My apologies if this is in the wrong section.
I’m near completion of my first novel and I’m now thinking about setting up a website to help promote it if I succeed in finding an agent and publisher. Being a Mac user I’m considering using Mobile Me for the site as well as for blogging. Have any Scrivener users looked into this? What were your experiences? What would you recommend other than Mobile Me? I’d be aiming at a U.S. readership initially, then hope to extend it to the U.K. and further afield.
My apologies if this is in the wrong section.
You may host a web site on MobileMe, but you may not want to use its directory address, i.e. homepage.me.com/mynovel/ which is long and awkward. Instead, you may buy a domain name (from a provider like 1&1) and then tell me.com to “point” to that domain.
It sounds odd, but you store the files on your account at MobileMe, and the pointer calls the domain name from elsewhere. MobileMe provides clear setup instructions in the Help section of your account.
For example, see dana-hand.com. All of those files actually reside on MobileMe.
It’s a better deal than it used to be. Back when it was still .mac, it wasn’t really worth the money—you could get everything they were offering for cheaper from other vendors, but there are definitely some advantages to MobileMe now, especially if you work on more than one computer on a regular basis. You might want to make sure you can run your own blog software on your MM webpage though. I’ve heard their blogging solution isn’t so hot.
Whatever you do, definitely take druid’s advice. The default URL doesn’t look very professional. URLs are cheap these days.
The disadvantage to the blogging solution (using iWeb) is that you can’t add posts from anywhere except the mac with your local copy of your iWeb website. You basically do an update to the site every time you post a new blog entry (but it’s easy to do, and it only uploads the new/changed pages). So you have to sit down at your mac, logged into your account to update your blog from there. Also, you MUST back up your local copy of the website. If anything happens to your computer, you can’t just download your current website and pick up where you left off… you’d have to rebuild it and copy and paste the comments to your blog entries to restore it that way. A friend had to do this when she failed to notice her network-based Time Machine backup was not being updated for months. Then her computer died… don’t let it happen to you!
If you do go the MobileMe route, look into RapidWeaver if you find iWeb restrictive. It has a lot more flexibility, and is supposed to be compatible with mobileme.
On the plus-side, if you have an iphone/ipod touch/ipad/other Macs, mobile me can keep all of your calendars & contacts in sync over the internet. It happens within a matter of seconds when you add or update a contact or calendar appointment, and there’s a me.com website you can go to for accessing and updating that information. If you ever lose one of your devices, the information can easily be added to the one you buy to replace it. Mobile me also syncs a lot of other information between Mac computers, though some of the synced data is kind of pointless. It however does not sync your documents, but you do get a good deal of storage for your iDisk, which works like a really slow external disk.
I’d recommend visiting the Apple website to see what it does and evaluate if all of the features it provides is worth the $100/year. Otherwise, if all you really want is the blog/website, there are other services (search for blogger/type pad comparisons) for having a personal blog for very little money. Also look at reviews of the latest MobileMe to see a balanced view on the service.
And one final note: look hard at the software through which you will be maintaining your website. A lot of people grow out of iWeb almost from the moment they start using it.
More On The Plus Side:
I have a friend who was recently hit over the head and robbed coming home from a night out. As he is not generally the type to stay out all night without calling, his wife got worried when she didn’t hear from him at midnight. By 1AM, she was frantic — he wasn’t returning calls or answering texts.
Clever woman that she is, she opened her Mac and used the Find My iPhone feature for his phone, and it pinpointed a location a few blocks away (his iPhone had been in a buttoned, cargo-pants pocket, and the thief missed it.) She got in the car, drove the few blocks, and found her husband sitting on the curb, disoriented from the blow to the head (and, probably a little, the night out). Concussed, bloody as hell – head wounds + alcohol = blood – but okay, all things considered.
To say that Find My iPhone saved his life is an overstatement, but it certainly was a godsend for them on that night. Myself, I’ve used it to locate a phone I left in a rental truck (it was in the pocket of the guy who cleaned out the truck!) – and use it once a week to figure out where the hell in the house I left it.
In my judgement, Find My iPhone alone justifies the cost of MobileMe.
P.S. Another Lesson From This Tale: unless you have a really compelling reason not to, it’s a good idea to let your significant other know the password to your email account.
I can’t comment on MobileMe as I’ve never used it, but I have used wordpress.com for promoting two books my company has published. I find it easy to use, and it is pretty inexpensive to have your own domain name. I think I spent about $50 or so for a year of hosting and for a unique domain. Wordpress is easy to use and provides a number of nice templates.
If all you really need is a blog and a few pages, I couldn’t agree more. Wordpress is a great, easy to use yet powerful system, and it lets you create “static” pages just as easily as blog entries. Do a Google search for “wordpress hosting” and you’ll find a lot of options in the USD $3–$5/mo range, many with other perks as well, such as free domain for life; your own IMAP e-mail; and so on. MobileMe is great if you have lots of Apple equipment and want to keep them all working together, no doubt about that, but its webhosting and e-mail services are at-or-under what you get with the rest of the industry and for twice the cost in most cases. I wouldn’t recommend MobileMe for those services, unless you need/really want the other stuff it provides.
There are also many free blog services available, though many of those won’t give you your own URL. That may or may not be important to you.
I’d like to suggest also SandVox Pro from Karelia. karelia.com/
Especially good for writers who have strong design ideas but are not code-hounds. You write in Rich Text (and thus may use Scrivener for drafting entries and arranging pages) and work in a CSS established by your chosen template (over 50 available). The Pro version allows you to override templates and also write pages of raw HTML.
For background on the company, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karelia_Software,_LLC
I’ll second the recommendation for Sandvox as a web site building tool. It’s very easy. I use it to maintain a web site for a nonprofit organization I volunteer with. Here’s the web site:
But I will reiterate, it’s even easier to use wordpress. If I had discovered wordpress before building the site in Sandvox, I’d be using it instead. Still, if you want more control, Sandvox works very well.