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.
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.
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.