Thursday, July 03, 2008

My Website

Posted by Lynne Griffin

It took some time, but my new website launched this week! I invite you to take a look and please, tell me what you think.

A website is a personal thing. It's your image, your brand. I wanted to create an inviting space, where visitors could get a sense of who I am, what I do, and what I care about.

A website is a professional thing. It's your calling card, your brochure. In my case, finding the right tone for merging my identities--parenting author & speaker with novelist--required careful consideration. I didn't want a mish-mash of pages leaving my visitors scratching their heads.

I've learned a lot in the last few months about building a web site, one that reflects my individual personality, one that lets readers know what they can expect from me. I thought I'd share my top ten things to think about when creating or updating your website.

  1. Secure domain name(s): Your name and/or your book's title are especially important. Keep in mind your readers will google the most obvious thing about you. Even if you don't plan to host a site right now, secure the domain names, so you'll have them when you're ready.
  2. Establish a budget: You'll want to know at the outset what you can afford. A simple static site will cost less than one with all the bells and whistles. Ask yourself what you really need vs. what you'd like to have.
  3. Spend time visioning: Even using a designer, which I strongly recommend, you'll need to have a sense of the look and feel you're after. Only you really know the image you're trying to convey.
  4. Know what you want: Writing down what you want and don't want will get you started. For example, I built in a blog to my site so I could announce news. And I wanted a library of television and radio clips. It's easier for your designer to know in advance, the capability you'll need.
  5. Search for sites you like: It can help the designer a lot to know what you like about certain sites. I love Therese Fowler's site so much, I decided to work with her designer. Brian from Low Fat Designs built Amy's site too.
  6. Keep your eye on the future: Knowing what you want and need for your site today is important, but so too is the need to be forward thinking. Will you need an event calendar? Or a place to announce your wonderful blurbs? Be sure your designer factors in the ability for the site to grow as your career does.
  7. Ask for feedback before launch: Just like every writer needs a great editor, every site should be field tested. Ask a few savvy surfers to take a test drive.
  8. Learn some simple programming: My site is built on what's called a content management system, and because I know simple html, I can make all my additions & changes without relying on or paying an outside provider.
  9. Update the site on a regular basis: Sites that change and are added to, keep traffic up. Don't you love going to your favorite sites to see what's new?
  10. Be sure to capture statistics: You won't be able to fine-tune your site with readers in mind, if you don't know who's visiting. Get a stats package from your designer, and learn how to look for key pieces of info.
I hope you like my site, and I hope my post spurs you on to update or create your own. A website is a wonderful networking tool, helps you establish a web presence, and gives you a place to announce your news. Once your site is launched, let me know. I'd love to be one of your first visitors.

8 comments:

Therese said...

Lynne, it's lovely! Brian is a pleasure to work with and the results are--as your site and Amy's attest--just wonderful.

The Writers' Group said...

Thanks, Therese! Your lovely site gave me the reassurance I needed to chose Brian. Glad you like mine, too.

Lynne

Joanne said...

Hi Lynne, I just took a tour on your web site, and I must say, it's so effective! Very clear and informative on your identities, while professional. What I noticed visually is the sand and blue of the sea, and the bits of seaglass, and my thought was how that theme tied in with the "Summer" in your book title, a subtle connection that works well. Very nice.

Lynne Reeves Griffin RN, MEd said...

Wow, thanks Joanne. The subtle visuals also work because I live near the ocean and I'm a water girl from way back. Thanks for your kind comments. Lynne

Lisa said...

Lynne, I thought I'd do a quick courtesy visit, but once I was on your gorgeous new site, I stayed for quite a while.

I love the sand and the sea glass!

I also learned more about LIFE WITHOUT SUMMER, and was very excited and impressed to see a blurb from my newest favorite author, Margot Livesey. I just read THE HOUSE ON FORTUNE STREET and now can't wait to read all of her books.

Your site also led me to learn more about your work as a parenting expert and I watched four of the FoxTV spots -- you're wonderful! I confess to not paying more attention to NEGOTIATION GENERATION when it was first released because my son is grown up and on his own, but now I'm going to buy the book for a couple of people I'm close to.

Just some data points on my experience at the new site that tell me that it's very effective :)

Lynne Reeves Griffin said...

Thank you so much Lisa! For all your kind remarks. A lot of work went into putting that site together, I'm so pleased you appreciate it.

My Margot Livesey blurb is especially meaningful to me. I've been a fan of her work since I read Eva Moves the Furniture. A wow book in my opinion.

Thanks for spreading the word on Negotiation Generation. Again, thanks for the feedback. Lynne

Tara Benwell said...

Lynne,

Your new site is beautiful. I too got sucked in and enjoyed learning a bit more about you and your writing, especially the parenting stuff. I enjoyed the article about siblings sharing bedrooms. People often wonder why our children share a room. For now, while they are young (4 and 2), it works best for all of us-especially at bedtime as you mention. Our space saving trick was to put two "family" dressers in our laundry room. This has been great because we buy less clothing (we only have a few drawers each) and save a lot of time putting laundry away.
Congrats on the great site. Your career is very impressive! I look forward to reading your fiction.
Cheers,
Tara

The Writers' Group said...

Thank you, Tara. Glad you found some of the parenting info helpful. Sounds like you are already very proactive.

Spread the word about my site if you like. There's a lot there to read and view.

Thanks again, Lynne