My Writing Process (Part 3)

Last time, I walked you through how I set up the companion site for my book. If you followed the same process you have a web site with a bunch of blank pages and a navigation menu linking them all together.

By far what took the longest for me was finding and installing a theme. There are lots of free ones available, or you can pay if you want. Google around and play with some demo themes. When you find one you want, download the zip file from the developer, then navigate to Appearance > Themes on your site. Click “Add New”, then click “Upload Theme”, then upload the zip file and click “Install Now”. Assuming a successful install, you have to “Activate” the theme, and then your web site will be using the new theme. You may have some customization options – that’s beyond the scope of this article, but you should play around, as you really can’t hurt anything.

You will need to go back and add some content to your pages at some point. For the “Buy” link, just put “(coming soon)” as the body content until the book is actually published and available (more on that in a future post). For me, I repurposed some of the content in the book as individual “subpages”. This was so I could schedule a bunch of posts to hit my various social media channels with unique content each time, using HootSuite – I was able to basically line up twice-weekly content that was always unique for a full three months.

One of the cool things about WordPress is that there are a whole bunch of plugins and other ways you can customize to your heart’s content, which creates a ton of flexibility. Personally, I wanted a clean, simple site, so I didn’t need much, but I did install the WPtouch plugin. All you have to do is go to Plugins > Add New and search for the plugin you want. When you find it, click the “Install Now” button, and assuming a successful install, activate the plugin.

WPtouch basically automatically converts your site into a mobile site for smartphone users. There is a paid pro version but the free version works fine for me. There are a number of settings you can play with, but one I highly recommend you change is on the WPtouch > Menus settings page – change “Header Menu” from the default setting (“WordPress Pages”) to the menu you’re using as your main menu for your regular site. That way you get a consistent menu for both, and when you update it, the menu will update in both places.

I’ll write about CreateSpace next time.