Remember a few weeks ago I talked about the social media and website assessment I had done? If you missed it, here's a link back to the post.
In the website part of her assessment, Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for Writers made several suggestions. Things I'd never thought of as needing help with my website. After studying them, I had to agree with Frances. These were necessary changes.
And here are the changes I've made since then:
- Change text and placement of email widget. What I had in place before was an image of my free ebook above the email signup. Frances pointed out the number one focus on the home page is to collect email addresses. Therefore, I needed to move the email signup below the ebook image. Also, referring to a recent study, she noted website visitors aren't overly fond of the word "subscribe." I have removed it from any references to my newsletter, ebook, or blog follows. The benefit in signing up, i.e. my free ebook, is the incentive for signing up.
- Alter focus of site.To date, I have shared many book reviews, resource reviews, and writing tips and tools. The concern here is whether readers might be confused as to the purpose of my site: (a) to attract writers or (b) to attract readers. Authors should want to create reader-centric websites.
⇒When I began this site, I was barely writing a book. I knew I might want to write a book...someday. In the meantime, maybe I could just get my name out there by meeting other writers. It worked!
⇒Now is the time to focus on people who will want to read, or maybe buy, my memoir. I'm slowly creeping toward that fine line from drafting and revising to editing and then on to publishing. Time to refocus the blog. Be on the lookout for new topics, new material, and more updates on the book.
- Header image on site. Some time ago I circulated a survey. One respondent mentioned the "template look" of my header image. Frances didn't see a clear connection between that image and writing memoir. So, out with the old and in with the new. I'm really enjoying the new look.
⇒The old image reminded me of a home that was warm and loving. As a girl, I always longed for that home, but that never happened. I suppose I chose the farmhouse image for that reason.
⇒The new image ties in with the theme of my ebook, Healing Benefits of Writing Your Story. The book cover and header share one thing in common: images of lavender, a natural healing and soothing agent. I also designed the header to include an image of writing tools and one of my mother and me (age 4 months) to connect my memoir to this site.
- Sidebar and footer. I don't know if you remember...my previous site not only had a sidebar and a dark footer filling almost the bottom half of the page. I had filled that footer with widgets of all kinds: Goodreads quotes, the books I was reading, information about Akismet, and on, and on, and on. Frances pointed out that the general consensus is websites are moving toward a simpler, cleaner template. I have also read that dark characters on a light background is better for readability. There are any number of articles to dispute or confirm this impression.
⇒I took a few days to study this suggestion. After all, my old look had become very comfortable. But the longer I looked, the darker it seemed. And crowded and like my house cluttered.
⇒It has taken a while, but I think I've landed with just what I want. Frances hasn't seen this yet (at least I don't think she has), and I'll be interested to receive her comments.
⇒I have built this redesigned site so that on each page my visitors will find what I would like them to read, focus on, and act on.
Yes, it was time for changes.
I am closer to publishing my book than I was when I began this site. I should focus on gathering my current followers closer to me for support and encouragement while finding new followers who are readers and book lovers who will hopefully find my book worthy.
Somehow, before Frances I didn't see this. I was too comfortable in that worn out pair of shoes, or a comfy chair, or a pair of yoga pants to see the next step in commanding a presence as an author with a book you or someone will want to read.
After Frances, the fog lifted and I understood--change was in the air!
What about you? Are you too comfortable where you are? Did you need to change something? The possibilities are endless in what we might want or need to change. Share with us, if you're willing.