From The Digital Reader:
For the past couple weeks I have been working on a new project, and I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s ready for public testing and feedback.
The project has the working title of “Author Website in a Box”, and it is intended to provide a complete author website based on WordPress.
The site has everything from a home page to a contact page, about the author page, and even bookshelf pages. I even included dummy content that you can replace, and I installed SEO, security, backup, and other essential plugins.
- Yoast (an SEO plugin – it helps readers find you in search engines)
- Novelist (a bookshelf plugin that makes it easy to display your books)
- All in One WP Security (a firewall plugin that keeps hackers out)
- Contact Form 7 (the best free contact form plugin)
- Mailmunch (a great plugin for integrating your mailing list into your site)
The site has a good general design which can be improved upon or customized with a little work. It is built using SiteOrigin’s pagebuilder, my preferred tool for building author websites. Almost everyone I know agrees that while it is not the best tool available, it is relatively easy to learn. It’s also free, which means I can include a copy for you to use with this site.
I have a version of the site myself (this is what I use to develop the site for you to download) which you can see here: dummy.authorwebsiteinabox.com.
Link to the rest at The Digital Reader
PG thought Nate’s dummy site looked promising.
If you’re going to play with it with your own content, read Nate’s Caveats carefully.
PG will second some of Nate’s warnings:
- Never play around with new plumbing/apps/etc. on your principal business website. You can buy a weird domain name for $5 bucks at some places online. Install WordPress there and put some dummy data in to get an idea of how it looks.
- If the dummy site looks good, make a copy of your main website and move it over to your dummy domain. If you Google “moving a website to a new domain“, you’ll find techniques, tools and a WordPress video that talks about it.
- PG has moved some sites to new domains in the distant past, but can’t remember exactly which tool(s) he used, but it wasn’t terribly difficult or time-consuming. If you move your entire site, including your current theme, that might make it easier for you to compare the usability of your potential new theme with your current theme pretty easily.
- If this sounds daunting for you, contact Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader or somebody else who really knows what he/she is doing. (PG knows your unemployed brother-in-law will work on your site at no charge just for the experience, but if you’re in the business of writing instead of the business of fixing website glitches that appear and disappear at random and trying to live with a site that never looks quite right even without glitches, spending a little money for qualified assistance will save you lots of time and serious heartburn. A semi-functioning website doesn’t do a very good job of attracting new readers.)