What a tangled web we weave when dealing with the World Wide Web! Are you considering becoming your own webmaster? I’ve managed my self-hosted WordPress site for about 18 months. At times, my “web” was so tangled that I would never get it straightened out.
Today, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned. At this point, please continue on Blog4Writers site so that you can see my site design while you read. Click here.
Making your site or blog easy for the reader to navigate is your first priority. You want people to read your posts as they are published, but you also want readers to find older posts or topics easily.
- Can your reader search your site? This is automatic with some site builders, including Blogger. In WordPress, you have to put a search widget in your sidebar.
- Are your archives accessible to the reader? How about categories (WordPress) or labels (Blogger)? These features are not automatic, but you can add them, usually in the sidebar. In Blogger, use the Layout “gadget” function. In WordPress, go to Appearance, then Widgets.
- Is your comment process easy to use?
If you could not answer “yes” to the above questions, your blog is not as reader-friendly as it could be.
FREE is not always the best choice for your hosting and design. Generally, “free” means very little support if you should run into problems.
- The free versions of Blogger and WordPress are great, but both have their limitations. In the free WordPress, you cannot “monetize” your blog at all. You can have your own domain name with the free Blogger and WordPress hosting for a fee, but your hosting is still free and your free design options are limited.
- If you want to be independent and have more features, you need a domain name*, hosting**, and a theme (design). I use WordPress, and I’m still using free theme. I modified the color scheme and used the theme options to get a custom look. I’ve had a few nervous moments with glitches, however. I’m considering switching to a paid theme by the first of the year, probably with Studiopress or Woo Themes.
Readers, if you need how-to information on any of the above, please comment on this post or e-mail me at akinemily(at)gmail.com and let me know. I can do a future post on specific topics you need.
*For domain name registration, I am moving all my domains to NameCheap.com later this year.
**My hosting company is Hostgator.