Do not accept an offer from a friend or relative to design and manage your website for free or at a steep discount. And certainly don't ask them to! I made this mistake about a year and a half ago. I had come to the realization that I should have long before gotten a website to support my writing, but the idea intimidated me. I had done some coding in the past. I hated it. I didn't want to learn any more.
Although the website my friend created was unique and I really liked it, it was more work than either of us anticipated and it never got to the point where I could easily update it myself, so it was always out of date. Luckily we were able to discuss it and come to the mutual agreement that it wasn't working out, and we're still friends. We both meant well. We just should never have undertaken the project together.
As a beginning writer, who is making very little, if any, profit, I can not stress strongly enough--BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE! That way you'll know how it works and you'll know how to change it. This is necessary because you'll have to change it a lot. The whole point of a website is to tell about your career and your projects which are always changing.
I used Wix to create mine. I did some research and considered Wordpress and Squarespace, but Wix seemed easiest for a good price. I created a Wix account, picked out an author website template and got to work choosing a background and changing text colors. The only technical issue I had was uploading photos. I switched browsers from Chrome to Firefox and the problem was solved.
Start to finish the process took about three and a half hours, and a lot of this was due to my general lack of organization. I had to scour my computer, my email, and my online files for the pictures and quotes I wanted to use.
I got rid of the news and updates page that was in the template and added a page for people to sign up for my mailing list. I copy and pasted the html code for the mailing list sign up from my Mail Chimp account which I had set up previously. A number of sources say that encouraging people to sign up for your mailing list is one of the main purposes of having a website. On that note, please pause now in your reading and take a moment to sign up for my mailing list. There's a link at the top of the page ;-).
I opted to use the Facebook comments as a way for people to comment on my blog posts. The other option was Disqus. Facebook seemed easier. I may change this later.
That's about it. What do you think about the new website? Do you think I made the right choice with Wix or would you recommend something else?