Top 5 Struggles Of Making A Website
I have talked about reading and writing multiple times. At this point, you probably know that I am quite literally obsessed with books. I won’t talk about how I always loved reading but didn’t read much until I was an adult. If you want that story, you can read it here. I am, however, going to tell you what I am currently doing with this newly enhanced obsession:
I am running my own website all about books!
That’s right, the girl who struggles to just transfer photos from her iPhone to her laptop now has her own website. And a functioning one at that! For years, I have followed the website/YouTube channel for Epic Reads almost religiously. For those who don’t know, Epic Reads is all about YA books; they promote books, talk about them, make quizzes, and fun lists, and I love it. While following all of their social media accounts, I have often wondered “how does one work for Epic Reads?” Well, here’s the thing: they’re all volunteers and work for HarperCollins Publishing. To work for them, I’d have to get a job at HarperCollins, which I’m vastly underqualified for.
So, I decided to start my own website and team!
I reached out to a handful of friends, asking if they’d be interested in writing reviews and other book-related articles, and now there are nine of us doing just that. It has been a lot of work, but I have genuinely loved every second of it. Here are five of the biggest struggles I’ve come across. I’m interested in seeing if anyone else feels the same or if anyone has any suggestions, so let me know below!
1. Coming Up With A Name
I am absolutely horrendous at coming up with names and titles. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, whether it’s coming up with titles for school papers or names for pets. I just can’t do it. This is also my biggest struggle when writing fiction: I can’t name people or places. At one point I started asking for suggestions from friends and had a list of about 20 name ideas. This wasn’t any easier; I am also very indecisive. In the end, I went with the original suggestion from my good friend Sydney (shout out!), and Functionally Fictional was born.
2. Picking A Website Host
There are so many options out there now: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etc. If you’re anything like me, and you don’t understand all the technical lingo, this can truly be a nightmare. I don’t know how much bandwidth I need. I don’t even understand what that really means! I decided on WordPress because I had a little bit of experience with it and I liked the options. You can really do a lot for free on there, but there are also differently priced packages based on what you want to do.
3. Designing The Layout
Okay, this was actually really fun. The struggle was deciding how I wanted it to look. With my website being primarily about book reviews, I didn’t know if I should put them all together or put them in a genre drop down menu. But then I asked, what if it falls under more than one genre? Do I give each team member a page with their reviews? There were so many options. The good thing about WordPress is once you figure out how to customize the layout, it’s pretty easy to do. Functionally Fictional has been up and running for almost two months now, and I just changed a bit of the design last week. I can continue to change it as we grow in the future.
4. Social Media
While there is a team doing reviews, I am the one who reads through the reviews and edits them, puts them on the website, and runs all social media accounts. I keep track of everything with a spreadsheet, but it’s a lot of work. Not that I mind! But there’s a struggle with how much to share. Do I share every post? Do I Tweet every day? How many hashtags are too many hashtags? I don’t want to be obnoxious, but I also want word to spread about the website.
5. Scheduling Posts
This is the biggest struggle I am currently facing. I want a consistent schedule, with specific types of articles on one day and reviews another. For example, I’ve seen others do “Top Ten Tuesday” posts, where they share their top 10 books or characters in a certain topic or genre. For now, I am posting reviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and other articles or lists on Mondays and Wednesdays, but it isn’t super consistent. I need to change things around, but I don’t want to seem like I’m copying someone else. It’s just a lot to consider and I’m still not sure what to do about it.
The reviews are fairly consistent, so until we figure the rest out, be sure to check out those every Tuesday and Thursday. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram!