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.
Lovely and clean! I especially like the photo/theme changes.
Maureen, thank you for not only the visit but the gracious words you leave with me.
Beautiful site. Congrats!
Lisa, thank you!
Sherrey – I like the new look. It’s fresh and clean. Great job!
Thanks, Joan, my faith-filled friend! I appreciate your constant encouragement and presence in my online/writing life.
You know where you are and where you want to go – clear focus, fresh look. I’d be hard-pressed to find a more thoughtful writer/author. 😉
Oh, Marian! You bring tears to my eyes. I will treasure your words forever. Perhaps I’ll even have Bob make them into a small sign to hang up above my desk. 🙂
For a year or so now, I have printed words of encouragement from writers’ email messages and blog posts. They are all clipped together close to my Bible on the coffee table where I can look at them when I need a lift.
What a marvelous idea, Marian! I can’t wait to meet you face-to-face some day. 🙂
Sherrey, as someone who has followed you since the early days, I love how you and your site have evolved. The lavender is perfect both as an attractive color and a symbol. Of course, I liked the house and definitely saw a connection…but often “insiders” can’t see things the way a casual website visitor would.
Sue, you must realize that such positive input from you means a great deal to me. As one of my early followers, I find your support and encouragement meaningful as I move forward. Thanks for your continuing wisdom, encouragement, and faithfulness.
I love hearing about the changes you’re making and why. I changed my blog layout and tagline earlier this year–like you, I’ve simplified some things, made my sign up more visible, etc.
Good for you, April. It takes some courage to change what seems to be working for some unknown adjustment. Since I’m relatively new to your blog, I’m guessing I came on board after the changes. I find comfort and a warm welcome when I’m there. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Sherrey. Your page looks fabulous! Frances certainly was very effective. It’s all about the branding. I tried to keep mine in line with what I advocate for when I moved over to my own site too. I think as we become more adjusted to blogging, we seem to find our precise niche. I know I write about overcoming and experience life issues, but I still write and share great info with other writers who read my blog too.
I don’t think I want to stop writing about writing, because I also accumulated some new writers who are looking for helpful articles, and I don’t forget how I felt when I was at that stage. So I think as long as we can keep it within a conducive theme and we aren’t all over the place, I don’t see why we can’t have a little versatility in our blogs. <3
Debby, love that word “versatility” and I too hope to keep that element alive here. Just not so much, I suppose. Thank you for being a great encourager and supporter of writers as well as readers. I see so many similarities in our past lives, and I find it interesting that there are so many similarities in our now. Hope to meet face-to-face some day.
Oh yes, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all meet together one day? Perhaps in the future we could organize a writer’s get together with ones we seem to see regularly in our circles. <3
Your site looks great, Sherrey, I really like it. I’ve recently implemented similar things too, including a ‘button’ for my newsletter/mailing list sign-up instead of text. I’ve already had a big increase in new subscribers. Fab stuff, and well done you for letting go of the old – however comfortable it had become x
Hi Joanne! So good to “see” you. Thanks so much for your generous comments, and I’ve noticed you’ve been doing some new things at your place as well. Kudos to you for stepping outside the box with me!
Sherrey, you’ve made a great website even better. It shines. I love the new header. It is welcoming, professional and focused. I appreciate you sharing the specific changes and the rationale behind them. The most valuable lesson here is showing the rewards for stepping out of that comfort zone to grow in new ways. Brava and best wishes as you move forward toward publication of your memoir! You are paving the way to its success. 🙂
Kathy, my friend! You have been a mentor to me and so some credit should go to you for my stepping outside the box. When I think back to your website frustrations just before your book came out, AAARRGGHHH, yes? And now, the final result is so professional, well-tuned, and welcoming. Thank you for coming alongside to walk with me through this journey.
Sherrey: You have done an awesome job with your website. Kudos to you!
Frances, thank you *smiling*! And kudos to a great teacher and guide.
Sherry, Fabulous website! Exciting changes. Great newsletter ! JoAnn Melton
JoAnn, thanks for the visit and for the gracious comments on both the site and newsletter.
It looks great, a spring change, perfect!
Claire, appreciate the upbeat comment!
It’s jolly nice Sherrey thank you … fresh, appealing, inviting!
Hi Susan Scott! Long time, no cross paths. Thanks for the “jolly nice” and all those other kind words.
Beautiful work, Sherrey. Very inviting. I went through a website transition about eight months ago. Lots of effort but I’m glad I did it. My sons told me my old website had a ’90s look. Oh, is it out of date? The design wasn’t that old, but it was heavy. They showed me good examples and I worked with a new designer. I read through your suggestions. Whew! I think I have it covered. For now. Until everyone tells me I’m out of date again in a year or so.
Hi Elaine, so glad you dropped by. Yes, an update to anything–kitchen, bath, website–is almost too much. Like you, I’m glad I did it. What’s so old about a “‘a 90s look?” My old one was a bit heavy too, and I’m happy with this new lighter one. And as fast as technology and trends change, we should be updating as you said in a year or so!
BTW, the book arrived! Looking forward to reading and reviewing.
How fortunate that the gift copy was won by a woman who likes to review books! Thank you. I’m glad the book arrived.
Sherrey,Your changes look clean and inviting 🙂 I know I need to make changes…Kudos to you 🙂
Dolly, thanks for your kind comments. You always lift me up!
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