrar-reports/accreditation-qualified-list.html

2. Vet the host sites. Look at the complaints and see if there is a common theme.

3. Word press isn't that hard to use. But then again, I had played around with it before. My website (dianapersaud dot com) is a word press site. You can choose different themes and play around with it to get it to look the way you want it to. The theme I used was free but there are paid ones too. I just happened to like that one and it was free.

How to set up a website basic information
websitesetup DOT org

Donald Roble

Posts: 1,018
Registered: 12/15/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 9:41 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
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booknookbiz wrote:
Donald Roble wrote:
To get what you want I would hire someone. Look around at sites you like. See if there is information on the designer. If not, look for designers and see what sites they have done.

Avoid bells and whistles. A site should be what you need and not one thing more. This isn't a high school project.

I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars for what you need. I wouldn't pay that much if you can go without something. 500 is the top price I'd pay for you. You aren't a top ten site and don't pay for one.

My site I did myself. I didn't need much of what you want. I haven't done sites in years but I do keep up with pricing. While I wouldn't pay more than 500 dollars I also wouldn't pay 200 dollars. Don't hesitate to tell any designer if you don't like something. The website is you.

Donald:

I don't know what pricing you're keeping up with, but even bloody GoDaddy charges $1500 for a website, scratch to done, which includes an eCommerce side. While I'd be the FIRST to encourage an author to just get their domain name, buy a nice but simple template for Wordpress, and go that route, it's extremely hard in today's marketplace to find "affordable" website designers/creators, that will set up an entire site, start-to-finish, done-and-dusted, for under $500.00. Believe me, I've had to deal with website guys (and gals, no gender bias here) for years, and it's a constant, constant headache. The cheap ones don't do what you want, or they flake off and disappear for months, or, or, or.

I guess prices have slipped past me .
booknookbiz

Posts: 3,811
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 11:17 AM   in response to: Donald Roble in response to: Donald Roble
 
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Donald Roble wrote:
I guess prices have slipped past me .

Your advice was good, Donald. Just the pricing might be a bit off. :-) No harm.

Best,
Hitch

We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.biz
Charles O'Donnell

Posts: 1,868
Registered: 12/22/12
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 12:30 PM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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I used to code my own website with HTML, PHP and MySQL. It took many hours and it looked horrible. Then I discovered Wordpress and my world changed. In one afternoon I created a gorgeous website (link below). I later added an online store and an event calendar.

BTW, my web hosting service is GoDaddy.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
Author Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,400
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 14, 2017 2:10 AM   in response to: Charles O'Donnell in response to: Charles O'Donnell
 
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How do you deal with remitting taxes? VAT? Is there a service you use to streamline the process?
Notjohn

Posts: 21,932
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 14, 2017 2:54 AM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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I pay about $60 a year for my websites at Simply Hosting dot net (not dot com! that's a UK site). That includes $10 for extra domain names, because I have several websites. The only bell or whistle I need beyond that is a good newsletter service, which of course you can avoid by using MailChimp. (I use it to harvest new signups, but not to send out my newsletter.)

As someone wisely said, I keep the websites apart from the domain names, which are now the expensive part, about $7.95 per year per name. That adds up if you run multiple sites.

I write my own html for the web pages. I use Blogger for my blog, though honestly I don't pay much attention to it any longer, just enough to make my Author page on Amazon look like I THINK. Facebook seems more useful for that (a professional Page, not a personal page).

But I began throwing pages onto the web about 1992 or 1993. I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to follow my rather jury rig, though paying $2500 rather stops me in my tracks. I don't think I've spent that much in the twenty-plus years I've been doing this.

I think a lot of author websites are awful. They're just razzle-dazzle, like the early efforts of somebody just out of coding college. So yes, if you're going to hire it done, look at a lot of author websites, find a few that don't make you seasick, and check out the designers.

(I should say that my author website came much, much later. My websites simply reflect my personal interests over the years, and I have actually abandoned three of them as my interest moved on.)

Oh, and I use PayPal to sell books direct. (Also Amazon Marketplace -- which reminds me: I have to go package a book!)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com

Edited by: Notjohn on Aug 14, 2017 2:55 AM
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,400
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 14, 2017 5:54 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
 
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Notjohn wrote:
Oh, and I use PayPal to sell books direct. (Also Amazon Marketplace -- which reminds me: I have to go package a book!)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com

Edited by: Notjohn on Aug 14, 2017 2:55 AM


Paypal doesn't collect VAT so do you just refuse to sell to EU countries? Is there a setting that does that?

What about collecting sales tax and remitting to each state? Does Paypal handle all that?
Pamela Murdaugh...

Posts: 513
Registered: 06/13/14
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 14, 2017 3:51 PM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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Donald,

Thank you for your input and advice. I will keep that price range in mind.

Hitch,

I'm familiar with GoDaddy, back in the day I had a simple website with them for my bar. Nothing spectacular, just a place to post events, specials and photos. Of course, that was nearly ten years ago, so I need to check them out now to see what they've added in the last decade.

Note: don't let your designer/whatever, "get" your domain name. BUY YOUR OWN, so it belongs to you. The domain name doesn't go with a website; a website goes with a domain. The domain is unchanging--you can put however many websites you want to on it, over the years. Good to know! I'll check out ThemeForest and spend some time familiarizing myself with the options. Is there a particular tutorial that you would feel comfortable recommending?

jm14,

Thank you for your response. That's a hefty sum.

Diana,

I appreciate the information you shared, I will be visiting the sites you listed and do a bit of recon/vetting. I've already been to your website. Nice job, I like it.

Charles,

So, if understand this correctly... you bought your domain name from Godaddy and then chose to use Wordpress to set up your website... which includes a store? Was adding the store a cumbersome expense? Diana brought up a good point to both you and notjohn... what about VAT?

notjohn

Simply hosting . net... got it, I'll give them my attention as well. I also want to use PayPal, wouldn't it be wise to also accept credit cards or are they too bothersome/expensive?
Question: I'm not familiar with Mail chimp...(but i have heard of them on this forum) I'm not certain that I understand how that kind of service works. Would you care to expound... in layman's terms? I'll check into them, of course, but I would like to hear from an experienced user as well. I'll be waiting to see what you and Charles have to say about handling 'Vat' issues.

TO ALL,

Thank you, I appreciate the time you each took to consider my questions and offer your expertise. You've given me much to consider, I am grateful so many were willing to share the knowledge!

Ride Safe, Write Daily!
Pamela

Charles O'Donnell

Posts: 1,868
Registered: 12/22/12
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 15, 2017 3:56 AM   in response to: Pamela Murdaugh... in response to: Pamela Murdaugh...
 
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Charles,

So, if understand this correctly... you bought your domain name from Godaddy and then chose to use Wordpress to set up your website... which includes a store? Was adding the store a cumbersome expense? Diana brought up a good point to both you and notjohn... what about VAT?

Correct. Godaddy secured the domain name and hosts my website. Godaddy supports WordPress for free. I then added Woo Commerce, a free plugin, for my books and other merchandise. Woo Commerce has a feature to charge and collect taxes but I don't use it. All payments are through PayPal. I do have a plugin to accept credit cards directly (via PayPal) but I haven't activated it—though I could since I recently added an SSL certificate.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
Author Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,400
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 15, 2017 5:01 AM   in response to: Charles O'Donnell in response to: Charles O'Donnell
 
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Charles O'Donnell wrote:
Charles,

So, if understand this correctly... you bought your domain name from Godaddy and then chose to use Wordpress to set up your website... which includes a store? Was adding the store a cumbersome expense? Diana brought up a good point to both you and notjohn... what about VAT?

Correct. Godaddy secured the domain name and hosts my website. Godaddy supports WordPress for free. I then added Woo Commerce, a free plugin, for my books and other merchandise. Woo Commerce has a feature to charge and collect taxes but I don't use it. All payments are through PayPal. I do have a plugin to accept credit cards directly (via PayPal) but I haven't activated it—though I could since I recently added an SSL certificate.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
Author Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

You don't collect taxes? So you pay the taxes out of your own pocket? How do you remit to each state? And VAT to each EU country?

Collecting and remitting taxes are the reason I don't sell from my own website. How are the rest of you handling that aspect?

Charles O'Donnell

Posts: 1,868
Registered: 12/22/12
Re: Professional Website
Posted: Aug 15, 2017 5:32 AM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
 
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I only sell to U.S. and Canada. And when I actually sell a book through my website, I'll worry about taxes.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
Author Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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