A gripping psychological read with characters
that reach out and grab you. A real page turner.
bestselling author of The Wedding Party
and other novels
touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, fear, hatred,
and grief... Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological
thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters.
There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose
of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle
reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with
the scene-painting narrative, you’ll feel like you’re
on the beach witnessing the unfolding action.
recommended to readers who enjoy a great mystery!
Reader’s Choice Book Reviews
(5 Star Rating)
Simple website generation using website builders (Part 1)
While this article will be of particular interest to
anyone with a business or something to sell, it is particularly relevant
to authors. No pro-active author should miss the opportunity of having
some form of web presence today, and your own website has to be the kernel
of any other online presence. It is good to raise your profile on other
websites, but it is essential to be able to link these to your own website:
it is from there you can sell. Making yourself known on other websites
without linking to your own website is to put the cart before the horse:
every online article (or 'tweet') that misses this opportunity is a wasted
opportunity (or 'squawk'); only on your own website can you say precisely
what you want, in your own way, and with appropriate
all very well, you might say, but how do I get a website without it costing
me a fortune? That is the very question I hope to answer in this article.
Obviously you will not bother to read on if you already have the skills
needed to create a website, but for the many who do not, I hope to show
you all is not lost—and that you don't need to have deep pockets
(or purse)—or take a degree in web design!
The expensive and time-consuming option: use a website
If you are not prepared to put in any effort, then you
must obviously be prepared to pay for someone else's effort. (And if you
are an author, that's all taken from your hard-earned—and generally
meagre—profits.) It might seem like the easy solution to just get
a web designer to do it all for you, but consider the facts. You have
to provide him with all the text needed on the site, so you will end up
typing it anyway. So why not type it directly into the application which
will produce it as a web page? Then there is the questions of style, layout,
etc. You need to tell the web designer all that. Then what about updates?
It is no use having a stagnant website or no one will ever come back more
than once or twice, You need to keep it up-to-date and active in order
to get people to return. So it's not at all like getting a sign painted
or a brochure printed. This is hands-on stuff, and if the hands aren't
yours it is going to cost you. At best, you will have to be taught enough
to be able to update the site initially created by your web designer—or
else you keep on paying him to do that for you, and suffer the inevitable
delays waiting for him to get around to it and then you approving it.
There are better—and much cheaper—ways. (It could even be
The cheap and easy option: use a 'website builder'
You may not have heard of website builders,
but this is definitely the cost-effective solution for someone without
website design experience who otherwise considering themselves 'computer-literate'.
Website builders are websites which offer you a choice of easy templates
and the means of typing in text and inserting pictures much as you might
do in your favourite word processor program.
If you can
use Microsoft Word then you will be able to use your preferred website
builder: but do try more than one out to see which one seems the most
intuitive to you. That's a much more sensible approach than picking one
at random, putting in a lot of creative work, and then getting stuck—or
wishing you'd made a better choice. Website builders will meet most amateur's
needs and have the great advantage of providing you with a really professional
appearance: better than you could probably achieve after months—or
even years—of gaining experience in raw website design.
I used one here? Actually, the answer is 'no', but it was not for the
want of trying. Although I am a 'webmaster' by definition—I designed
and produce a travel website called synergise.com—I could not quite
achieve everything I wanted with the various website builders I tried
out: but that's not to say you won't be able to. My experience on raw
website design led me to having some very demanding requirements and that
is why I did not use a website builder for this website. (I will be writing
a separate article about how I achieve some of the effects on this website
for the benefit of anyone creating their own website from scratch. I wanted
to create variable content 'on-the-fly': such as the random review quotes
which vary each time someone enters the page. )
you'd be surprised at how tricky it can be to get a webpage to look like
a printed page—even the paragraph indents I'm using here, for example.
It's not difficult, but you need to know the right tricks. Check out average
website text paragraphs—including elsewhere on this website—and
you'll see spaced paragraphs: because they are much more straightforward
to achieve. That's not to say you cannot apply some of these tricks within
website builders: it is just a case of what are their limitations? (Part
2 of this article tells you about some of the limitations I discovered.)
Plan your requirements first
Before you launch forth with a website builder, firstly
sit down and very carefully plan all your requirements. Here
are some of the built-in features many have on offer:
These allow you to choose a layout and appearance that appeals to
you. Often you can even tailor these to change colours, etc.
These offer you a choice of copyright-free images you can use. It
is very important to ensure any images you use are your own or that
you are permitted to use them in your particular circumstances. (I
once used an image from another website I was recommending in the
belief I had their go-ahead and it was theirs; a couple of years later
I paid a very high price for the mistake of infringing someone
else's copyright. I am much more careful now!) Even if they don't
provide this, there are websites such as iStockphoto.com
which allow you to buy images very cheaply: providing you
also include the required copyright statement somewhere.
This allows you to chose where you want your text and graphic elements
to appear on the page and to move them around.
elements. These usually include most of the following
additional features: pictures, videos, music, audio, documents, maps,
photo galleries, blogging, slide shows, forums, RSS feeds (Really
Simple Syndication). So, you can see how professional your site can
look if you use a website builder.
be put off if they do not include something which is readily available
elsewhere, such as blogging facilities. Most of the latter can be styled
to look very much like your website in any case and there are benefits
from using a purpose-build blogger (ie it gives you free exposure on that
blogging site). Do be sure all the basic facilities you ever expect to
use are available, however, because you will seriously regret putting
time-and-effort into a system that does not meet your eventual needs.
Imagine starting over to achieve them before you dismiss this lightly!
So what website builders are there to choose from?
The simple answer is: many! Google "website
builders free" and you will see over 12 million entries! So I'll
concentrate on some of the best known. I will provide you with the links
so you can visit their websites and mesmerise yourself with their possibilities—and
marvel at the low cost involved! They all have their pros and cons, but
the end result looks much the same for most of them: a professional-looking
website. (Most of them are based in America but don't worry about that
folks: the net is a 'global village', after all!)
the most important thing to look out for is the ability to try them out
for free and see the results online. Try out a pilot-scheme which involves
testing all the effects and requirements you have in mind: to make sure
they can achieve everything you want. There may be some bitter surprises
in store otherwise. (For example. I almost settled on one of these in
the belief it would be perfect, only to later discover it could not cope
with long articles like this. Since this was an essential requirement
for me, that particular web builder was out—even though it was great
in practically every other respect!
are some of the website builders I suggest you investigate.
One of the biggest and most visited sites on the web. Look at
their 'WebsiteTonight' offering, where the name implies it is quick
and simple to create your site. According to price, this offers
5-page, 10-page and 999-page websites and over 1,500 templates (ie
'appearances') to choose from. (Personally I found a number of things
I didn't like. Most significantly, this was the way they force you
to buy and associate a domain name with your account right from
the start if you want to see your test site online. This trick is
clearly designed to discourage you from moving elsewhere since you
then have the hassle of moving the domain name with you.)
Hundreds of pre-designed websites for you to alter to your needs—or
create from scratch. Lots of video examples. Can get a bit complex
because of 'layers', but has extensive help. Things might just go
a bit pear-shaped, as well, if your layers are not quite right.
Only the technically proficient should consider this option.
2,000 templates. 250,000 free images. Try it out.
Creating text and other objects is rather similar to using Microsoft
Word. Try it out. 300+ templates.
Advertising-free website generator with 70+ templates.
Dazzling 'Flash' website creation. But do you want Flash? (See
Part 2 of this article series for more on this.)
Another 'Flash' based website creation tool that is very intuitive.
But, once again, do you want Flash? (See Part 2 of this article
series for more information on this great builder—and
why I did not choose it.)
Everything you need for a complete business or personal website
for a small monthly fee. You can attach your own domain or even
have a '.co.uk' one for free in the UK. Take their website tour
video to discover more. Whether you want an easy site, or to dig
deep and complex, there seem to be options here to suit.
of these website builders let you create a free website. If you only need
four or five pages then it might be they can provide all your needs absolutely
free. Many, however, will require you to pay a nominal sum to create bigger
websites and that is fine: once you have proven they can achieve everything
Buy a domain name
When you have your site up-and-running, and before
you go public, I strongly suggest you buy a domain name and get that assigned
to your website. So what is a domain name? Basically, it is an easy-to-remember
shortcut to what would otherwise be a meaningless string of numbers called
an 'Internet Protocol Address' (Or 'IP Address'), rather like a telephone
number with full-stops (periods) embedded within it. This tells a person's
browser where to find you.
you need to pick a name that is available. Be warned, most of the ones
you think up have already been used. Google something like "buy
domain names cheap" to find a site that will allow you to explore
here for an example.)
If you use
a website designer to create your site, ask them to do this tricky bit
for you. It's easy to buy a domain name, but a little trickier to get
it pointing to where you want. It should not be too expensive because
even the sought-after '.com' domain names are relatively cheap. Ensure
you are happy about your test-bed website before you assign a domain name
to it, though, for it can be quite a pain to make the domain name point
elsewhere. (See also my separate article offering tips on choosing domain
with this? Because a domain name
such as: 'yourname.com', 'yourname.info', 'yourname.co.uk', shows you
mean business and are professional. It is also much more flexible in the
longer-term. If you use a domain name based upon your website host or
website builder, which would be something like: 'yourname.anotherwebsitename.com',
then what happens if you want to part company with 'anotherwebsitename.com'?
The answer is that you then have an entirely different web address and
all the people who once knew where to find you no longer can.Even worse,
if you have made good ground in search engines, all that goodness is lost
as well. You become an orphan on the worldwide web! If you have established
your own domain name then this can be pointer at your new host or builder
and all will be well in the virtual world.
A possible downside of a website builder
Once you cast your lot with a website builder, your
website is just as sound as they are! In other words, if they go out of
business then so do you. This is not the case if you have your own website
built from scratch for you should have a separate copy of it and if your
web host goes out of business, you can simply upload it to a new web host.
The obvious security policy here is to make sure you go for one of the
biggest names of website builder. All those mentioned above are pretty
I hope this has given you new hope that it is possible
to generate your own website without taking a university degree on website
design or employing an expensive website designer.
Part 2 of this article series to discover some of my findings and preferences
when sampling any of the above website builders. This will show you that
when it comes to ease of operation they vary immensely. In most cases
you can try them out for free, and I strongly encourage you to do just
that and come to your own conclusions. I found some slow, some less than
intuitive, some difficult. There are also limitations if you want to do
any clever stuff. If your needs are modest, however, and a few simple
pages are all you require, probably most of the above can do the job.
But do read Part 2 if you want the low-down on the ones I tried out—and
maybe save yourself days of frustration with the wrong one!
other articles from the Articles index page which
should already be open. They will all open in this window.
If you feel I've saved you some serious money through the
advice given in this article, there's a great way to say "thanks":
just buy my one of my books! If you do, please accept my
grateful thanks; I hope you enjoy it. If you do enjoy my book or
have success creating your own website with a website builder after
reading this article, why not tell me about it on the forum? (If
you built a site, this will also give it some free publicity at
the same time.)