Websites

My daughter is visiting this week. She thinks she’s on vacation. Monday I proved her wrong and put her to work on my website.

Web sunset

Mia is my web-mistress, but usually we have to communicate via phone or emails. It was nice to sit next to her and be able to say, “I like that. I don’t like this. Can we change…?” It was fun (and a little scary) to watch her try a variety of options. I wasn’t always sure we could undo the ones I didn’t like, but ultimately it all worked out.

Prior to cornering her and asking her for help, I looked at several websites and tried to decide what it was that was bothering me about mine, what I wanted added, and what I wanted removed.

Websites, like people, come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. A website is often the first impression a reader, agent, or editor has of you. It’s like stepping into an interview room. You want the way you look to fit the job and your personality. You want a website to be easy to navigate and easy to read. You want the viewer to be able to find the information needed without a struggle, whether it be information about your most recent release, a list of your published books, your bio, your events schedule, how to contact you, or how/where to buy your books.

Little things can ruin a website. You can actually put too much information on a page (on the screen). So you have to ask yourself: Does it look cluttered? Are the colors too dark? Too light? Is the type font too small? Is there enough contrast between the background and the type or does it all blend together? Does important information stand out or does it get lost amid all of the other information?

One thing I like about the website my daughter has created is I can go in and add or delete information. Of course, I sometimes forget how to do that, which is why I’ve been putting together a website manual that includes the steps I need to take to add or delete. Major changes, I leave up to her, but it’s nice to be able to add an announcement without having to wait until she has the time to do it.

So what did we do today? We dropped one of the columns on the home page and made the content area wider, which in turn made the edges more narrow. I think the home page now has an airier look. We moved the icons to take a viewer to my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages so they were more obvious. (Before they were in the upper right corner and easily missed) She even talked me into joining Google+. Oh, and we added a link to my page on Amazon.com so if a viewer wants to take a closer look at my books (and hopefully buy one), it just takes a click to get there.

web crow

That’s another thing about Websites. As far as I’m concerned, they’re a work in progress. Programmers are constantly coming up with new ways to present our work: videos, audio, slide shows, etc. What works for me today, may not work as well in a year or so. So I’ll keep checking out other websites, always looking for new ideas. My daughter thinks that’s a great idea, especially if it means she’ll be flying down to Florida next winter to make those changes.

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7 Responses to Websites

  1. Melissa Keir says:

    I like playing with my website and changing it up a bit. I agree about the clutter and the different colors/fonts. So important to send a good message.

  2. Lovely sight– bright and airy looking.–it suits you.
    Since I’m brand new at this and need so much guidance, I’m reading every word you have to say about managing sites and Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, etc. Would love to have a copy of your manual. 🙂
    All the best, Annette

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Annette, my manual is for my website and wouldn’t help you. Basically what it includes are: password (because everyone always suggests changing passwords, and I will forget mine if I don’t have it written down somewhere); what steps I have to take to get from the general menu to the spot where I want to add or delete information; and how to load pictures.

  3. I found lots of good information and insights about websites in this post, Maris. I like the new crisp look and the aura of mystery your site projects. I’m not lucky enough to have a website designer in the family, and I realized creating my own website was more than I felt I could take on. I hired a virtual assistant to take care of all things website and social media related for me, My Girl Friday–VA. 🙂

  4. Diane Burton says:

    I like your new site. Very readable. I dislike sites with a black background and not crisp, bright letters. You’re lucky to have your own designer.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Thanks for the comments, Diane. I’d like to keep my “web designer” down here with me, but, alas, her work boss and her husband think she should return to snowy Michigan.