Pending blog redesign

One of the things on my “To Do” list is to refresh/redesign this blog – hopefully, in the next month or so. There’s a few things that have always been a bit rough, and I want to fix those, streamline a few things, and maybe create a fresh look. I am contemplating getting a professional designer to do the basic design, but could also do something myself, although my graphic design and CSS skills are not sufficient to do anything other than follow the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Sweetie.*

I need the blog design to be easy to navigate, to handle multiple book covers and book pages, which the current theme isn’t doing so well, and to look good, with both pages and posts accessible. In terms of possible expansion, I do have photo gallery software installed, and I’m planning to upload more photos into it and link it to the blog, as the photos of my travels seem to interest people. I could also possibly install discussion forum software, to enable readers a place to discuss books and reading in general (not just my books). There’s still a lot of capacity with my web host that I’ve come nowhere near using yet.

So, what do you look for in an author blog? What works for you? What doesn’t? What kinds of features would you like to see here?

*Yes, it’s usually translated less politely. But I try to avoid calling people names. (Unless they really, really deseve it…)

6 thoughts on “Pending blog redesign

  1. Bronwyn, I think your web site is just about perfect. It’s visually appealing, easy to navigate and functionally appropriate to the objectives of author/novel promotion.

    Having said that the clever person who put it together so will almost certainly add functionality that will enhance the site further. — I wouldn’t use a ‘professional’ I’d continue with the current profession. She seems to have the focus absolutely correct and she’s so clever both verbally and visually. —– Eric

  2. There are a number of articles online on the topic, many of them for readers (akak, your target audience), and I don’t know that I could list them all for you, but there are some links:

    From The Good, the Bad and the Unread: Authors’ Online Presence
    From The Book Binge: A Reader’s Guide to Author Websites
    From Dear Author: 10 Author Online Promotion Don’ts

    Authors Lauren Dane and Shiloh Walker each have several blog posts on the matter–the ones I can find at the moment:
    From Ms Walker: Website don’ts and Day-glo pink. Hot pink. Related (promo): Authors don’ts

    From Ms Dane:
    Okay, let me hear it (and I would read all of Ms Dane’s industry blogs myself–she tackles a lot of issues related to publishing)

  3. um… and I hit submit a tad too quickly.

    If you manage to read the long as heck comment threads in many of the posts I linked, you’ll see that there are some things that most people agree on (no flash, no music, easy to navigate, simple/clear design, etc.) As far as I can tell, your site follows most of these quite well. Of course, there’s also room for improvement, and I hope some of these prove helpful to you.

  4. Hey Bron, A couple of things from me
    (1) do you want your pages to be printable?? (probably not) but something to consider before design (2) links should clearly be linnks, PDFs should be identified and all links should open a new window and not open over the top of your site (that way the user can easily come back)
    Looking forward to it.

  5. Eric, thanks for the compliments! I’ve learned a fair amount over the years, but also know my limitations – which is why I keep things fairly simple!

    Azteclady, thanks so much for taking the time to track down those links. I had read a couple of posts about do’s and don’ts, from reader perspectives, but it’s good to read through those links and comments.

    Jenn – thanks for reminding me about printable pages!! I should have thought of it myself earlier – love the feature on other websites. I’ve gone and checked, and yes, there is a WordPress plugin for printing pages and posts 🙂 I’ll install it shortly. I do try to avoid PDFs – hate having to download a file before reading it – but sometimes they’re unavoidable, for long or detailed documents.

  6. I think your blog looks pretty good Bronwyn. Things are easy to find and it is all clearly laid out. I think the most important thing is to feel that the person behind the site is still tending garden. Too many authors set up a blog and then visit it occasionally. I haven’t yet read one of your books, but I must. I have one on my library list – AS DARKNESS FALLS.
    My husband wants to know if you are related to the South Australian Parrys? His great grandmother was Emily Parry and he is convinced all Parrys are related.

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