This is the process you will need to get your writer’s platform up and running.
Your platform is your brand – something that separates you from all the other writers’ noise and allows readers to find your signal. Your brand can be your real name, or a pen name, or any other variation you like.
Your brand name translates into your internet domain name, and your domain name becomes your website and your email address. There are a ton of articles written about building your brand, so for now I will not add that information to this article. Here are two articles on Personal Branding, one from NIcolas Cole and another one by Geraint Clarke.
What I will focus on in this article is telling you how to begin building your writer’s platform.
By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be familiar with the basic setup and on your way to configuring that setup.
Why GoDaddy and G Suite
Before I go into the step-by-step guide, I want to explain why I recommend using GoDaddy to register your domain and Managed WordPress and G Suite for your email. I have used GoDaddy services for over 15 years and have never had a bad experience with customer support. I believe GoDaddy’s prices are fair. I began using the free version of GSuite when it first was available and have since upgraded to the paid version, which at $6 per month for a single reliable email address, is great. It’s a familiar interface we all know how to use and GSuite has a well- supported infrastructure. I have tested several other domain registrar and hosting companies, but will continue to use both GoDaddy and GSuite for some time to come.
Setting Up Your Domain Name and Managed WordPress on GoDaddy
Here are the benefits of the Managed WordPress Basic service: it is simple to set up.The price is commensurate with what a beginner should start with. When you’re more advanced, there are options to upgrade as you require additional resources.
While there are free alternatives you have less control with free services. It’s well worth the $100 to purchase a Managed WordPress beginner site and save yourself the time and hassle, which comes with a free domain as of this writing. Making investments in yourself as a serious writer positions you to be successful.
During the setup process you can use a current email and change to your domain-based email later if you want to have one email where all notifications come to.
Picking Your Domain name
As a writer, your name is your brand. Your domain name is how your brand will be viewed on the internet. If you are in the business of writing for the long haul, buying your name is an important investment you should make in yourself.
Picking your domain can be tricky. If you have a unique first and last name, that can be easy. If on the hand you have a common first and last name, then you may need to consider adding either a middle initial or name, or a word like “writer” or “writes” to the end or beginning of your name. Choosing a pen name if you are beginning is another option. No matter if real or made up, using your name is the golden rule – something your readers will associate with your writing and brand.
There are a few possibilities for selecting domain names. I suggest typing any ideas you have for your domain into a browser and see if they go somewhere. If they go to a live website, pick another one. If they fail or go to a domain for sale page, consider buying the domain if it’s a match for your name. Domains range from $3,000 to $10,000 and even higher for business-related domains. You never know until you check. You may get lucky and get one at a lower price. Not purchasing your name leaves the name available for others, including domain investors.
If you need to buy your domain from an owner, my recommendation is to use Escrow.com for the purchase to protect your purchase. There are many scammers in any online transaction. I have used Escrow.com for my domain transitions. Because Escrow.com holds onto the funds while the goods are being exchanged, it protects both you and the seller. You get the chance to inspect the merchandise before you release the funds to the seller.
Registering Your Domain Name
If the domain you want is available, go to GoDaddy.com and get the Managed WordPress Basic for 1 to 3 years. During the checkout process you will also have the option to get a free domain for the same equal length of time that you sign up for the Managed WordPress. This option does not include a domain you are buying from an existing party. This means that once you’ve picked your domain, using GoDaddy means you get it for free.
During the check-out process GoDaddy will offer Microsoft 365 Essential email free for one year, then $5.99 per month. You don’t need this for your Writer’s Platform – you can remove this item from your cart before checking out.
Now you are ready to check out with GoDaddy. Once you complete your purchase, you will have completed steps one and two: your domain name and the Managed WordPress! Don’t set up the WordPress site yet. We’re going to get your email set up before so you can use the email address during the WordPress installation process.
Setting Up Your Email
Setting up your email is the next step. It’s important now as you will need your email address for both your website installation and your email list service setup and configuration, which are next on the list.
You will need to have access to your domain DNS records on GoDaddy. I recommend having a browser window logged into GoDaddy while you sign up for GSuite services, which will give you all the information you need for the next step at a glance. You will need to both verify ownership of your domain and configure the MX records during the sign-up process.
Go to https://gsuite.google.com/ and click on “Get started.” The current cost for GSuite is $6 per email address per month. Click on this link and you get a 20% discount for the first year.
Once you have the GSuite email address, go to gmail.com, enter your email address and password and you’re off and running on the web.
Now you can email from any mobile or tablet device and use a desktop browser. It is a great way to go. Your email would work the same as Gmail on any mail client or application.
Setting Up Your Website
Ok, let’s go back to your GoDaddy.com account. Go to your products and select WordPress. Selecting set up will walk you through the process of setting up your WordPress website. Select the domain you have registered during your site setup process. Enter your email address, and the rest is simple – especially as a beginner, you can just select most defaults to start with. This process will include a theme and some plugins. Don’t worry too much at this stage, changing the theme and adding plugins is something that will probably require some assistance.
Setting Up Your Email List Service
Sign-up at Convertkit.com for your free email list service. ConvertKit’s service provides an easy-to-use interface, online tutorials, and great support. They offer webinars to help fast track you. Now that you have your email address and can receive email,during the sign-up process you will receive a verification email that you will need to click on to complete the process of getting your account up and running.
Congratulations – You Made It This Far Creating Your Basic Writer’s Platform
You have completed the basic but necessary steps for getting started with your Writer’s Platform. You have a Writers Brand Domain Name with a WordPress Website, your own personal Email Address, and your Email List Service. These tools will help you build on your brand.
If you are beginning your writer’s journey or beginning to get established it is important to complete your spot on the internet for your brand. And that means to be ready with your website when your readers and writers are looking for your brand and where to find you. If someone were to Google your name, your website should be the first entry that shows up.
What should you do next?
Next steps are to customize your Website and add in your email list building landing page or pop up email request.
There are many online tutorials that will help you change and customize your site’s look and feel by changing your theme. Adding Plugins will extend the functionality of your site.
I can help you complete your goal of having a Writer’s Website up and running quickly.
If the whole process seems overwhelming, I can build your website for you, coach you through the next steps or continue customizing your Writer’s Website for you.
Let’s discuss the options. Email me at [email protected]