the-signs-of-autumn

The Signs of Autumn

Whether you call it fall or autumn, the time of year between September and December is almost magical, or perhaps bewitching. The cooler weather, the crunchy leaves, the colors, the eeriness, and the ultimate joy of wrapping up in a blanket with warm food or drink and a good book or movie. It can bring an immense feeling of nostalgia and joy to those who love the cooler temperatures and beautiful eeriness of fallen leaves and bare trees.

But there’s another sign of fall that is rather subtle, and only really apparent to those who look and listen closely enough. The sounds of writers everywhere getting things set up for National Novel Writing Month in November.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an exciting time for writers and authors. It’s essentially one month to buckle down, turn off the unnecessary distractions (most of the time), and just write. Most writers chose a story for a novel, and some do nonfiction like memoirs or poems. Still others do fanfictions, short story collections, thesis papers, or all sorts of other writing formats. But the main motivation is always the excitement. There’s something thrilling about getting together with a bunch of other writers in the fall. We gather with our coffees and hot chocolates over computer or paper and just write our hearts out.

Autumn is always a magical time of year. From the transition from summer to winter, to getting cozy with a blanket and warm food or drink, to the writer’s excitement that November is coming and with it, a journey into a new realm of writing. These are the things that make fall magical and enthralling.

So I’m curious. What are you’re favorite things about fall? Or if fall isn’t your favorite season, which one is and why? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to Build a Website for Beginners Part 1–The Basics

website, building, beginners,

I’m not exactly the first person most think of when they look for marketing advice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have wisdom to share. I’ve attempted to start one blog, though technically two websites, before this one, so I have some experience in this area. Like me when I first started, you’re probably feeling completely overwhelmed by all the choices out there for website hosting, building, and other technical phrases. So, let’s start with the basics: what type of builders are out there?

Words and Phrases

This is one part that took me a while to figure out. Two really popular buzzwords tossed around in website building are “domain” and “hosting.” These refer to how the website is first configured. “Domain” refers to the domain name of a website, which is just the main url of a website. For example, mine is “maeghonrhoads.com”. Facebook’s domain name is “facebook.com” and so on. Most often, this includes the “www.” that also goes in front of the name of the page. Domain names can be registered and leased through domain sellers like GoDaddy, Register.com, and Name.com.

“Hosting” refers to where your website can be built. Some are hosting and building sites, like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. Others are just hosting sites that you use in conjunction with WordPress (the .org one, not the .com version; I’ll explain the difference below). Hosting sites without builders are ones you have to be careful about because there are so many of them. Some are very widely used like BlueHost, HostGator, and SiteGround. I currently use HostGator for this website.

Another important term to remember is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. This essentially determines how your site will get ranked by Google.

Builders, Which is Better?

In terms of which is better, personal preference is huge. One thing I would recommend is not getting a free host site. Weebly and Wix offer a default free version of their site, though that won’t get as highly rated on Google. Going with their paid version is a much better choice in the long run.

Comparing The Two Kinds

As I mentioned above, there are a lot of options for hosting. However, it comes down to one big factor: do you want to use WordPress or not? Your answer to this question will determine whether you go with a website host and builder or just a hosting site. If you want to use WordPress, you will be using sites like BlueHost, HostGator, Siteground, and others because they support WordPress. WordPress is a nice website builder, though it can take some getting used to and does need regular upkeep for the themes and plugins.

A word of warning: Don’t use wordpress.com to set up your site. WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress that attaches a .wordpress.com at the end of your website. You can upgrade to take that off, but it’s best to just host with a hosting site instead.

If you prefer not using WordPress, you can choose between Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace. Now some bloggers will tell you WordPress is the way to go, but I’ve found that Weebly has a very similar set up to the basic WordPress functions with the added ability to control the html and css codes much more easily. Wix is also very user-friendly for those who aren’t super tech-savvy but still want a lot of control over their website. Squarespace is another good option for those who want control and a professional-looking base template. Keep in mind that Squarespace doesn’t yet have the ability to just host yet (though they are working on that). So if you decide build your website with Squarespace, you will need to buy your domain name with them for now.

I highly encourage you to go out and dig a little deeper into the differences between using WordPress and Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. You can test out Weebly and Wix to see if you like the layout by starting a free account and not launching the website. This way, you can test out the builders to see if you feel comfortable with them before making a final decision. Squarespace also allows you a 14 day free trial to test before you commit to publishing your website. You can also test the basics of WordPress with a free WordPress.com account. This is the only time I would suggest using the free versions of WordPress, Weebly, or Wix.

To Conclude

As I mentioned above, choosing a builder is a largely based on personal preference. I can give these main tips:

  • Don’t go for the free accounts when you publish them, only for when you’re testing whether they’ll work for you.
  • On that note, test out the free versions. It’s best to decide for yourself if something will work rather than taking someone’s word
  • When going with WordPress, make sure to keep the plugins and themes up-to-date and compatible with each other.
  • Be careful to check reviews and performance rates for hosting sites if you chose WordPress. Not all are made equal.

Paying attention to these tips can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. And, once again, it’s all a matter of personal preference which builder you go with. I don’t agree with those who say Weebly or Wix are horrible options because they have a free version. Those builders still have a very large user-base for a reason, and I don’t think this should be overlooked when choosing a website builder. So if you check out the options and decide you like those ones, go for it! After all, it’s up to you to make your site yours, not that of other bloggers.

And that concludes the first part of “How to Build a Website for Beginners.” Next time, I’ll be going over the build basics and what I’ve seen that makes a good website. Until next time, readers!

If you want to get updates, you can follow my blog with Bloglovin.

(PS: There are probably other builders out there, but I am not familiar with them. I would recommend looking up different website builders on top of the ones mentioned above.)