Ahhh, spring is in the air and along with it comes the urge to update, refresh and renew everything.
From closets to backyards, whipping things into shape with a fresh coat of this or a rearranging of that is a freeing and exciting feeling.
Little do authors know, their online spaces need the same TLC and cleaning to stay fresh and relevant!
Spring Cleaning for your Author Website
You loved it when you first started your author site. The colors, the layout, the images, your bookstore– everything fit together perfectly.
But as your business grew, your personal mission evolved, or you added more and more products or services to your line-up…your needs changed too. Just like you won’t likely wouldn’t keep the wallpaper in your kitchen that was all the rage 5 years ago, you won’t keep your site theme and appearance, either.
But taking on a blog makeover can be an overwhelming task. There are dozens of things to consider, such as:
- Your logo – will you have it redesigned or stick with the same one?
- Your colors – will you be making a dramatic change or something more subtle?
- Your layout – how will readers know where to find important information if you move it?
- Categories and tags – will you need new ones? What will that do for your SEO?
- Your navigation-can readers find what they need quickly and easily on your site?
Pretty soon you throw up your hands in frustration and decide to just stick with the tried and true.
But with a little planning, you can easily (and even inexpensively) redesign your entire blog – and you can even do it yourself.
Every Worthwhile Journey Begins with a Map
The first thing you should do before you begin your blog makeover is to sit down and plan things out. Take some time to think about the ‘why’ behind the makeover. Once you’re clear on why you want to make a change, it will be much easier to plan.
When you’re still in the planning stage, take time to consider:
SEO – you probably already had SEO in place on the old design of your site but now is the chance to reevaluate and step things up a notch. Or, if you hadn’t done any – or very little – optimization with the ‘old’ blog, this is the perfect opportunity to start and do it right. You’re going to have to spend some time researching keywords and phrases to find ones that will be a good fit for the audience you reach and the purpose of your blog.
Layout – think about how you want your site to look. Get a piece of paper and a pen and literally ‘map’ out how you want things to look. Draw (make note of) what you want to be above the fold and below the fold. How many sidebars do you want? Do you want them all on the same side or a sidebar on the left and then one on the right?
Opt-in – don’t forget to think about your opt-in box and where you’re going to put this. Are you going to create a landing page for it, put it on the sidebar of every page, or both? A good rule of thumb for an opt-in box on the main page of your blog is to have it above the fold on the right-hand sidebar.
Research – take some time to look at several other blogs. Jot down notes of the things that you like, as well as the things you don’t like. A little ‘cheat’ trick – if you notice something you like but aren’t sure what it is or how they did it – is to view the page source and more than likely with a little sleuthing on your part, you will find the info you’re looking for. Once you have a list of things you like, try to incorporate them into your blog makeover.
Color – think about the color scheme you want to go with during your blog makeover. One thing to keep in mind is to stay away from dark backgrounds (like black) with light font colors (such as white). It’s hard on the eyes, and won’t work for most audiences. The exception to this is if your market is young men in the music or gaming industries. Then a dark background is fine. For most other markets, your best bet is to go with white background and black or dark gray text. Then pull colors into your site in the header, sidebar, headings, and graphics.
If you take the time to plan things out first, your author site update with go smoother and it will be easier to stick to the goal(s) of the site and what you want the makeover to accomplish.
One More Thing..,
Does your heart long to roam? Find new adventures? Maybe even go on a Pilgrimage?
Evans Bowen’s new book, Pilgrimage: A Modern Seeker’s Guide, speaks to those who crave spiritual travel and soul-seeking adventures.
“A pilgrimage creates a sacred space where your physical body and heart can meet and meld into one. As the sacred space opens more light shines in and new vistas, ideas, languages, and experiences bring you to a new place in your life you could never imagine before.”
A tradition of all religions, Pilgrimage is a journey to sacred sites as an act of devotion and dedication. It is time to expand the definition of Pilgrimage to inform modern life. Taking time to visit a place near home or around the globe, to open the mind and heart to the Divine, brings healing and new meaning to life. Pilgrimage is both an external journey to a place longed for and an internal journey to the center of our most authentic self.
Each part of the journey, from the first desire to visit a holy place, to the return home to integrate the experience, becomes the pilgrimage to expand our world, both body and soul. Combining practical steps for the physical journey and 40 days of inspiration for the spirit, this guidebook gives this time-honored journey to the Divine to inform the whole person in our increasingly fragmented world.
Click here to view deeper details on this beautiful new book.