Self Publishing — Blog Post #3
While I was looking for a WordPress theme, for the second time, I kept checking to make sure Yahoo had turned off my website. I wanted to be sure that when someone searched for my site, they would get sent to my new site, not the old one. Since I was setting up my WordPress site, there were several days when my new site didn’t really exist, there wasn’t any site to connect to. Once I did have something setup with a free theme, I noticed that I was still being sent to my old website. I called Yahoo and they told me my old website was still cached and searches would find the info for the old site. I know what this means, the various pieces and parts of the internet store copied of info on websites to respond quickly to searches. The info to connect to my old site was still floating around, out there, until the info for my new site had been updated to all corners of the internet. I called Yahoo, they said they had done all they could, it would take time. I waited. After a while, several days as I recall, searches did go to my new site, but, in the tab in the browser, there was a little icon that looked just like the Yahoo logo. I didn’t want any reference to Yahoo on my new site.
I called GoDaddy support. They were a little snarky. Apparently all the popular kids know all about favicons. It turns out the small icon in the tab in my browser is a ‘favicon’, also known as a shortcut icon, a website icon or a tab icon. No, I am not making this up. I had never heard of ‘favicons’ (didn’t they do battle with the decepticons?) but it was time to learn even more new stuff. GoDaddy supplied the info needed for me to create and update the favicon. I took a photo of the Tiffany style lamp I made years ago, and created a very low res version using PhotoShop Elements. I was able to update my favicon. One more step along the path, one more brick in the wall.
Now that I was convinced I had completed the move from Yahoo hosting to Go Daddy hosting, it was time to commit to another WordPress theme. I found more magazine themes. I found one that really looked good. I didn’t buy anything this time. The vendor had forums and in those I saw that users had contacted a pre-sales email address. I emailed asking for some evidence that this vendor would respond to tech support questions and that there was more than one person at this vendor. They replied within 24 hours and assured me they were more than one person and someone would always be available to help. They specifically offered to help me setup my new WordPress site if I purchased one of their themes.
I purchased the theme I liked, the Novelty theme from TeslaThemes. I downloaded and installed the theme. This was early January of 2015. I had been working on my new website for about a month. I liked the magazine themes because of the photos that were linked with each blog posts. I had lots of photos I had taken over many years and I was looking forward to picking some to use. I had some photos and some blog posts and I tried to get them to work in my new them. It didn’t. I emailed TeslaThemes support and they asked to connect to my website. I set that up and they told me I needed to have a featured image setup for each blog post. I had read that tutorial that was included with the theme, but it only described the cool features of the theme, nothing about the requirement to have featured images. I looked this up online and figured out how to make it happen. Then the theme worked!
I noticed that my images didn’t look right in the theme. I asked tech support, and it turns out you have to size your images to a specific number of pixels for width and height. I didn’t know that, and it was back to PhotoShop Elements to resize my photos. Now my photos looked right in the theme. What I needed now was to decide what to write about for my blog posts. I had looked at some author websites and I didn’t like most of them. They had a single photo of the author, posed in a what looked to be a very uncomfortable position and very little information about the author and even less as far as actual posts. These sites were very obviously free, in that they had been free to setup, and looked like the author hadn’t touched the site in a long time. They were mainly text which didn’t draw my attention, they seemed static and boring. I couldn’t tell when they had last made an update. I had invested a lot of time so far in my new website, and some money, and I didn’t want to wind up with a static, text base site. I knew I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was time to look for some sort of guidance.
I was making progress, and I had learned a lot from the books I had read so far. I decided to order several more, including the two books Jane had recommended for writing a memoir. While I will discuss all of them in detail later on, the first one I read was Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton. Perhaps most authors just know what to blog about but not me. I wondered about how long a blog post should be, using photos and many other questions. I had benefitted so much from talking to Jane Friedman that I wanted to learn more, from someone that had done all this before. I read all of Blogging for Writers before I worked on my site again. I learned several things that influenced what I did next. The author points out that if your author website just says “Buy My Book!”, no one will bother to look at it. It will be obvious that you did the minimum to setup a site that didn’t cost you anything and all you put on the site is the minimal contact information and maybe a list of what you have written. Equally important, because I would not have thought of it, was that readers want to know about the writer’s process. I assumed how I wrote my manuscript was not relevant, but, according to Robin, readers are interested in the details of how an author actually creates their works. Suddenly, I had lots to blog about!