To Blog or to Website?

This is the question I asked myself before attending a great workshop at The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, MA on Saturday. That, and, where the heck is Sherborn, MA?

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I admit I got a little worried as I passed 128 and started to see signs for Albany, NY, but I made it to the Loft in once piece and even found a handy eatery nearby to pick up a nice greasy sandwich and chocolate frappe. *thumbs up*

The workshop, “Creating an Author Website,” was led by Ray Brierly, and was a great chance for me to find out what I wanted to know. I’ve been blogging here on WordPress since 2008, and I’ve gradually figured out lots of the bits and pieces that give my blog the look and feel I wanted. But yanno, what I’ve got isn’t a website; it’s a blog. Before the workshop, I was pretty sure I decided I wanted to convert to a website, once there, I realized it didn’t seem to be anything to be afraid of.

As Ray described the steps, one must:

  1. Get hosting
  2. Get a domain name
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Customize website

Since I’ve been blogging with a wordpress.com address, it turns out I’ve done the last step first–and it seems like this is the most time-consuming, complicated step, so yay, me! However, I still have to do steps 1-3 if I want an actual website. If I only had a few blog posts, it wouldn’t be a big deal to just start up a fresh website and copy the content over, but because I have six years of content (*gasp*), once I got home from the workshop, I decided to look up how it’s done, and luckily it doesn’t seem horribly complicated:

  1. WordPress has a nice how-to on the process that I plan to take for a spin in the near future: move to self-hosted.
  2. They also have a list of recommended hosts that are known to work well with WordPress.
  3. One of the hosts they list is the same one Ray mentioned in the workshop, and I found they’re running a special!

Best of all, now that I realize I’ve been doing the more complicated part all along, I should be able to actually help friends and family members who’ve been asking how to set up a website who’ve been scoffing at my, “Get a free WordPress blog!” responses. Now I know exactly what to tell them and will even be able to walk them through it. Who knew making a website could be so much fun? 🙂

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