By Sally Carpenter
Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! I hope this will be a happy and fulfilling year for everyone. May readers find many new authors to enjoy. May writers publish a bounty of good stories.
Many use this time of year for fresh starts. As for me, a near disaster led to a good change.
A couple of months ago, the hosting service of my blog (which I will refer to by its initials GD) send an email that they were moving my website to a new server. I hadn’t checked on my blog in a long time, so I went there to add a new post. To my horror, all I saw was a blank page with an error message!! GD had apparently lost my site.
GD doesn’t offer a toll-free number for tech support, so the first time I called I would have to pay for a minimum 60-minute wait; I hung up. After two live chat sessions, GD still hadn’t fixed the problem and seemed clueless that my site was even gone.
I contacted the web designer who had built the site. She came through and not only recovered the site but updated the code, made a backup, and added new security. She discovered my site had been hacked years ago; GD should have alerted me about that.
Since my designer was already working on the site, I took the opportunity for a revamp. Much had transpired since I opened the site and what I had no longer suited my needs.
The site was established as a Sandy Fairfax fan page in hopes that it would become a place for readers to interact with the character. However, that never materialized. And people were confused and thinking that Sandy Fairfax was my name.
In the beginning I only had one book, so I ran the book covers in a sidebar. But as I published more works, the sidebar became cumbersome and the page looked cluttered.
I failed to keep up with the blog, so opening the home page with months-old posts was not a good idea.
My bio was outdated as well. I had a new series ready to start; how would that fit in with the Sandy Fairfax theme?
In the site remodeling, I moved the focus off Sandy and onto me. I took his name off the header and put in mine. My headshot was moved off the sidebar and onto the header.
The sidebar was eliminated and the book covers were arranged in neat rows by series and anthologies. Readers can easily see all my works.
The blog was moved to a back page. I freshened my bio. A new page was added to introduce my upcoming series. The “email contact” page was removed, since nobody was using it. I just put an email address on the home page for people to use.
The basic retro-look of the old site remained with the same fonts and header styles. That aspect didn’t need an overhaul. I like the bright, vivid colors; many mystery writers’ websites are dark and gritty. The hearts-and-notes background stayed because that design was already on my business cards and bookmarks.
Even though the site is now about me and not my original character, I kept the domain name http://sandyfairfaxauthor.com because that addy is on my cards, bookmarks, numerous blog posts and other places. Besides, I’m still Sandy’s author; I’m just adding other characters along the way.
I like the new look. I’m amazed at how I started with one book and now have eight covers on my site.
If you have a website or blog, has your site changed as you’ve grown as an author?
BTW, in a month or two my contract runs out with GD and my designer and I will move the site to a new hosting service.