How To Build a Website and Keep Your Sanity.

A few weeks ago my husband challenged me to build an author website from scratch like JK ROWLING has (:)). I scoffed at first, but the idea grew on me.

I love doing research–about people. Researching things like hosting sites, CSS, cache tools and such is more like watching videos of tooth extraction before going to the dentist. The compatibility of plugins kept me up nights. Every time I opened my admin page I was certain the site was going to crash or worse still . . . LOCK ME OUT!!

I didn’t eat for fear that if I left the computer to itself for 10 minutes it would find a way to be hacked. I called my daughter and husband more times than I like to admit for reassurance. I received an error code 500 or something one day early on and almost gave up the whole thing, but I have my pride. Tons of it. My husband asked if I’d tried rebooting the computer. It worked because in the end I found out the problem wasn’t on my end (whatever that means).

There’s a front and a back to a website. On I just merrily write posts.

Suddenly I was insecure about SECURITY . . . and bots! Malicious bots!

SITE SPEED and FADE-INS for animation made coherent (and patient) conversation with family members close to impossible.

My husband suggested I needed time in the barn or maybe someplace where they do acupuncture or healing prayer, but I ignored him.

Finally one day he announced I was going for a therapeutic massage from the straw bale house guy down the road.

How could I turn it down?

It occurred to me then that I was allowing a stupid machine to rob my sanity. It hasn’t helped that the weather has kept me mostly indoors–by myself. I like being a crazed hermit, but no one else seems quite as pleased with me.

Yet, do I really like being a hermit?

On the massage table I realized I was an ingrate (not a brand new revelation). Seriously,Β  would it really be the worst thing if my site crashed? We probably could call in a professional to look things over. I do back ups (yes, I know what those are). I could just swallow my pride, maybe.

So here’s how not to go insane:

Take deep breaths and remember that having a website is a luxury and supposed to be fun. Yes, fun.

Learning new skills can be scary, but think big picture. There’s a lot more to life than websites. People have even survived crashing their sites. Deep breaths again.

Spending some time with cute animals (and the occasionally funny person) seems like the last thing you have time for, but like all good medicine IT MUST BE DONE.


Simple, right?

So here’s my new AUTHOR WEBSITE. I think I love it, but I’m still afraid to visit the admin and find I’ve crashed.



AND a few other great sites that helped me along the way:


Joanna Penn is like that best friend who actually isn’t competitive because , well, she doesn’t really know you. Her advice is always presented in a friendly and informative way (and she has tons of great posts and interesting guests on her blog).


Yes, the theme for me is that help sites have to be helpful AND easy. They also shouldn’t make you feel incredibly stupid. WP Beginner is one of my other best friends. It’s a one way street: I take, take take. πŸ™‚


(at Elegant Themes) The guys who do the video tutorials have these really calm voices that got me through a few tough days. DIVI guys, I love you!

There you go.

Anyone else try building a website? I’d love to hear how you did (and visit your writer sites so leave a link).



21 responses to “How To Build a Website and Keep Your Sanity.”

  1. Looks good! And once again this post is timely as I’m getting ready to work on my website. I hear you about the stress of venturing into areas where we don’t feel very skilled. I have recently navigated the self-publishing process (something I had never thought I’d do, and likely won’t do again) and am working through a marketing plan (which includes website improvement) leading up to a book launch. It’s all terrifying. I just want to write, preferably in a cave by myself. I suppose that’s not how it works. Sigh.


    • Marketing plan… yes, terrifying. A cave sounds great as long as there’s someone to tend the fire and cook. πŸ™‚ So what turned you against self-publishing? Do tell, Sarah. It’s funny how we put all the stress on ourselves. How-to websites are great but can be really overwhelming.


      • I’m not against self-publishing. I just always preferred the idea of having a publishing house behind my work, just for the credibility factor. I will have two books published this year, one indie and one small press so I guess after that I’ll know for sure which process I prefer. There are advantages (and disadvantages) to both. I’ve just had to develop a lot of previously unexplored skills, and I’m still learning a ton. At least once a day I wonder what ever possessed me to do it.


    • Hahaha! I don’t know if they’re scary for people who aren’t over fifty and afraid of technology. πŸ™‚ I’m a naturally timid person who’s making up for lost time in the bravery department. Whatever doesn’t kill you . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really nice, Adrienne. The site has just the right feel to represent your work, and it’s easy to navigate too.

    I built a website for my editorial service using Weebly rather than WordPress. It was tricky at times, but you’re right, learning how to do it is almost as rewarding as the finished product.

    Good luck with it!


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