Tada! Here it is, the new and improved Medusa’s Muse website, complete with merchandise and blog in one place. I loved the look of the old website, but it was difficult to keep updated. While trying to teach myself DreamWeaver, I discovered there’s a reason people take college courses to learn it. So after switching the press blog to WordPress and playing with the interface for a while, I decided I wanted a new website built on this program.
That’s when I called Maggie.
Maggie Martin is a wizard of design and WordPress, as well as a fabulous musician (click the link, The Mad Maggie’s, to see how fabulous she and her band-mates are). I handed her a thumb drive filled with data from the old site and explained my scattered ideas:
- an easy to update blog
- I want to sell merchandise again
- I love the look of the old site, but wonder if it could be more streamlined
- lots of pictures and other media
- I really like blue.
- did I say easy to update?
Then she started asking me questions:
- Do you want one page for all the books or should each book have it’s own page?
- What kind of info do you want for each book? Do you have reviews?
- Where are all the books sold? Are you an affiliate?
- Do you have a Paypal account? A sales cart? How will you mange sales and inventory?
- Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Linked In? Google +? Flicker? Pin It? Stumble Upon?
- Do you want a Staff page?
- Where are your high resolution images rather than low resolution cell phone images?
- Do you have a press kit?
- Have you ever used meta tags before? Do you know what SEO means?
There were a lot more questions and as she asked them, I realized I had no idea how to make a website.
Websites are more complicated than just picking a pretty template, deciding on a color, loading some pictures and then waiting for the customers to show up. That may be fine for a simple blog or if you’re keeping a site as a hobby, but if you are trying to make money with your website, it’s a whole new world. With a million books and thousands of authors out there, how can I make Medusa’s Muse stand out on the net? How will my website show up in search engines? How can I help my authors sell more books? While working with Maggie, I learned more about marketing on the internet, and how to “drive traffic.”
Before you create a website, you need to do your homework and make a plan. What is the goal of creating a website? What image are you trying to convey? What information is mandatory for your audience? What are the standards for your industry? How far from that standard do you want to be, and why? How much time can you devote to keeping your website updated and fresh? How much can you do on your own, and where do you need help? Unless you are an HTML guru, or best friends with one, or have a lot of money, you’ll need to find the right program for your needs. How important is it to have your own, unique domain name (medusasmuse.com), or is it fine to use someone else’s (terenascott.blogspot.com)? Why? If you’re selling merchandise, how will you deal with filling those orders? Which shopping cart system will you use? Will you allow advertising on your website to help generate income? How much money can you spend on the site to keep it running? Will the website design grow with your business, or will you need another new site in a few years?
Be honest with yourself, especially when deciding how much you can DIY a website. It’s worth it to hire someone who can help you plan a site that will fit your needs and help your business grow. When starting this process, I didn’t know just how helpful having a web designer would be. I love my new website, even though it’s not blue, and I think it meets the needs of Medusa’s Muse perfectly. I can update it on my own, which was the number one reason I needed a new website.
Theoretically I can update it on my own. This is my first blog post on the new site; let’s see if I actually get it to post on the right page. Otherwise, I’ll be calling Maggie again.