Introducing “Author Website in a Box” (beta)

Introducing "Author Website in a Box" (beta) blog maintenance

For the past couple weeks I have been working on a new project, and I think it's gotten to the point where it's ready for public testing and feedback.

The project has the working title of "Author Website in a Box", and it is intended to provide a complete author website based on WordPress.

The site has everything from a home page to a contact page, about the author page, and even bookshelf pages. I even included dummy content that you can replace, and I installed SEO, security, backup, and other essential plugins.

  • Yoast (an SEO plugin - it helps readers find you in search engines)
  • Novelist (a bookshelf plugin that makes it easy to display your books)
  • All in One WP Security (a firewall plugin that keeps hackers out)
  • Contact Form 7 (the best free contact form plugin)
  • Mailmunch (a great plugin for integrating your mailing list into your site)

The site has a good general design which can be improved upon or customized with a little work. It is built using SiteOrigin's pagebuilder, my preferred tool for building author websites. Almost everyone I know agrees that while it is not the best tool available, it is relatively easy to learn. It's also free, which means I can include a copy for you to use with this site.

I have a version of the site myself (this is what I use to develop the site for you to download) which you can see here: dummy.authorwebsiteinabox.com.

Before I tell you how to install it, I have a few words of warning.

Caveats

  • This project currently requires a fair amount of technical skill to install. You'll need at least some experience with WordPress, or be comfortable with installing and configuring unfamiliar software.
  • Installing AWinaB will erase the existing site. Whatever you have there will be gone forever , so be sure to remember to make a backup first (or better yet, only install this on a fresh WP site).
  • All AWinaB-based sites come with the same username and password for the admin account. You will need to change the password right away so that strangers won't be able to log in to your site. (I also gave myself an admin account, but that is intended strictly for emergencies.)

Installation

Here's how to install it.

First, download the site package for AWinaB.

Second, decide on the site where you want to build the site, then install and activate these two plugins. You will need them to install the site:

Third, go to the "All-in-One WP Migration" menu page on your site, select its import menu, and choose the option to import the the site package you downloaded.

Fourth, when the import process succeeds (this may take a few attempts), you should look at all the pages on your site and compare them to the site I built. If there are any significant differences then there might be a problem (please bring them to my attention).

And that is essentially the entire install process. Your next step is to change the content, add your books, connect your mailing list, but before you can do that you will need to log in using this username and password. Please, for everyone's sake, change the password right away.

  • password: UjHWErnWE47qUxLPV0e8
  • username: new admin

What's next

If and when you install the site  package, I would really appreciate any feedback you can give me. For example:

  • If you can't successfully install the site package, let me know. I'd like to figure out why you had trouble so I can make sure no one else has the same issue.
  • If you think the site is missing pages or features, please tell me what you would like me to add.
  • If you know of another tool/process for installing the site package that makes it easier to install, I absolutely want to hear about it.

Please do send me your thoughts, requests, or suggestions: [email protected]

And of course, if you need help with installation or setup, you can hire me. I can also help you run the site, and I can even host it for you.

I did not start this project to make money; I wanted to give authors a useful tool, and my long term goal is to make AWinaB as easy to use as possible. But not everyone has the same abilities, goals, or skill level, and I am here to help anyone who needs it.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

5 Comments

  1. Widdershins27 June, 2019

    This is bloody brilliant! … I’m nowhere competent enough to get into this at the beta stage but you can be sure I’m sticking around for the alpha version. 😀 … is the final product of beta testing called ‘alpha’ or something else strange and wonderful? 😀

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder27 June, 2019

      thanks!

      Reply
  2. Pam Roller9 August, 2019

    Nate, thank you for this! I’ve been using Wix but am considering going back to WordPress since images in Wix remain blurry for five or six seconds while the site loads. According to Wix, this is normal, but I feel visitors will leave quickly. If I do return to WordPress, this author website will be just what I need.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 August, 2019

      Six seconds of blurriness is not normal, no.

      Glad I could help!

      Reply

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