Friday, May 02, 2008

1. merging onto the information superhighway in an ’87 toyota tercel

This seems like a question that a savvy young-ish person with a blog and no less than five online profiles shouldn’t have to ask, but…how do you get a website? (This is not rhetorical: I’m hoping that you—savvy young-ish Bread and Bread readers—will tell me.)

I mean, like, I know I have to buy a domain name and stuff, but who should I buy it from? And does that same entity host it on their server? Which hosts (is that even the right word?) are cheap but won’t bombard visitors with ads promising a free dinner at Chili’s if they can identify a celebrity senior portrait that is clearly Tom Hanks?

I’ve resisted building a site because I’m lazy and a late adopter, but it looks like the internet is here to stay. And the first step in being a Real Live Professional Writer is having a Real Live Professional website, right?

Okay, arguably the first step is “writing some stuff.” But I’ve toiled at step one long enough to reward my self with a little egocentric url, right?

Unfortunately, is already taken by Cheryl Klein, the children’s book editor who is the bane of my Google news alerts. Cheryl Klein is making waves in the publishing world, appearing on panels right and left. Confusingly, the first words you see on her site are “Talking Books.” I wanted to be the Cheryl Klein who talked books, dammit! But that’s what I get for being a late adopter.

2. call me cheryle

Which leads me to another thing I thought I’d never do, which is wedge a middle initial into my writer name. It always seemed pretentious, and removed from the actual world. Like, do H. Ross Perot’s friends say, “Hey, H. Ross, want to go to Raging Waters this weekend?” (hey, I don’t know what he does in his spare time).

Sometimes the middle name/initial thing makes obvious sense. Jamie writes as Jamie Asae FitzGerald because her middle name alludes to her Japanese heritage, the knowledge of which adds a layer of meaning to some of her poems. And if you have a really common name, like Mary Smith, I can understand why you’d want to be Mary J. Smith or Mary Jezebel Smith or whatever.

But Cheryl Klein isn’t so common that it demands a middle initial, and my middle name is Elizabeth, which signals nothing more than my mom’s obsession with English royalty. (She was alluding to Elizabeth I—I’m all Cate Blanchett, not so much Helen Mirren.) Except now I guess it’s just common enough to make going by it slightly impractical.


  • (which just looks like one of the many weird ways people spell my name at Starbucks)
  • (unwieldy)
  • (kind of second-tier—you never hear about the “dot-net boom”)
  • (I do have a certain nonprofit-ness about me)
  • (ugh, hacky…and what if I decide to give up writing and just post pictures of my cats?)

Man, now I know what straight girls go through when they get married. But at least I don’t have to shell out for a wedding dress.


Claire said...

Hmm. Buying your domain name can be totally separate from your host but doesn't have to be, I think. A lot of people use typepad for their sites... I don't really know what to recommend.

2. Since HS when a friend of mine added my middle initial to my name in a play program because she thought it looked better, I typically use mine.

In your case, I'd use the .org version or come up with a title a la bread and bread. If you went the underscore route, you might as well do

2 underscores seems like way too much. That's just me.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

or my personal favorite

Claire said...

ooh, the kitten is right:

That way you don't have to hit shift mid-typing. is kind of awesome though. :)

Veronica said...

i like cheryl-klein, too, but i think if you use cherylkleinwrites and then you decide to post pictures of your cats you could always title the page cherylkleinwrites: "...about pictures of her cats!"

that would work.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the suggestions, ladies. it is!

Christine said...

to my knowledge, it costs $20 bucks/year to register your own unique domain name. is a useful site that helps you set up and host a website. mini-moo lets you get started and register your domain immediately and it is EASY. FTMA uses fatcow to host (don't let the FTMA site discourage you from fat-cow, by the way. that's just poor design on the part of the trannies)

once you own your domain (ala you can move it to any host anywhere so long as you keep paying your annual $20.

don't use a dot-org unless you are a nonprofit. it's cheating. and you're not a nonprofit. you're more than that.

hope this helps.

thelastnoel said...

I had a years ago, then let go of it. It took more maintenance than I could handle at the time.

Hmmm, maybe you could change your name like C. N. Klein, as in: See incline. LOL. Ur, I think I'm the only one laughing.

Claire said...

hey, I emailed some web host info I came upon to the account you said you don't check that often.

Caroline Wilkinson said...

I use for both my webhosting and my domain name registration. I recommend them.

And I've developed a real fondness for my Internet twin, Caroline Wilkinson, forensic anthropologist, who reconstructs heads. Because of her, an image search of our name produces, well, a whole lot of heads.

Jamie said...

Ask Lee-Roy. He is the expert on this. My domain is through dotster.

I like too, but for the sake of practicality cheryl-klein is probably best.

Cheryl said...

Christine: Having a host called Fat Cow and/or Mini Moo might inspire me to start blogging about dairy products in addition to carbs! I also just discovered that is the web home of the Frequent Travel Marketing Association--I do travel somewhat frequently, so it's good to know there's support out there. (Then I found

Noel: Maybe I should just change my name to Lemony Snicket and be done with it.

CW and J: Thanks--I'll check out Dotster too!

Meehan said... and, in my theoretical academic and literary career (that's theoretical career, not career in academic and literary theoretics...), i scorn the ego initial, but then again there is no google confusion with my name.

b52 said...

All good advice above. I shall now add to the confusion.

I've bought any number of domain names from (FYI: owner is a pro-war right winger - if only I'd known.) I haven't set up websites for all of them, but I own the URLs for that day in the future when....

I have a biz site on It's a free web host that uses very nice templates and a drop-and-drag interface to build a site lickity-split fast. I like it. You can have your URL redirect to your Weebly site, or have Weebly set up your personal domain name (for a fee).

I like Don't bother with .net or any of those other options.

Cheryl said...

Update: I registered with FatCow (it seemed the most user-friendly of the bunch). I'm now the proud owner of my very own "Site under construction" page.

Tracy Lynn said...

Most of those places (I usually use GoDaddy) also have wysiwyg editors, also known as drag and drop, or maybe they are just a tad more complicated. I, right out of the gate and with no programming knowledge, made some pretty nice sites with those.

Veronica said...

i started a blog ( - would you promote me?

Don Cummings said...

I am totally into because you get to use your name. Plus, I never liked .com Makes me feel like I'm selling something, which of course you are, but still... I had the same trouble. is a right wing religious freak in I had to go .net and I've been completely happy.
You buy your domain name from almost anyone... but the host is someone else. The person who designed my site hosts my site for free. However, I wouldn't recc. my person since she is a bit of a grandma and kind of wants to retire.
The fun thing about having a site is you can just send anyone there and you can have a link to your blog, links to your everything else, and of course, resume, etc.

Here's my writer site: check it out.

I WOULD SUGGEST that if YOU can do your own site, do it. Then, updating is free.

Don Cummings said...

Oh Lord!
I should have read the other comments before I commented.

Well! Congratulations!!!!!

Cheryl said...

V: Of course! I was going to add you to my blogroll when you first told me about the blog, but for a little while there was only one post, so I wasn't sure you and Gigante Robot were continuing with it. I'm glad to know you are!

D: Re: a religious freak in Texas. Maybe the only thing worse than having a doppelganger who's too much like you is having one who's waaayy opposite.

I love your interview with Sue The Webmaster.

Ms. Q said...

I know a little HTML if you want to play with a page editor someday...or we can ask my friend Lucy to do it, she's a graphic designer who is becoming a web designer and would probably do it for practice/as a favor.
Funny aside:
My church's website is is a porn site.

Ms. Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl said...

I might take you up on that. It's always good to know people who know people!

And I will make sure not to visit at work.