The Making of a Web Site

Edith here, still waddling from all the delicious Thanksgiving food! apron

Thankful for Our Readers Giveaway: I’m giving away an Author apron, plus one of my three 2017 books: Mulch Ado About Murder, the fifth book in her Local Foods Mystery series, Called to Justice, Quaker Midwife Mystery #2, and When the Grits Hit the Fan, the third Country Store Mystery. Winner’s choice! Leave a comment below for a chance to win.

Today I want to share some great news, and some process. I recently hired a Digital Strategies expert to bring my author web site into the current era. Up to now, I’ve been doing my own web work. WordPress.com is pretty easy, has pre-made templates, and is free. Still, my web site was looking kind of clunky, kind of outdated. It didn’t have much security to speak of, and I am pretty clueless on search engine optimization (SEO) – which means people looking for me can find me. I’m a writer, not a web designer or a graphics person, and I have a lot to learn about marketing strategies.

OldSite

The old site

So I entered into conversations with Christine Green. She happens to be local and a friend. I knew she had managed social media for political campaigns and does great video editing (she filmed my book-launch walking tour last year and created a fabulous five-minute promo video). She creates all kinds of digital marketing strategies for  companies big and small. We met in downtown Amesbury and talked through the way she works and what she can provide — but we could have held our meeting on the phone, too. Being local is just a plus.

2017-10-20-Christine-Edith-biz-meeting

Christine’s selfie of the two of us working at an outside table in downtown Amesbury.

I was sold. Together we decided to take my web site to the next level. A new design. A real events calendar. Much-improved content in all kinds of areas. Better usability on digital devices of all sizes. Great author photos. I thought the process was interesting so I’ll walk you through it before I let you peek at the new site.

First, I paid Christine to do an assessment of the current site. She pointed out all kinds of areas we could improve on. When I said, “Let’s go for it,” she jumped in. She started the process by giving my current site a deeper review. I agreed to move to WordPress. org, a paid application that provides much more flexibility and capabilities for a modern web site.

Not long after that, she had a draft site for me to look at — and lots of questions! We went back and forth (mostly on email or by phone) with decisions, photos, descriptions. I came up with better wording about the kinds of public speaking I do and the kinds of mysteries I write. She created a much improved About page, telling the story of my path to becoming a multi-published author. I sent along cover jpegs and author-event photos. She suggested tactics on how to bring in readers and add subscribers to my newsletter list. I offered edits and clarifications. She trained me on how I can do my own updates. We were a team in the best sense of the word.

Finally we launched, just a couple of weeks ago. Take a look!

NewSite

I’m so happy with the look and feel – it’s light and airy, and the colors all work nicely, as does the functionality. Behind the scenes I have much better security and better optimization for readers who search for my name or my books.

Christine has been a professional all the way along. I highly recommend her to anyone looking to update and renovate their web site and their digital strategies.

Readers:  Tell me your favorite part of my new site. How often do you visit author web sites? What do you look for? Writers: What platform do you use for your web site? Have you updated it lately? Everyone: Catch a typo and I’ll send you a free book separately from today’s giveaway!

85 thoughts on “The Making of a Web Site

  1. Looks great, Edith. I especially love the countdown clock to the next release! I’ve made a note of Christine’s name and company. Hubs currently does my webpage and I like it but like the cobbler’s child…

  2. It’s a great new site! As a reader, I like that so much info is available on the home page. But the easy to use drop down menu led me directly to the right section and eventually a fun crossword. Still searching for any elusive typos! ☺

  3. I usually look at authors on blogs such a this one. That way I get my favs in one spot and learn about new releases too. I think the new site is colorful and bright.

  4. I love the look of your new website. The countdown to your next release is a great added touch. I am not too computer savy, so to have so much information available on the home page is a bonus 🙂 I look forward to coming back to your site. I am very happy for you.

  5. I like that it looks clean and is easy to navigate. I’m looking at it on my phone, which is usually the least attractive view of a website, and yet yours still looks functional and smooth. Very nice job. I like to look at an author’s website when I’m interested in a book they’re releasing, and to see what else they’ve written.
    I didn’t catch any typos. 😔

  6. I look at writer’s Web sites to learn about the authors and what they have written. Also, to see when their next book is going to be available, so, I especially love your countdown! Very nice job. Easy to look at on my NOOK.

  7. Wow, Edith! Your new website is DOPE, as the kids say. 🙂 It’s a gorgeous, welcoming gateway to “Edith World.” I REALLY like how yours uses a WordPress platform but doesn’t look like it. Very nice. Interesting: I noticed there’s no newsletter signup form. I’d love to know if that’s sort of a new trend, even though conventional wisdom is all about “the money’s in the list.” Anyway, I bookmarked Christine’s page. (She doesn’t have a newsletter forme, either, I noticed.) Frankly, I’ve been dithering about setting up a list on either blog and would be stoked to know I’m ahead of the curve, if there is one, on something. 🙂 Anyway, congratulations on your gorgeously renovated digital real estate! ❤

    • Thanks so much, Rhonda! “Dope” – I’ll have to look into that. There actually is a newsletter signup form on the home page, though – scroll down to find it (look for “Don’t Miss any Mystery Updates!”).

    • Hi Rhonda,
      Thanks for your kind words about the site I created for Edith. She does have a newsletter sign-up – It’s right below the 4 book covers – “Don’t Miss any Mystery Updates!” But it’s interesting that you missed it…perhaps because the word “Newsletter” wasn’t used? That was intentional and the sign-up form is quite prominent. I have any number of reasons why I don’t have an email sign-up form on my own site – and none of those reasons are valid! So to answer your question – no it’s not a trend to not have a newsletter sign-up. Email marketing is still one of the best marketing strategies (however there is an art and science to doing it effectively). 🙂

      • Thank you, Christine. I suspect my missing Edith’s contact form has more to do with a) the Monday after a long holiday weekend. b) my brain defaulting to “bot mode” as I sought “newsletter” like a keyword, and c) insufficient caffeination. 🙂 I agree about newsletters/emails being an art form of their own, especially for authors. I suspect it’s also highly individual to each author as well as that particular target audience. Anyway, and I can’t say it often enough, you did a lovely job on Edith’s site. Beautiful work, and thank you for responding to my comment.

  8. Love the site. If I was still doing monthly reviews vs just posting upcoming releases I would also go to the pay side of worpress.com . I like the ease in the way you can move from one section to another and the great new look. Christine really does amazing work.

    If by some chance of fate my name is chosen as the winner, I love a copy of “When the Grits Hit the Fan”.

  9. I love the water color picture around your photo on the opening page. It just looks so YOU and welcoming.

    The new site is so easy to manuever. I love the way the series are listed so you can go right to a particular series. I can’t tell you how much I love the printable list of all books!

    Absolutely LOVE the ABOUT page. I love to know something more personal about the author of a book. Through past post I’ve read, the photos brought it all to life for me.

  10. Beautiful site, Edith. I’ve always loved your banner.

    I use Wix because that’s what my web designer, Catherine Respess of Red Mare Design, uses. She’s trained me to do a lot of the work myself, but there are still many things I need her to do for me! I do like using their newsletter function better than Mailchimp – although at first I hated it. But now I’ve got it down and really enjoy putting the newsletters together.

    Congratulations on a great new website!

  11. My favorite part of your new website is how easy it is to find all of your series. The layout is great. I visit author’s websites when I want to find out more about them and their work and to sign up for newsletters. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  12. I love the new website! The painting really grabbed my attention! The site is very easy to use, from finding a list of your books to your upcoming events. What a wonderful website designer you have!

  13. You both did a awesome job ! I love
    the painting of you sitting at the desk by the water. I love you showing the book series . I like everything about it!👍 I use my Facebook to look up authors, and also I’m on the Cozy mystery e-mail. Every day I look up books😊

  14. Love the painting at the top and the countdown. I really enjoy your books! I try to visit author websites every month or so to see what’s new.

  15. I really enjoyed seeing your new update and like another reader I’m glad that the watercolor is still there.I also like the count down clock and found it was easy to wander around and find a surprise or two. .

  16. I love the website. The homepage has all the necessary info without being messy. I’m glad you used that wonderful painting as the top banner. The whole site is easy to navigate. I”m pretty computer literate, but difficult sites are difficult no matter what. Yours is so nice to “leaf” through.

  17. She did a wonderful job! It’s clear and pretty, and it looked to be a fun collaboration.
    I mostly check in for upcoming books and local appearances. My storytellermary.com redirects to WordPress (ever since Apple stopped “supporting” their iWeb), and it’s adequate for my less-professional and occasional work, but yours is professional, and there has to be a relief in having tech help. Hugs.

  18. This website is absolutely beautiful. It makes me want to throw out our library’s website and start fresh! Hmmm! Topsfield is misspelled on your upcoming events list, but I doubt that it made a difference in attendance! 😉

  19. I really like the new web site design, Edith! It is very clean and colourful.
    I particularly like the author history – I learned a lot more about your beginnings and journey as an author. Love the various photos of you attending events, too
    Since you have multiple series and pen names, it is good that each series is separated and easily found.
    My one suggestion would be to also provide a one-page downloadable list of your series/book titles. When I go to an author’s web site for the first time, I am usually looking for their backlist of titles.

  20. I love the new site. As soon as I saw it, I felt invited to come in and browse around. I Iove how colorful it is, the countdown clock, and the easy navigation. I’m on the hunt for the typos!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s