Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What NOT To Do With Your Website

Saturday, I attended a website class and critique.

I went into the class thinking my websites - both my blog and my main site, were pretty good.

I was wrong.

The blog was deemed to be okay, but the most important "real estate" isn't being used effectively enough. I need to show at least one of my books "above the fold". The slide show I had was distracting. I need to move my banner up as I'm getting no value out of the blank space above the banner. The design is too "1950's" and makes it look as if I only or mainly write contemporary comedy romances.

That's a lot to consider that I hadn't thought about before.

I bought my blog and website designs. The designer installed them. I'm not an html guru. I know very little html. After several years of playing with Front Page, I can use it, but I'm not an expert. Thus, I haven't been able to figure out how to decrease the extra space above the banner.

Worse, my main website isn't working at all. Not only is it "too pink", the designer put it in a program I don't know how to use. Thus I haven't been able to update it. I write erotic romance, often M/M, sometimes paranormal, sometimes futuristic, and yet again, the design was too 1950's, too chick-lit. I was used as an example of "what NOT to do" - waste money on a website that is not feasible, that I can't update, that doesn't reflect what I write.

I was advised to dump the pink monster, write off the money as a lesson hard learned, and start fresh.

The rest of the weekend I designed not just one but two new websites (one for Ashley Ladd and one for my sweet romance alter ego), neither as fancy as the one I spent a lot of money on, but ones I know how to update so can keep current. One that isn't pink. Now I'm waiting for my techie child to fix the extension so I can publish them and put them up for another critique.

So use me as an example of what NOT to do. Before you plunk down your cash, be sure you can update your website. Make your site design reflect what you write.

Recent posts you might like to read:

Rejection: Where Do You Go Next?


Cliche or Coincidence?

What Prompts Me To "Follow" A Blog

Make Sure Pretentious Words Don't Turn Off Your Readers

Dedicating Books

You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)


Anonymous said...

It's tough revamping. I just revamped both the blog and website. It was all about trying to find the right graphics to fit who I've become as a writer after being away for five years. I decided since I had changed, and my writing was changing, it was time to change the sites too.

It was hell.

Good luck. Can't wait to see the big unveil!

Molly Daniels said...

Good points to consider...when I get mine up and running, I'll let you know so you can critique it:)

Brynn Paulin said...

Oy!! I'm just about to have my website revamped. It's good, but it needs some work -- especially updating. These are good points to consider.

So will we be seeing changes here too?

Regina Carlysle said...

This is so interesting. Hey, Ash, I LIKE your blog. Is your website down? I think I'll go look. I just got a new website and I really love it. Pretty functional too since it's a wordpress deal.

Unknown said...

Thanks Regina. :)

I don't know if or when I'll change this blog. I took down the slide show and put one of my bookcovers at the top of my left column. Small changes I know, but I wasn't told to make huge changes here - like my main Ashley Ladd website. That I'm going to completely change. Also my alter ego's website.

Unknown said...

Good points! I'll have to keep them in mind when I revamp my own site.


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