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Journey into the Lives of Women, One Story at a Time

Website Dos and Don’ts. I Really Want to Know

Emilie's WebsiteToday I’m asking for your feedback and help. After promising I would soon update my website, I’m finally getting around to the nuts and bolts. The decisions are going to make me “nuts” and while I’m not going to “bolt.” I might consider it a time or two in the months to come.

My website is now almost ten years old, as is the photo on the homepage. Everything in my life is different, and technology has come such a long way it’s past time to revamp. Actually my webmaster, a great guy named Steve, has been remarkably patient but firm. Time to move on, Steve says, and Steve is right.

Do you have time to check my current website? It won’t be hard. Scroll up to the top of this blog and click on “Home” to the left of my photo with Nemo. You’ll go right to my website, where you can play to your heart’s content. Or you can click right here to get there, too.

When you visit, I have a few questions for you to consider. And if you would take the time to comment here and answer, I would be most appreciative. In fact as a thank-you, one lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Christmas Wedding Quilt. It could be you. Random.org will choose a winner after the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays.

Any feedback you would like to give me will be gratefully accepted, but here are a few questions to consider as you look. Take a minute, take an hour. Whatever you have to say will be helpful.

  1. How easy is the site to figure out? Do you know from looking at the homepage where information can be found?
  2. Are you confused by the drop down menus at the top? (Books, News etc.) Do you understand how to use them? 
  3. What pages interest you most?
  4. What pages interest you least?
  5. If you click on any book cover, you receive lots of information: Overview, Inspiration, Recipes, Praise, Reader’s Guide, Excerpt. Are you surprised to learn all that information is available?
  6. I’m considering a new category called Extras. Among other things “Extras” will have contest/giveaway information, and the recipes that are now on each book page to make them easier to find. Can you think of anything else “extra” you might like to see?
  7. Would you like to see a Goddesses Anonymous category with links to articles about people who make a difference, inspirational quotes, perhaps some pages about characters with photos? Would you be likely to visit those pages?

Well, that was more than a few questions. Please answer any or all, it’s up to you. But if you notice something else you like or don’t with my present site, please comment on that, too, or instead.

Many thanks for taking time to visit the site and make suggestions. And don’t forget one commenter will receive The Christmas Wedding Quilt.

10 Comments

  1. Marsha on November 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I thought your blog was easy to use…I loved it that I got to actually hear your voice in the videos.
    The drop downs were easily understandable.

    The only thing I wish was to have the photos able to be enlarged. I would have enjoyed seeing them close up.

    Your ideas on 6 and 7 sound really good.

  2. Susan on November 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Emilie,
    I am looking at your web site because of a class I’m taking in my MFA program on writing popular fiction. How great to be able to share my thoughts. Even though the web site is 10 years old, it still comes off as being current and timely.

    How easy is the site to figure out? –> Very easy. The main links are pretty basic but still specific enough to let me find my way. I really liked that the presentation was broken up with the main links at the top of the page and the “extras” listed closer to the bottom half of the page with the Twitter and Facebook links.

    Do you know from looking at the homepage where information can be found? Definitely. Loved the books section with the extra information!

    Are you confused by the drop down menus at the top? (Books, News etc.) Do you understand how to use them? That’s pretty standard at this time. We just did a web site redesign here at work and the drop downs were a key new feature. I wasn’t confused, but would have liked them to stay highlighted a little longer or been a little bit bigger. (Yes, I’m developing the dreaded presbyopia that comes with entering one’s 50s.) Also, make sure that they are consistently presented on each page. In one of the sections, may have been the news section, the additional links under that section didn’t show up.

    What pages interest you most?
    –Loved the book section. Covers are beautiful and the extras were great ways to build your brand.
    –Was curious to hear the podcast(s), but was disappointed to see that I couldn’t access them.
    –Videos were well done and beautiful, but I’m probably not going to sit a listen to them unless they are particularly compelling. Since I’m doing this on my lunch hour, I wasn’t compelled to listen to every word (sorry).
    –Love how your press page was set up with hi-res artwork available, formal bio, etc. Great resource for the media or someone wanting to help promote your books!

    What pages interest you least?
    –News: I wanted to see something that anchored the information with a time period. I was looking for a month/year of the post that would let me know if I was reading current info or old news. Of course, if you add that component, it means the section has to be updated regularly so it doesn’t have old news only.
    –Photos: The photos are beautiful, but they really didn’t tell me much except that you have a beautiful family and take great trips. I wouldn’t take them out because they provide a glimpse of who you are, but I might look for ways to increase the number of them or the variety. Think about what you want to convey through the photo section and then look for ways to “take” photos that showcase that concept.
    –Comment section: I wasn’t interested in reading it, BUT don’t take it out. This is a great way to stay in touch with your fans and to build those relationships! I was totally impressed that each comment was answered by the someone (web master). My only suggestion would be to have the responding comment indicate that you, Emilie, are commenting in order to further build the relationship and show that you are directly involved with the web site.

    If you click on any book cover, you receive lots of information: Overview, Inspiration, Recipes, Praise, Reader’s Guide, Excerpt. Are you surprised to learn all that information is available? I LOVED IT! Thought they were great ideas and have mentioned at least three times already.

    I’m considering a new category called Extras. Among other things “Extras” will have contest/giveaway information, and the recipes that are now on each book page to make them easier to find. Can you think of anything else “extra” you might like to see?

    –Not really, but what is the common theme(s) through all of your books (or most of your books). I discovered you through the Shenandoah Series, which focused on families and relationships. Is there anything else that you might offer your fans that would reinforce that concept or theme that runs through your writing? Do you have any special interests (other than quilting) that you might want to share with your fans?

    Would you like to see a Goddesses Anonymous category with links to articles about people who make a difference, inspirational quotes, perhaps some pages about characters with photos? Would you be likely to visit those pages?

    Qualifier: I haven’t read any of the Goddesses Anonymous series, yet.

    Love the idea about characters with photos to show how you develop your characters, but that appeals to the writer in me and learning about your creative and writing process.

    The features on people who make a difference or the inspirational quotes could be included in this new section, but I think they lend themselves to Facebook posts–> which, of course, could link back to this section. Also, could you turn it into a contest where someone nominates someone who is making a difference and you or your publisher chooses a winner. The winner could then receive a gift card (dining out? books?) or some other “gift” and an award or plaque: Goddesses Anonymous Award for Unsung Heroines/Heroes. You might be able to get some press from it, and/or partner with one of the morning TV shows (Good Morning America, etc.) to give the award out as a surprise to someone around a special day or week (Volunteer recognition day, Mother’s Day, you name it).

    Just a few random thoughts as I finish my lunch hour.

    Mostly, I loved the fact that your web site was very clean looking, the information was concise, and the artwork is beautiful. It represents you well. Don’t worry about being everything to everybody. Choose the main concepts you want to emphasize and stay with that. The warmth and coziness of your brand comes across well.

    Looking forward to exploring your blog!

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    Susan Isola
    sisola . wpf at gmail . com

    • Emilie Richards on November 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      These comments blew me out of the water, Susan. So helpful and so creative, too. I’m making certain to keep track of every one of them, and I’m so delighted you took the time to put your thoughts here. So many good things to consider.

  3. Laurie Clinton on November 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I like your website – it will be fun to see the updated you.
    I think it is very user friendly – you can go for more indepth info and just scan. I like having the recipes in one place versus in each book. LOVE the idea of Goddesses Anonymous category. Just wish I didn’t have to wait so long in between your book releases. I loved the Christmas Wedding Quilt.

    • Emilie Richards on November 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      So glad you liked our wedding quilt anthology. Thanks so much for the comments.

  4. SueAnn Beer on November 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    well…your site is fine with me- I agree about being able to enlarge the books when clicked on…you have a drop down box for the “extras” already- you could add recipes…
    Our Library had the same web site for over 30 yrs…and it was just fine. This year they decided to upgrade, improve, etc..and now it is most difficult. One page to log in, another tab opens to your account and another opens for search. I have stopped using the Library web site..which is sad, as I am in the far country…I have to make plans for a trip in….I use it ONLY if I am desperate enough to use it….I am buying more books now..then before.
    Update your pic, poochie too….but, for ease of use..your site is VERY user friendly.

    • Emilie Richards on November 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks so much SueAnn. Poochie looks much the same, but me, not so much.

  5. Ola Norman on December 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I found the website easy to use. Love all the info about the books. The extras are a nice bonus. Keep writing great books and don’t worry too much about the website.

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