Welcome back to the ongoing blog series of branding you and your website! This is the beginning of a series of blog posts about branding an idea, whether it be: novel, comic book, on-line comic or gardening blog and getting a website either through WordPress, WordPress.com or any other platform like Squarespace.com
For those who missed Part Zero and One.
Branding your website!
You have the name of the website for your brand and it’s not taken so now what?
This is where things can get a little inside baseball. You have two options:
1. Self host through a hosting company like Site5.com, Godaddy.com or a slew of others.
2. Go through a third party like WordPress.com or Squarespace.com or Wix.com or Blogger.
The reason I said not to buy a domain name is because you can get your domain name from just about anywhere.
Before purchasing a domain name, you should be scrutinized each hosting company to see the following:
1. Their up time.
2. Their fees.
3. Their tech support.
This is also where you need to decide if you like to get your hands dirty or let someone else do all the heavy lifting.
Personally, I have four self hosted domains that I have to re-register every two to three years and one email address per domain.
It’s low maintenance unless the host has a bad day and then it becomes me and thousands of millions are having a bad day.
It’s perfectly fine to go with WordPress.com or Sqaurespace.com or Wix.com for your website needs.
I’ll say it again: It’s perfectly fine.
In fact I encourage it because they do all the heavy lifting and it’s one stop shopping when the bills come in to re-up your domain name.
Going this route also kneecaps a few things like adding plug-ins or themes and even controlling your SEO but if you don’t want to worry about any of that techno babble then I whole heartily recommend a third party and pay them annual fee to get a domain name.
User Interface and Dashboards
I’m going to touch on user interface for a moment.
User Interface or UI can either make or break your experience with your hosting provider and your platform.
It’s why companies try to be replicate Apple only to end up with Windows 8.
In the case of your platform, the dashboard is what you’ll be looking at. Is it easy to follow? Is everything spelled out properly?
WordPress.com has a similar dashboard to the self hosted WordPress platform and Squarespace is for the most part mirroring WordPress.com in some aspects so either way you go you’re getting a good dashboard that helps you as a user and doesn’t make you call technical support to find out where things go.
There are hosting services like Blogger, WordPress.com, Wix, that’ll offer free websites so long as you don’t mind their name in the address.
If there’s an annual fee of under $20 to get rid of that host name, guess what? You’re paying them to get rid of their name from your address.
You should also make sure you’re not granting the host permission to use your work in any way. Googling copy write infringement and the host name should help.
The reason I’m harping on domain names is it’s going to be on your business cards, flyers and on your call to action page if you’re an author.
You want a clear and concise domain name.
If you self host the email address that comes with the domain can also serve as a back up, something we’ll be touching on later.
Once you find a website address that’s available then you buy it and host it, it’s time to go to every single social media site and grab a username similar to your brand.
Yes, social media is your friend.
Really. It is. Honest.
If you’re Facebook phobic or have no idea what a tweet or tumblr post is guess what? Yer about to learn. Why?
Your brand is not social media phobic. Why?
Social media is a free soap box. And so long as you advertise your brand right you won’t have any problems.
I’ll say it again: So long as you advertise right, you won’t have any problems.
If you’re advertising the same product every three hours you’re doing no one any good and your small amount of good will with complete strangers just dried up.
Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. Instagram. Pintrest. Google+
Why do this? Because your audience is everywhere and so should your brand . . . at least within reason.
Good real life example: I switched my screenwritinghack user name on LiveJournal to rkbwrites to mirror my rkbwrites.com blog. I pivoted away and refocused my brand so it was consistent.
Consistency is the name of the game.