Monday, October 19, 2009

Web sites, Web sites and more Web sites!

Current Project: Derby book
Status: Developing characters, about to start writing

At our chapter meeting this past Thursday, our fabulous and amazing treasurer, Debbie Wright, presented a talk on Web sites. She took us through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Web design and presented a useful resource list for those of us who have little to no Web experience.

It got me thinking a lot about the Web sites I'd been working on. I took down my old writing site when I began using a pseudonym. I had planned to develop three new sites: my writing site, a site for my crafts, and a site for my PR/editing/copywriting. I went to Istock photo and purchased a few patterns and built the sites around those, using them as the basis for color schemes.

When I chose the patterns, I tried to keep the reader in mind, but I didn't fully succeed. I chose the one I liked the best for my crafts, thinking it needed to represent me and my craft style. Then I chose a more neutral one for my writing because I'd been going back and forth between wanting to write paranormal and contemporary. I knew I'd need to change it when I was published, but I figured that what I had developed would be a good placeholder.

I've changed my mind... Now that I've started the roller derby book, I think the template I had used for my craft site should be my writing template. It's a cool pink and brown damask pattern, bright and spunky. Just like a derby girl ;) So I think I'm going to do some switching around, tweaking of the header (I think it's too big) and try to finally make them live.

It was difficult to find a starting point with these sites. I saw a template somewhere that used a pattern (like the damask one I downloaded) as the basis for the site and I liked that idea. It also enabled me to create one easy template and just switch out colors and patterns for the three sites I planned to create, saving lots of time.

What do you think of your own site? Any plans to redo it? How did you choose what you have now?

Thanks again, Debbie! It was a wonderful presentation! I would also like to congratulate Bethany Gabbert for being elected our new vice president! She's in the middle of redesigning her Web site, so keep an eye out for a new link. And please help me congratulate her in the comments :) She's going to be fabulous!


Alice Sharpe said...

Lisa -- Your new ideas sound amazing. I love the idea of pink and brown for your writing website -- I'm glad your using spunky colors that reflect you.

And Bethany, yes! congratulations you rock star, you, for being elected Vice President. You are going to be the best VP ever. And thank you for taking on this responsibility in the midst of everything else you do.

Lisa, I can't wait to see your new blog(s).

Paty Jager said...

I agree, Bethany is a wonderful addition to the officers!

Congrats, Lisa on refining your websites. Looking forward to seeing it.

My daughter who does my website had her computer crash and lost my website stuff. But she has recently got it back up and running with a few changes and I like the site even better. I tend to change things on the home page once a year to keep it fresh and we change the Cowboy Wisdom quote every month as well as the contest info and my appearances page.

Kendra said...

Sounds like I really missed out on the last chapter meeting. Everyone is so inspired!

I'm holding off on a website. I'm not interested in presenting myself as an unpublished writer. I want to wait until I feel I'm firmly on my way to publication. Until then, anyone googling me will find the blog which I believe shows I'm serious about my writing journey. A friend put up a place holder at that indicates a website is coming soon. That should say I'm dedicated to writing, right?

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Lisa! Can't wait to see your new Web sites and blog. Debbie certainly inspired a number of us.

Yes, I'm revamping my Web site also. I did a new graphic that reflects both my dramatic and comedy writing, and I'm pleased with the colors. However, I've not uploaded the revised version yet because the changes I have planned will mean updating every page as well as launching a new page for my upcoming Valentine's anthology...and I have other things higher on my priority list right now, so this will need to wait for a couple weeks.

I definitely want to add my congratulations to Bethany on agreeing to run for VP and being elected! I'm looking forward to the great programs and meetings the new officers pull together. Yes, being an officer is a boost to your writing career, but it also takes time and commitment. So thanks to everyone who volunteers to be on the board and do other work of the chapter. I very much appreciate your efforts!

Bethany said...

Thanks everyone for the congrats!

I can't wait to see Lisa's new site. We need a link, a link, a link!

I'm in the process of moving all of my writing identity to Bethany Cunningham/Bethany Boots, so look for new email and website signatures from me. If you had been following my old blog, I'll be keeping all of my kids-n-pets funny writing over there.

Lisa Leoni said...

Alice, thanks!!

Paty, thank you! Oh that's so frustrating about the crash :( Was she able to download the files on the hosting site? Mine's crashed before, but luckily I was able to go on to Godaddy and download the files that were "live" online.

Kendra, I think it could be hit or miss with being unpublished. I lean toward thinking unpubs should have a site because it just helps build your Web presence and awareness. And while you're querying it could push an agent/editor toward making you an offer because you're already established. Because who knows how long a "coming soon" has been posted, you know? On the other hand, it could seem like you are serious and have been spending most of your time writing instead of building a site -b ut you're ready for a site. Do you blog outside of this? You could put up a message that says "coming soon, but in the meantime, please visit me at...(insert blog/blogs)"

Genene, that's great! It's so tough to find graphics that incorporate what you're looking for. Can't wait to see it!

Bethany, thank you again for stepping up to vp! You're going to be amazing!!! I can't wait to see your new site :)

I put up a current version of what I've been playing with:

I know it's sort of loud and busy, so I'm tweaking it. Trying to keep the fun pattern/colors, but tone it down a bit. If you have any suggestions for improvement, throw 'em at me ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I love it, Lisa. But you already know that. :)

Alice Sharpe said...

Lisa -- I think it looks wonderful and fun and sassy -- like you. You're the expert so if you say it needs toning down I'll trust you're right, but I like it as is.

Anonymous said...

Um, Lisa-- I really like the color scheme you're using and how simple it all looks right now, but I have to be honest and tell you that what you've got written there, well, it's all Greek to me.


I don't have a website, and while I do have plans for one, I have to wait for my super hero, Nerd-Man, to come to my rescue and help me with it. :)

I love what all you girls are doing with your sites! Makes me wish I was as genius as all ya'll. :)

Kendra said...

Lisa, I took your suggestion and added a link back to the blog from my page.

Paty Jager said...

Lisa, Very nice website! I like! It's so you.