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DIY Author WordPress Sites: 5 Skills for Success

I’ve been creating websites professionally for nearly 15 years, and honestly, it’s never been easier to build a site. For authors that are going the DIY route that’s fantastic news, because you absolutely need a site, and you need it now.  And my best recommendation is to go with a WordPress site. My previous posts… [Read More]

DIY author WordPress site tech basics by Tyler Doornbos for BookWorks.com

I’ve been creating websites professionally for nearly 15 years, and honestly, it’s never been easier to build a site. For authors that are going the DIY route that’s fantastic news, because you absolutely need a site, and you need it now.  And my best recommendation is to go with a WordPress site.

My previous posts introduced the elements that make up a successful author website and provided BookWorks readers with hand-selected resources to help you understand and even build your own site. [Catch up on Part One, Part Two and Part Three, if you missed them.]

One of the elements I recommended was WordPress. As the website system that powers about ⅓ of the web, WordPress is the easiest, most scalable system that you can use when going the DIY route. It’s perfect for everything from a single page introduction site to a full ecommerce machine. In short, it’s the best way for anyone to get into a professional-quality site.

DIY WordPress Site Demo Series

In this new series of posts, I’ll be walking you through how to leverage WordPress, step-by-step, to create that ultimate author website. This first post deals the 5 key skills that you’ll need to set up and manage your new WordPress site.

Another thing that’s a little different this time around—instead of long, drawn out tutorials to scroll through, I’ve recorded short videos that visually walk you through the key skills laid out in this post.

After you watch, please remember to leave comments and tips for your fellow authors in the comments below! We’re all in this together! Oh, and let us know if you liked the new video approach in this post. If you do, we’ll surely create more!

Skill #1: Understanding Hosting and Domains

Web hosting and domains always seem to trip up the authors that I speak with? The video below will clarify what they are, and what you need to get your author site going—as well as what you can expect to pay for these crucial services.

Skill #2: Installing WordPress (Or Having Your Host Do It For You!)

Once you have your hosting and domain, you will need to get WordPress on it. Without WordPress, you don't have a site, just a piece of a computer in some server farm. Installing WordPress is the first thing to do. Thankfully, with one-click installs at most hosts, getting WP running is a snap.

Skill #3: The Right Theme ( and What To Do When You Find It)

The theme is the code that tells your site how to look and behave. Without a good theme, your site will just be basic WordPress pre-installed nastiness, and that is NOT good for your brand. Here, we walk through the basics of themes, where to get them, what to pay and how to install them on your site. Cue the video:

Skill #4: Plugins are Everything

Plugins are community-contributed add-ons that can make your WordPress site do nearly anything. Want a calendar. Easy. Ecommerce site? Done. Everything is possible with WP plugins, and the video below shows you how to make them work for your site, where to get them and what to do when you find the right one.

[Note: Tune in next time for more on must-have plugins and how to properly deploy them on your WordPress site.]

Skill #5: Creating and Publishing Content

Once you have your WordPress site set up, it's time to add your voice! Creating content and getting it live on the web can be daunting—but with a little guidance, you'll be on you way.


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6 thoughts on “DIY Author WordPress Sites: 5 Skills for Success”

  1. Freddy says:

    Hi Tyler, in your opinion when starting a new wordpress site what are the first most important plugins you would install right from the get go?

    1. Freddy — thanks for the question! I think that for me Yoast SEO, Wordfence (or other security plugin), Akismet (spam is a pain), and a page builder like Elementor are non-negotiable.

      My next post in the series will be a list of the best plugins for authors sites, including these, and a handful more.

  2. Geri Rhodes says:

    I think I paid for Word Press Premium and a domain http://www.ralphfloresbooks.com without first getting a host. Is the only advantage of getting a host now that I’d have someone to ask questions as I’m doing now or troubleshoot?

    1. Hi Geri! WordPress Premium is great for a simple site, and they do have support available. Really, self-hosted WordPress will give you a few more options for building your site. If you are happy with how your site has come out on WP Premium — stick with it!

      If you need extra assistance, many web companies offer packages for a reasonable monthly fee that can provide support and updates for you site, no matter where it’s hosted. Good luck!

  3. Olivia Davis says:

    I loved how you explained the step by step process on how to set-up wordpress website using short videos. I am just wondering though what wordpress plugins will you recommend? Thanks

    1. Hi Olivia, You will see a couple of the essential plugins Tyler recommends in an earlier response to a question/comment on this thread. Stay tuned for the next post in this series that will cover the topic of plugins in more detail. Thank you for your comment!

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