Thursday Workshop: Winning Websites with WordPress

Jan 25, 2022

Hi! Welcome to the pre-workshop to do list for the Storymakers22 Thursday Workshop: Winning Websites with WordPress. I’m excited to meet you and help you with all aspects of creating your author website. In this workshop, we’ll focus on creating a self-hosted WordPress website. If you use another platform (free WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Blogger/Blogspot, etc.), you can still attend and adapt the concepts to your platform.

You don’t have to have an existing website to attend the workshop, but you’ll get a lot more out of it if you have a site and can try the tips live during the class.

Suggested minimum is hosting account, domain name, and WordPress installed. [Don’t be overwhelmed. Keep reading.]

If you already have an author website, you can skip to step 7. Or you may want to skim through all the steps and see if there’s something you need to do.

*Some links on this site are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Setting Up Your Basic WordPress Website

1. Choose a hosting site and create an account.
Hosting sites usually offer domain registration as part of their package. This makes things easier and faster for you. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to get a better domain price somewhere other than your hosting company.

I use or recommend the following hosting companies. Below is a comparison of their basic package with the most important features. Be sure to look at the Compare Plans links because you might find the next step up is a better option for you.

FYI: I use the Dreamhost VPS plan because I run multiple websites and it loads faster. I’ve set up sites for clients on the other two. I think you’d do well using any of them.

2. Choose a domain name and register it.
If you don’t already have a domain name, register a domain/URL. Example: Your domain name should be the name printed on the front of your books. There are many places to do this. I recommend registering through your hosting site because this makes it easier for you.


3. Install WordPress.
All three of the recommended hosting sites have a 1-click easy install WordPress option. Links to step-by-step instructions are below. TIP: Do NOT use admin, yoursitename, yourname, or any variations of those as part of your WordPress log-in. (If you need to change your log-in name, watch the Winning Websites with WordPress course for instructions on how to fix it. (See free coupon code in step 8.)

Installing WordPress on DreamHost

Installing WordPress on BlueHost

Installing WordPress on HostGator

If you use a different host, google: “How to install WordPress to [hosting company] website”


 4. Add Security to Your Site
All three of my hosting recommendations have freee SSL/TLS Certification. This gives you the https prefix for your URL. It helps keep information secure, lets visitors know your site is trustworthy, and increases your SEO.

Enable SSL to WordPress on DreamHost (I use the free Let’s Encrypt version)

Enable SSL to WordPress on BlueHost

Enable SSL to WordPress on HostGator

If you use a different host, google: “How to enable SSL to WordPress on [hosting company]”


5. Pick a theme.
Any WordPress theme is fine as they all will allow you to create an author website. If you already have a theme you like, go ahead and install it. If not, just pick the free theme that is closest to what you want in fonts, colors, and functionality. (All these can be changed later.)

Here is an example of a simple author website:
It uses the Tweak Me 2 theme which has tons of functionality and versatility. And it works well with the free Novelist plugin that helps you organize your books and series.

You can also look at websites by other authors who write in your genre. Make a note of their URL and what you like about it. You can find out if it’s a WordPress theme and the name of the theme and some of their plugins by pasting the URL in WordPress Theme Detector.

During the class we can take a look at those and I’ll help you find a theme that will create what you want as inexpensively as possible.  

6. Add some stuff.
If you know how to add images, pages, posts, menus… go ahead and do it. If you don’t know how, create the images and write the text for them as indicated below and we’ll go through this process in the workshop.

About Page Example

    Headshot of you, large
    Information about you
    Links to your social media
    Email contact address

Book Page Example

    Book cover image, large.
    Teaser/description (like what you’d put on Amazon)
    URL links to buy pages


7. Fill out the Google form. (Everyone needs  to  do this.)
If you haven’t already done it, fill out the Google form here:
It will help me personalize the class and concentrate on things that are most important to you.


8. If you’re feeling overwhelmed…
I have two short pre-workshop classes* you can view for free:

    Internet Basics: Author Edition. If you’re brand new to the internet and websites, this is a 12-minute video that reviews basic terminology in simple terms, with downloadable PDF worksheets.
    Winning Websites with WordPress. This is a 30-minute video that briefly covers the basics of Why WordPress; Urgent Security Check; Dashboard Basics and Navigation; Posts vs Pages; Themes & Plugins. I’ve created a coupon code that will get you this course free, valid through 5/31/22. Coupon Code: STORYMAKERS
*These are older classes that I’m in the process of updating, but for now it’s the best way to give you basic information that will help you prepare for the workshop.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at