Pride’s Children: Great Website and Blog Redesign Project

If you are a new visitor, an occasional visitor, or one of my wonderful regulars, I crave your indulgence.

Why is my indulgence being craved? (craven?) now?

I’m getting very close to the end of my real (secret and nefarious) purpose for this blog/site: inducing you to try (if you haven’t already drunk the Koolaid) Pride’s Children, in the hopes that you will find it – and my other fiction offerings – something you simply can’t do without. This eventually means

1) spreading the word, and

2) possibly purchasing.

I say ‘possibly purchasing’ because, if I had to choose between the two goals, I would much rather you spread the word.

‘Spreading the word’ means recommendations to like-minded readers. Nothing more.

There will be other, highly optional parts:

  • Leaving a review on Amazon (please wait until there is actually a book there!)
  • Having me as a guest on your blog (please do not rush out and create one just for this purpose)
  • Buying the limited-edition, gold-leaf embossed leather-bound hard-cover version (I will refund your ebook investment when and if this is a possibility and you actually purchase one)
  • Writing about me in the New York Times (so many caveats there I don’t know where to begin)
  • Putting my children in your will (I’m probably older than you are, so putting ME in your will is not likely to benefit me)
  • … (gets more fanciful as we go on).

What is this indulgence you speak of?

I’m redesigning this blog – and doing it myself – so it’s going to be slow and awkward. I have a number of folk land on the Home page / Archives – but I don’t think they are converting: ie, clicking through to PC and reading and getting caught in the magic (magic? I thought this was mainstream!).

Instead, they land on my latest blog post, lose interest almost immediately, and get the heck out of here before I can whisper sweet nothings in their virtual ears.

Pray tell, how will you fix it?

I believe this is my fault – and the fixing thereof lies in my hands thusly: go back to the original format, with a front page for a welcome/landing page (instead of the blog).

Separate out the different kinds of blog posts – so that people interested in how I write in spite of having CFS can go see those posts/pages, the folk following Holly’s Tiny House DragonFlys adventure are led directly there, and readers are led to the readables, Pride’s Children first and foremost.

I am, after all, offering a serialized novel free on the web – and writing sort of live (same as crossing the Grand Canyon on a high wire, only more public because the internets are forever), and I have a nice (though small) group of addicted readers who keep showing up and saying nice things so I can’t be a total dud (besides, I can usually spell). This high-wire act should have some entertainment value (Look! There she goes again! Can she actually keep this up?) to those who follow unfinished work.

In other words, get to work and clean up my act and put the cute chinchilla pictures where only the most determined animal lovers will find them (sorry, Gizzy).

Present a more professional appearance. More/better images and quotes.

Take readers into consideration instead of writing and posting randomly for my own selfish pleasure (What? You don’t think I do this for fun? It’s a blast!).

Finish that cover. Put up several versions for voting. Listen to the voters (now that’s a thought).

Get serious about interior formatting, cover copy, book description, etc., etc. – and run them past you for your considered opinion.

Have a sample of the beginning you can download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (lots more readers, including Nook), and .pdf format.

What do you want from visitors?

That their experience be smooth and pleasant.

If you feel like it, complaints when I don’t provide the above. Honestly, you guys are all saints. You never complain.

What do you want from regulars?

Patience – and your most opinionated opinions. I promise I can take them – and will use them to improve.

And no complaints when I take away everything else, including posts other than the weekly tickler, while I get it under control and ‘better.’

When I get it set up, your permission to send you a very occasional newsletter/announcement. IF you want it. (When I figure out how, I will put a sign-up option.)

What are you offering in exchange?

The weekly scene posting will continue unabated for your reading pleasure; when I’m through with Book 1, I will almost immediately start posting the scenes from Book 2. Writing first.

A site/blog improved by everything I’ve learned in a couple of years now of blogging regularly (though I may have to wait until I host on my own site rather than a free WordPress blog for some of the features).

And, if you have been proactive and suggested something useful, that feature.

What say you?

(BTW, thundering silence means you’re fine with all the above.)

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17 thoughts on “Pride’s Children: Great Website and Blog Redesign Project

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    I think this redesign will be a good thing. I’ve visited your blog a few times trying to get to know you better, but it happened as you say: I landed on your latest post (a chapter from your book, which is quite far along at this point) and didn’t know where to go from there.

    I redesigned my site earlier this year, so I know what a pain it can be. Just take your time and have fun playing around with WordPress’s many options. (If you’re planning to change your theme, be warned – there are HUNDREDS to choose from.)

    When it’s done, I’m sure it will be awesome, and then I’ll be able to know ALLLL about you! 🙂

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  2. J.M. Ney-Grimm

    Sounds excellent, Alicia! I re-organized my author website a few months ago – whups! just checked and it was a little longer than a few: last January. I remember that I was nervous, afraid that I was fixing something unbroken. After I’d done the deed, I wondered what all my fuss was about. My reasons were similar to many of yours. Good luck with your redesign! I’m eager to see what you develop…plus, I always like spouting off my opinions! 😉

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    1. J.M. Ney-Grimm

      One other thought: you can do quite a bit with the free WordPress sites. Case in point: the WordPress site for Quantum Zoo.

      I tried to post the link for any curious would-be website re-designers, but I discovered that you don’t permit comments with links. My apologies! I didn’t mean to contravene your rules for your site.

      Edited to add link:
      Alicia,

      This was the link I was attempting to post.

      Totally up to you regarding posting it yourself. You might try posting it in the comments to see if your blog allows *you* to post a link or not.

      http://zquantumzoo.wordpress.com/

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      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

        I checked my comment settings – it will hold comments with more than 2 links in moderation (to minimize spam), but I didn’t see where I was not allowing them. I check Settings/General, Reading, and Discussion – if you know more than I do, please tell me. My WordPress for Dummies is too rudimentary, and the help/support/forums are hit or miss. This is when I wish I knew what I were doing.

        If you can’t post them, send me the links in an email – I’ll post them, at the end of the post if necessary. Thanks.

        The QZ launch was nicely done; a separate, book-only website for PC is an eventual goal. I may think of it sooner rather than later. Good idea.

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        1. J.M. Ney-Grimm

          Thanks for your kind words about QZ’s launch. It was a very different experience for me. since I have always “soft launched” my books. I’ve learned some things that I’ll be using on future launches, definitely.

          Regarding WordPress and comments…I’m not an expert. I can generally make WordPress behave for me, but not always. I included only one link in my attempted comment, but received an automated message when I clicked the “post comment” button. The automated message indicated that my comment could not be posted. I don’t remember the exact words. I assumed the problem was the link. I will try again and make a not of the exact words, so that I can tell them to you.

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        2. J.M. Ney-Grimm

          I tried again, and this is what the automated message said:

          “Sorry, this comment could not be posted.”

          So…it was the link that was causing it to appear. Not sure what to suggest.

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        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I’ve had those uninformative messages – on other blogs when I tried to post.

          I’ll figure it out.

          Meanwhile, if you have something that might cause a problem (I HATE losing comments), save it in a text file or email before you post it, and send it to me if it doesn’t post. Since you posted the information, it was obviously a hard failure (repeatable) for you, which is much better than an intermittent one. Imagine, in over two years, you’re the first to post a link (I’ll have to check that).

          I’ll track it down as part of the redesign process.

          I appreciate you sticking with it – at least i have a symptom to work from.

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        4. J.M. Ney-Grimm

          😀

          When my blog was dishing out wonky error messages to would-be commenters, I appreciated learning the exact message they received. I still took me too long to delve to the source – turned out it was one of my plug-ins – but I eventually got there. Luck!

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  3. kyrahalland

    When you’re ready to launch the book, contact me and I’ll do a launch feature on you! Good luck with the blog redesign; I agree that a landing page is nice to have 🙂

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks, Kyra. That’s really sweet of you.

      I’m getting there – started making lists…

      I like to do things myself at least once in this new publishing culture – then I’ll know what to hire out and how.

      But I’m still working with that slow brain.

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