Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Website Thoughts

Okay, so I've been thinking. (What a shock, I know.)

I've been thinking about my website. I really like the colors of the site. I like the rose-prtal background (as you can see, because I imported it here to my blog. Although the blog still doesn't look as nice as I'd hope, which kind of creates a problem given the topic of this post.) Which is, I'd like to change my website.

See, when I originally planned the site, there were a lot of sites out there that looked a lot like it. Now the emphasis seems to be on graphic headers and having individual pages for each book, which I would love to have.

I think my site is a little difficult to navigate, and since I have three things already lined up to release this year (and I'm still waiting for news on a few other things, and the year is still young!), I do really need the site to be cleaned up. I'd like to redesign it.

But, as you can see from some of the more clumsy aspects of the blog, I'm not really a good webdesigner. Plus, as I sad on one of my cover art forms, as a visual artist I'm a pretty good writer. Visual flair is simply not something I've been endowed with, ever. I can recognize really cool shit, but I can't come up with really cool shit as a rule. When I was younger, a friend of mine and I used to make playhouses in the dirt with sticks--well, we'd outline them, like making a floorplan. It was more fun than it sounds, I promise. hers were always really cool, and mine were always really dull. In an attempt to add flair, I'd create crazy long hallways or something, like a rabbit burrow. But it just looked kind of dumb. Anyway. I don't stink at it now--I can dress myself and decorate a home, stuff like that--but really, I'm lacking the visual spark. perhaps because my vision is so bad. :-)

Plus, I really like the girl who designed my site, and she did just what I asked her to do. The problem is I don't have the £ to pay for another redesign. I wanted to do it all myself.

It's not just this site. I'm hoping to do some other work under a different name, and that name will need a site as well. (Fingers crossed.)

Does anyone have any suggestions? Any thoughts? A good, inexpensive program so I can design it all myself, maybe?

(Finished a project last night! I've written almost 30k words in the last week and a half, yay me!)


Anonymous said...

I think simple is good. If you want something that not too many other people have, you may look at a gray-scale theme -or not. That may be too blah for your taste.

Also, seperate widows (pages) are a good thing. It's nice to be able to keep the home page open (or home fires burning if you prefer).

Good luck with it. -V95

P.S. How 'bout changing that tired old avatar? ;~)>

Anne Douglas said...

You have your own hosting set up already? If you have your own hosting space, you can use wordpress. Once it's set up its pretty easy to use. Otherwise you can do it the page by page way using frontpage or dreamweaver where you build your site page by page (basically you will create a template that will be your base for each new page.) Wordpress does all that for you. (plus there are thousands of free templates to start with, that you can manipulate /have manipulated for you)

Also, depending on which site gets the most hits, there isn't any reason why you cant add static pages to this sidebar that people can access. Pretty much the same deal as building the other website, but the pages are just all separate.

If my website was working (a domain name registrar problem nothing to do with wordpress) I would have you look at mine as a wordpress example.

Rashenbo said...

Well, it's easy enough to use templates that are already made.... I don't know the CSS style sheeting that many blogs use. I know some html basics, but probably not enough to do a full site design.

I like the texture in your background, but I admit to not realizing it was rose petals. Changing headers and backgrounds and even the width of the center column and side column is pretty easy. Changing around other stuff is harder for me!

I'm toying with getting another blog design for my blog, but I am lazy. I just pay for it :) The blog designer I use is very inexpensive.

Rebecca said...

can't help - sorry - but glad you asked 'cause I can read some of the tips you get too. :)

I've already 'booked' my domain name and paid for some kind of website set-up service thinggy - I don't even know what all this shit is called - but I just look at the 'start now' email and cringe with terror at what I know is goingv to hours and hours of frustration.


Ps - I'm glad you can dress yourself now, though!

BernardL said...

30,000 words in a week and a half, yay you indeed. As to your web problem... I got nothin'. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, great job on that word count! I like having individual pages for each book/series so I can set the mood I want with visuals like background and color. I just redid my page a little over a month ago. I was tried of it looking like every other horror author website. I wanted something more uniquely me.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want some help making graphics. I won't promise anything, but I might be able to help :)

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

30,00 words in 10 days? You are a machine!!!

As for the blog design the petal background is gorgeous and you can switch to wordpress as someone else suggested however my suggestion is to categorise your posts with labels and then have a list of categories up the top immediately under the subscribe button.

I'd move your blogroll further down and have the navigation to your content higher

other than that it's fine. no nav problems - very straight forward and the custom background is a clever modification - verrrrrrry nice

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

one more thought... you can change the borders and little corner thingees (sorry about getting so technical!) from light grey to black or dark red to match your background

kis said...

Huzzah on the wordcount! Just thinking about 30 000 words makes my head hurt.:)

Can't help you on the techno stuff. I'm, how you say, oblivous? The whole idea of my own blog or website just kind of freaks me out. Better get over it soon, tho, cause I'm going to start querying within the week. gulp.

Isabella Snow said...

If you want a cheap program that you can use easily, Macromedia Contribute is what I used for my site. Very easy to update/change things.

But Anne is very good at all that other crap, so listen to her before you listen to me.

Im not sure I understand what you are asking though, so maybe ignore me anyway. ;)

INSANE word count, btw!!!

Bernita said...

I'm a Tech-idiot, so...
Marvellous word count!

December Quinn said...

Lol I will find a new avatar, V95! I've been planning to wait until I got a nice new cover to use, but I'll dig around and see what I've got.

Anne, I tried to set up a blog on WordPress and it was a total failure--I couldn't even get my posts to post. Seriously. I typed a post, hit "Publish", and it asked me if I wanted to edit, so I said No, and my post disappeared. So I typed a new post, hit "Publish", and said "Yes" when it asked me if I wanted to edit. The new post disappeared. This happened three separate times. I gave up.

December Quinn said...

Rashenbo, it's easier to see the rose petals if you have a large monitor. I only see them on the desktop, not the laptop. Plus they're sort of stylized anyway. :-)
Unfortunately, Rounders (this blog layout) isn't as customizeable as others, but I'm afraid to switch to others because I don't know if I'll be able to figure anything out with a new one. I haven't even switched to the new-style blogger layouts because I couldn't see how to have a custom background with that style of designing.

Ah, Rebecca, it might be easier than you think. You should at least give it a go--but I know what you mean. I set up a Google group for myself ages ago but I can't figure out how to do their layout at all, so have never done anything with it. Plus I hate Yahoo/Google groups, but that's another story.
Thanks! Dressing myself=big accomplishment, lol!

December Quinn said...

Yep, I'm feeling good about the wordcount, Bernard. Very good indeed! Thanks!

I may take you up on that, Michele, but unfortunately, as I've said, I'm such an artistic zero I don't even know what I want!

Thanks, Talia, and glad to see you here! So, am I right then in thinking you're suggesting I make the blog my website, and just set up new blog entries to act as the individual pages in my site, with tags and links? Wow, that's actually a pretty good idea...but the little corner thingies are unchangeable, they're the space clipped from the old layout, or something. I've tried, but it's because the corners in this layout were rounded. I might try playing with the layout again, though. Can't thank you enough, really, you've given me a ton to think about!

December Quinn said...

Yes indeed, kis, time to get moving! At least set up a blog! Blogs are easy to set up, you can just pick a layout to start with and don't have to do anything else. Good luck with the queries!

Tanks Isabella! I think when our money situation eases up a little I'll make hubs take me to PC World and see what I can find.

Thanks Bernita! And you and me both with the techno-idiotness!

littlebirdblue said...

Hey, DecemberQ,

I'm jealous of your current productivity, but very glad for your sake.

Sorry I'm a techidiot, so no help there.

December Quinn said...

Thanks! I've slowed down today. Editing but no new words. Oh well. :-)

Anonymous said...

My webpage (which is who knows where right now, but the tech guys at my isp say it's a problem with them and it'll be fixed this weekend) was done just by me using a "Bare bones guide" to html and typing it in a text program. Windows XP and IE both have a function where you can just type up the html like I did and they will go to your ftp server(and windows XP has mine saved under "Network places" which means I just go to network places and click on it and I can delete or change whatever).
Using that you can just make the page offline, open that up and drag and drop it to your domain. Nothing else required. I can send you the guide I use too, which is just a list of "this tag does this", because it's free to share. If your interested just drop me a note.

Isabella Snow said...

Contribute is pretty cheap actually, it's only about 150 bucks - most of those other programs by Adobe are like 500!!

Sam said...

Hi December -
go check out moonfruit - - I do all my sites through them, and you can try out a free site (the price is very good too, if you decide to pay, and it's easy to point your domain name to the moonfruit site.) It's easy to design and easy to change and upkeep is a cinch.