"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, March 2, 2009

At least I've got my site

It took me a couple of weeks, but I finally did it - I redesigned my website. While everyone agreed my old site was clean and easy to navigate, they also agreed with me that it was a little too schizophrenic (and for the schizophrenics out there, I mean that in the nicest way). After that, everyone seemed to disagree about the colors I used, or how to solve my split-personality problem.

Let me just explain why I couldn't hire this out: it wasn't the money. I need to update the links to my newspaper column every Thursday. I have a mailing list of people who get pissy if they can't find this week's little bit 'o' Placentia heaven. So I needed a website I could massage by myself.

I visited several other author websites and got ideas from them. In particular, I like the way Ridley Pearson has his home page adorned with a fancy headshot, pointing me in one direction for his adult writings, and a goofy caricature, pointing me in another direction for his children's books. I also like Louise Ure's site. Great colors, clean lines, love the geometry of it.

Like I said in a previous post, my website began with a simple, if ambiguous, goal - get my name out on the Internet. Now that I know who I am and what I want other people to know, I used what I liked about Ridley's and Louise's sites to focus my site more clearly.

Before you visit it, let me walk you through my thought process.

First of all, I wanted a banner for every page to remind everyone who I am. On the old site, I referred to myself as a "writer, rider, and maven-in-training." I decided to refine this to "author, columnist, and maven-in-training." I kept the maven moniker because I needed a category to cover my miscellaneous writings and a 'know it all' should span everything from journalist to humorist.

Second, I needed a color palette to tie the pages together. I prefer lavender and other shades of purple, but when I tried it out, it looked like a romance writer's site, which is not me. So I went to the blues and found a nice teal and periwinkle. I paired them with grays for a neutral base, and added a little yellow for pop.

I built the banner to include photos that 'brand' me - pictures of Placentia because that's where my column appears and my mystery is set, pictures of me with my horse to tie me into my equine writings, and a picture of me as a child, looking rather peevish on a rocking horse. No doubt, I was peevish because it wasn't a real horse.

Once the banner was built, I started with the middle of the home page, focusing on my books and career as an author. To the left, I put my exploits as a columnist; to the right are my miscellaneous meanderings, under the Maven tag. They are sublisted as Odds 'n Ends, Fits 'n Giggles. From there, I created pages to: 1) tease people into wanting Freezer Burn, 2) invite them to buy Missing, 3) give my fans their weekly dose of What a Day, and 4) give curious cats a glimpse of my equine writings, as well as some flash fiction, with pictures and without.

I'm hoping people like the new look. I think it looks fresh and really easy to navigate, but what do I know? Come visit http://www.gaylecarline.com/ and see what you think. Go ahead. Kick the tires, take it around the block, let me know if there are any screws loose.


Anonymous said...

I like it. It is still clean, the colors aren't too fruity and it let's me get everything I need about you in nice little packages.

Very well-done. Try not to break your arm patting yourself on the back. LOL


Diana Black said...

Bravo! Well done, you!

It's clear there are three distinct areas ... with graphics to help viewers like me who latch onto visuals before anything else.

Good luck!


Gayle Carline said...

Karen - trust me, the arm will remain intact. For everyone who tells me they like the site, I know there will be one person lurking who says, "I don't like the (font/color/format/blah blah blah)."

Whether they're justified or just idiots, I'll still feel the need to look at the site and consider their opinion.

But, Karen and Diana, I'm glad you like me! You really like me!

Helen Ginger said...

I like the site, Gayle. One thing ... I like having easy ways to navigate. When I went to the Fits and Giggles main page, then clicked to Giggles, there was no easy way to then go to Fits (or Odds or Ends) without hitting the back arrow.

(yeah, I'm the idiot you mentioned) But I do like the new look!

Gayle Carline said...

No, no, Helen, you're not the idiot! I was actually picturing a guy in a writing group I tried out once. His 'critique' of my work revolved around the fact that I used Courier New instead of Times New Roman as a font.

Your kind of suggestion is helpful!

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