I find that authors who are struggling to deal with technology, frequently get overwhelmed at the choices.
I agree that the choices are overwhelming and one can quickly get sucked into paying a few dollars quite a few places. I’m absolutely a fan of free! But if you are going to spend some money, it should be where you get value for your money.
The purpose of this page is to list some of my recommendations and why I recommend what I do. I’ve done the research so you don’t have to.
In order to have a website, you need a domain (think street address) and hosting (think house). I talk a lot about creating a first name last name domain, but there are many places to register it. Lately domains have become a cash cow to many hosting companies I think. I’ve started using NameCheap.com for the price point as well as the reliability. I manage to save several dollars or more on domains I have purchased or renewed recently.
Hosting is the ‘house’ part of the equation of owning a website. I reached a point about a year ago when I was having trouble with a whole bunch of hosting companies – everyone wanted to up-sell me something. I had authors who were being convinced to purchase services or products that they didn’t need. I lost my temper.
I then started looking for a couple of ethical, reliable and highly rated by their peers hosting companies. With the philosophy of “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” I settled on two companies that I was comfortable recommending as well as using.
InMotion Hosting is the first of my two recommendations for hosting companies. Their rates are reasonable, they will transfer your existing site for you, and their phone and chat support is helpful without being sales-y. Although they are a bit more geared towards larger companies, they are perfect for the beginner. They are also highly rated by their peers as well as their customers.
Siteground.com is my second recommendation. I find it a tiny bit easier to use than InMotion, but in terms of customer reviews and peer evaluations, Siteground rates as high as InMotion. They will transfer in an existing site for free. One thing that they do that many of my authors love…is they install WordPress on your hosting for you. No need to figure out what settings are necessary – just give them the username and password you want and within a few hours you receive a note letting you know that you are ready to go. I want to add that several of my ‘problem’ sites are on Siteground – sites that are commonly targets for hackers or sites that have tons of traffic and are frequently going beyond limits. Because of this, I’m often on Siteground’s chat asking for help – which I get quickly and efficiently.
Social Media Management
I use a variety of tools to manage my social media. What this does is allow me to do a number of things. First and foremost, I can walk away from the distraction of social media and actually get some work done 🙂 Secondly, management tools allow me to measure the effectiveness of my efforts with very robust stats.
PromoRepublic is a relatively new tool in my toolkit. I’ve been working with it for a while and am gradually getting more and more comfortable. PromoRepublic allows me to create content for my streams with a very robust graphics area – think Canva but with a larger selection of free images. It has curated content from various parts of the interest that you can share with your readers. Lastly, it has a scheduling functionality that I love – calendars that allow me to visualize what is shared on what days. Although this is not a free tool, monthly pricing is very reasonable.
ManageFlitter is a Social Media Management tool that I can’t do without. I’ve been using it for several years to manage unfollows on Twitter. Using it’s search function, I can also find people to follow that match my audience. There is a free version of this app as well as a paid version. I encourage you to take hold of your Twitter account using ManageFlitter.
I blog a lot – on a variety of site. One of the things that I struggled with for a long time was remembering to re-share blog posts after the initial publication and share period. I post a lot of ‘evergreen’ content – or in other words, content that really doesn’t go out of date. By re-sharing that content, I can reach a new audience, perhaps, and also remind my existing readers of blog posts that might help them. What Missinglettr does is grab each blog post as it goes live and creates different iterations of it for sharing over the next 365 days. You can then edit the suggestions, add hashtags and approve – presto – your blog posts shared throughout the next year! Again, not a free service, but worth the small fee I pay in my opinion.