Sunday, December 21, 2008

Creating a Website

Laura P. Valtorta

At the 2008 South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference I heard from 457 different agents and publishers that a writer needs a website. She needs it now. And it must be cool, creative, and expressive.

The website should be changeable and interactive, offering the reader insight into the writer's personality. Photos, newsletters, and blogs can be accessible from the home page. The website should be easy for the writer to update.

For years I've had a website and a newsletter, but then AOL dropped their hosting services. For one long week I was in a pickle, testing alternate services, chasing down my domain register, and bothering my programmer friend. Then it all came together.

There are two ways for a lawyer to create a website. I used both of them.

UTILIZE A FRIEND. Beverly Huntsberger, who lives in California, created my main website at Bev is an engineer, a programmer, and photographer. Above all, a fantastic friend. Bev charged me a couple hundred dollars to create the page, and nothing to update it with my second book. I like it because it's bright and graphic.

PURCHASE A WEB SERVICE. After examining the various options, I settled on Yahoo web hosting for, my monthly newsletter. This is the section I changed from AOL to Yahoo. I chose Yahoo because they answered the phone immediately. Their sales number is 866-781-9246. The technical support number is 866-800-8092. The service costs me $11.95 per month. I got the first three months at a discount. Other services might be free.

What I like about Yahoo (besides the yodeling) is that I can change the text and the photos very easily. All I do is log onto Yahoo Web Hosting (using my Yahoo email address and password) and click on “edit.” My newsletter appears. I can edit the text and the photographs, and change the entire layout whenever I want.

The difficult part was moving Tennisphile from AOL to Yahoo. Yahoo will register a domain name for you if you start from scratch. My domain name ( was already registered at I had a username and password for this service, which I had forgotten. I called, and they emailed the information to me. Next I had to switch my web hosting from AOL to Yahoo. For a lawyer, this was tough work.

Now I keep a notebook entitled “Web Hosting,” with phone numbers, usernames, and passwords.

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