10 Free Tools to Create a Rich, Interactive Writer's Website or Blog
Melinda T. Falgoust
So, you’ve written the Great American Novel. That’s the easy part. The real work comes after you’ve typed “The End”.
The end, as any writer worth her salt knows, is truly just the beginning. Once you’ve launched your baby out into the shark-infested sea of tomes, it needs some marketing to help it stay afloat…and there’s a boatload of free (and nearly free) tools available to the self-motivated writer who is ready to get behind her baby and paddle.
These days, every author should have a website. There are several options available out there for the budget-savvy writer. Don’t know HTML? No problem. This site was built using Doodlekit, a free website builder and webhosting service. With a variety of pre-fabricated templates and easy-to-use tools, users of Microsoft Word will find this site easy to use as many of the page building buttons mimic those used in Word.
2. Word Press
If blogging is your primary focus, then Word Press is your go-to site. There are plenty of templates and additional plug-ins which will get you up and running in just a few short hours.
3. Stock Xchng
All texted up and nothing to wear? Dress up your website or blog with the beautiful and arresting images available for free from Stock Xchng, now owned by Gettys Images, a well-known name in stock photography.
Find even more stock photos, over 200 million to be precise, to beautify your site.
The SnackTools site has plenty to offer the author who wants a content-rich site…and they’re free. Want to whet your readers’ appetites for your work? Create a bookshelf full of realistic, virtual “books” that visitors can thumb through with the FlipSnack widget option. Develop a podcast to share with viewers with PodSnack. Do you want to take a survey? There’s a snack for that.
6. MailChimp: Email Marketing and Email List Manager
Keep in touch with your readers. MailChimp offers an online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. Offers plug-ins for other programs.
7. Convert Files
Easy online conversion tool which converts many file types to usable formats including archive, document, presentation, e-book, drawing, image, ocr, audio, video
8. ProProfs Brain Games
A fabulously easy site to develop a wide variety of games that you can use to familiarize readers with you and your work. Input your desired information and you quickly have custom-made puzzles to educate and entertain.
Fresh, interactive content is what keeps traffic moving to your site. Spice it up with the extremely user-friendly online jigsaw puzzle maker. Upload your own picture, and then access the HTML code to paste into your website.
10. The Ultimate Word Search Maker
What happens if your web visitors don’t have access to a printer? Place your puzzle content where visitors can play right on their screens. Create lively online word searches with your data and obtain HTML code to embed a point-and-click puzzle right on your site.
Windows Movie Maker
Even as writers, it is important to remember that today’s society is a visual one. To that end, if you are adept at creating a professional video presentation, you might want to create a trailer for your book – in effect, a mini-movie preview of what readers might envision while reading your book. Installed on most PCs, Windows Movie Maker is a free option for creating your trailer. It has its quirks, but many of these can be worked around. The trailer for “The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold” was created using WMM.
All of these tools are free. Some may ask for an unobtrusive link back to their site. A few have ads associated with free versions, but many offer reasonably priced upgrades which will remove ads and provide additional functionality.