Q&A: What website platform is best?

Illustration by skvoor • iStockphoto http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=1749888
Illustration by skvoor • iStockphoto

Q: Great blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused…Any ideas? Many thanks!

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A: Hi, Twister — Thanks for leaving this comment on my “How does one train to be a fiction editor?” post. Even though your comment triggered my spam filter, I’ll answer the questions, because they’re good ones.

My number one suggestion for aspiring writers is to read. Read lots. Read books about writing. Read books in your genre. Read books in other genres. The best way to learn great writing is to read great writing. Then write. A lot. Like, continually.

As for your website, I recommend—based on the advice of people who know better than me—that you register your own domain and use self-hosted WordPress to build your site. That’s what I’ve done here. It basically means that you have a your name dot-com, rather than having your name at blogger.com or wordpress.com. The experts can explain all this better than I can:

It is really important for a writer to have the domain that matches their name. This not only makes you easier to find, it gives a professional appearance. If an agent or editor searches your name, they not only want to find you on social media, they want to find you on your own self-hosted site. That shows you’re serious about writing not as a hobby, but as a business.

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