Edith here, still waddling from all the delicious Thanksgiving food!
Thankful for Our Readers Giveaway: I’m giving away an Author apron, plus one of my three 2017 books: Mulch Ado About Murder, the fifth book in her Local Foods Mystery series, Called to Justice, Quaker Midwife Mystery #2, and When the Grits Hit the Fan, the third Country Store Mystery. Winner’s choice! Leave a comment below for a chance to win.
Today I want to share some great news, and some process. I recently hired a Digital Strategies expert to bring my author web site into the current era. Up to now, I’ve been doing my own web work. WordPress.com is pretty easy, has pre-made templates, and is free. Still, my web site was looking kind of clunky, kind of outdated. It didn’t have much security to speak of, and I am pretty clueless on search engine optimization (SEO) – which means people looking for me can find me. I’m a writer, not a web designer or a graphics person, and I have a lot to learn about marketing strategies.
So I entered into conversations with Christine Green. She happens to be local and a friend. I knew she had managed social media for political campaigns and does great video editing (she filmed my book-launch walking tour last year and created a fabulous five-minute promo video). She creates all kinds of digital marketing strategies for companies big and small. We met in downtown Amesbury and talked through the way she works and what she can provide — but we could have held our meeting on the phone, too. Being local is just a plus.
I was sold. Together we decided to take my web site to the next level. A new design. A real events calendar. Much-improved content in all kinds of areas. Better usability on digital devices of all sizes. Great author photos. I thought the process was interesting so I’ll walk you through it before I let you peek at the new site.
First, I paid Christine to do an assessment of the current site. She pointed out all kinds of areas we could improve on. When I said, “Let’s go for it,” she jumped in. She started the process by giving my current site a deeper review. I agreed to move to WordPress. org, a paid application that provides much more flexibility and capabilities for a modern web site.
Not long after that, she had a draft site for me to look at — and lots of questions! We went back and forth (mostly on email or by phone) with decisions, photos, descriptions. I came up with better wording about the kinds of public speaking I do and the kinds of mysteries I write. She created a much improved About page, telling the story of my path to becoming a multi-published author. I sent along cover jpegs and author-event photos. She suggested tactics on how to bring in readers and add subscribers to my newsletter list. I offered edits and clarifications. She trained me on how I can do my own updates. We were a team in the best sense of the word.
Finally we launched, just a couple of weeks ago. Take a look!
I’m so happy with the look and feel – it’s light and airy, and the colors all work nicely, as does the functionality. Behind the scenes I have much better security and better optimization for readers who search for my name or my books.
Christine has been a professional all the way along. I highly recommend her to anyone looking to update and renovate their web site and their digital strategies.
Readers: Tell me your favorite part of my new site. How often do you visit author web sites? What do you look for? Writers: What platform do you use for your web site? Have you updated it lately? Everyone: Catch a typo and I’ll send you a free book separately from today’s giveaway!
Looks great, Edith. I especially love the countdown clock to the next release! I’ve made a note of Christine’s name and company. Hubs currently does my webpage and I like it but like the cobbler’s child…
I’m so glad you like it, Kait!
I’m glad you like the countdown clock Kait! It was one of my first ideas for Edith’s new site! As a web designer, I think from the perspective of the web visitor. In this case current or future fans of Edith’s mysteries. And what fan doesn’t want to know the exact moment of the next release? 🙂
It’s a great new site! As a reader, I like that so much info is available on the home page. But the easy to use drop down menu led me directly to the right section and eventually a fun crossword. Still searching for any elusive typos! ☺
Glad you found the crossword! There will be another for the next Country Store mystery.
I usually look at authors on blogs such a this one. That way I get my favs in one spot and learn about new releases too. I think the new site is colorful and bright.
That how I use other authors’ sites, too. Glad you like the new one!
I love the look of your new website. The countdown to your next release is a great added touch. I am not too computer savy, so to have so much information available on the home page is a bonus 🙂 I look forward to coming back to your site. I am very happy for you.
I’m really glad you like it, Lily-Ann.
I like that it looks clean and is easy to navigate. I’m looking at it on my phone, which is usually the least attractive view of a website, and yet yours still looks functional and smooth. Very nice job. I like to look at an author’s website when I’m interested in a book they’re releasing, and to see what else they’ve written.
I didn’t catch any typos. 😔
I love that it works on small digital devices as well as bigger screens!
I look at writer’s Web sites to learn about the authors and what they have written. Also, to see when their next book is going to be available, so, I especially love your countdown! Very nice job. Easy to look at on my NOOK.
Great that it looks good on your Nook, Jane. I’m pleased to hear that!
Wow, Edith! Your new website is DOPE, as the kids say. 🙂 It’s a gorgeous, welcoming gateway to “Edith World.” I REALLY like how yours uses a WordPress platform but doesn’t look like it. Very nice. Interesting: I noticed there’s no newsletter signup form. I’d love to know if that’s sort of a new trend, even though conventional wisdom is all about “the money’s in the list.” Anyway, I bookmarked Christine’s page. (She doesn’t have a newsletter forme, either, I noticed.) Frankly, I’ve been dithering about setting up a list on either blog and would be stoked to know I’m ahead of the curve, if there is one, on something. 🙂 Anyway, congratulations on your gorgeously renovated digital real estate! <3
Thanks so much, Rhonda! “Dope” – I’ll have to look into that. There actually is a newsletter signup form on the home page, though – scroll down to find it (look for “Don’t Miss any Mystery Updates!”).
Thanks, Edith! And it’s in a big blue frame, too. Doh! #MoreCaffeineStat!
Thanks for your kind words about the site I created for Edith. She does have a newsletter sign-up – It’s right below the 4 book covers – “Don’t Miss any Mystery Updates!” But it’s interesting that you missed it…perhaps because the word “Newsletter” wasn’t used? That was intentional and the sign-up form is quite prominent. I have any number of reasons why I don’t have an email sign-up form on my own site – and none of those reasons are valid! So to answer your question – no it’s not a trend to not have a newsletter sign-up. Email marketing is still one of the best marketing strategies (however there is an art and science to doing it effectively). 🙂
Thank you, Christine. I suspect my missing Edith’s contact form has more to do with a) the Monday after a long holiday weekend. b) my brain defaulting to “bot mode” as I sought “newsletter” like a keyword, and c) insufficient caffeination. 🙂 I agree about newsletters/emails being an art form of their own, especially for authors. I suspect it’s also highly individual to each author as well as that particular target audience. Anyway, and I can’t say it often enough, you did a lovely job on Edith’s site. Beautiful work, and thank you for responding to my comment.
Great design, Edith. I use WordPress (the paid version) for my site. Maybe someday when I get a book published I’ll pay a professional to help me redo it.
It was totally worth it for me, Liz/Mary!
Love the site. If I was still doing monthly reviews vs just posting upcoming releases I would also go to the pay side of worpress.com . I like the ease in the way you can move from one section to another and the great new look. Christine really does amazing work.
If by some chance of fate my name is chosen as the winner, I love a copy of “When the Grits Hit the Fan”.
Thanks so much, Noraadrienne. I love the new look, too!
I love the new site, Edith!
Interesting article. I also like the countdown clock but love the Girl Scout Photo.
Aww. I like that photo, too, Kathleen.
I love the colors of your new website! It’s very beautiful. I also like how easy it is to navigate. Good luck with it!
Thanks, Tina. I agree that Christine did a great job with the colors.
Your new site looks amazing, Edith!
I love the water color picture around your photo on the opening page. It just looks so YOU and welcoming.
The new site is so easy to manuever. I love the way the series are listed so you can go right to a particular series. I can’t tell you how much I love the printable list of all books!
Absolutely LOVE the ABOUT page. I love to know something more personal about the author of a book. Through past post I’ve read, the photos brought it all to life for me.
I love the picture, too, Kay. It’s actually an oil painting by Boston-area artist Jackie Knight, and was a birthday present from my best friend five years ago!
Great new look, incorporating the books and your work in an interactive way that reels the reader in – without giving up the watercolor or ‘you.’ Well done!
Isn’t it great, Patti!
Beautiful site, Edith. I’ve always loved your banner.
I use Wix because that’s what my web designer, Catherine Respess of Red Mare Design, uses. She’s trained me to do a lot of the work myself, but there are still many things I need her to do for me! I do like using their newsletter function better than Mailchimp – although at first I hated it. But now I’ve got it down and really enjoy putting the newsletters together.
Congratulations on a great new website!
Thanks so much, Ellen! I really like your site, too.
Christine did an amazing job! It looks great!
Agree, Sherry! Thanks so much.
My favorite part of your new website is how easy it is to find all of your series. The layout is great. I visit author’s websites when I want to find out more about them and their work and to sign up for newsletters. Thank you so much for the chance to win!
That was definitely one of the goals, Abby!
Finding some good authors to read on this blog. Thanks
I love the cheerful colors & how easy it is to navigate thru it.
Thanks – I do, too!
I love the new website! The painting really grabbed my attention! The site is very easy to use, from finding a list of your books to your upcoming events. What a wonderful website designer you have!
I’m so glad you like it – and yes, Christine is very talented.
You both did a awesome job ! I love
the painting of you sitting at the desk by the water. I love you showing the book series . I like everything about it!👍 I use my Facebook to look up authors, and also I’m on the Cozy mystery e-mail. Every day I look up books😊
Terrific! New! Current! Colorful! Eye catching! Great job!
I find Amish life interesting. We have Amish and Mennonites in our state.
How interesting – I wonder how different they are from Quakers.
I very much enjoyed the walking tour of sites mentioned in the Quaker Midwife series. Such a creative way to promote the series and teach some local history too!
Great! The tour was the brainchild of publicist Skye Alexander, and I love the video Christine made of the tour.
Betsy, you are the winner! Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which of my latest books you want, and I’ll get them in the mail. Congratulations!
Love the painting at the top and the countdown. I really enjoy your books! I try to visit author websites every month or so to see what’s new.
Thank you, Melissa!
I love the format and organization! I prefer using authors blogs.
Thanks, L. Glad you are here!
I really enjoyed seeing your new update and like another reader I’m glad that the watercolor is still there.I also like the count down clock and found it was easy to wander around and find a surprise or two. .
I’m glad you found surprises, Ruth!
I like to see if an author will be at an event in my area. Your events calendar is great.
Thanks! That’s another new presentation of it that Christine added.
Great new look! Nice format and easy to navigate and find info on your books and series. Countdown clock is a nice touch.
I’m pleased you like it, Dianne.
I love the website. The homepage has all the necessary info without being messy. I’m glad you used that wonderful painting as the top banner. The whole site is easy to navigate. I”m pretty computer literate, but difficult sites are difficult no matter what. Yours is so nice to “leaf” through.
I’m so glad it’s easy to peruse, Ginny.
She did a wonderful job! It’s clear and pretty, and it looked to be a fun collaboration.
I mostly check in for upcoming books and local appearances. My storytellermary.com redirects to WordPress (ever since Apple stopped “supporting” their iWeb), and it’s adequate for my less-professional and occasional work, but yours is professional, and there has to be a relief in having tech help. Hugs.
Very much relief to have someone as savvy as Christine set up things like security and search optimization, for sure, Mary.
. . . and you can concentrate on writing!
This website is absolutely beautiful. It makes me want to throw out our library’s website and start fresh! Hmmm! Topsfield is misspelled on your upcoming events list, but I doubt that it made a difference in attendance! 😉
Wow, Eileen, I think you are the first to find a typo! (and hopefully the only typo!) 🙂 The event will automatically remove itself from the calendar once it’s over but I’ll leave it for now so Edith can reward you!
Thanks, Eileen! Email your snail mail address to email@example.com and tell me which of my books you want and I’ll get it in the mail tomorrow.
I really like the new web site design, Edith! It is very clean and colourful.
I particularly like the author history – I learned a lot more about your beginnings and journey as an author. Love the various photos of you attending events, too
Since you have multiple series and pen names, it is good that each series is separated and easily found.
My one suggestion would be to also provide a one-page downloadable list of your series/book titles. When I go to an author’s web site for the first time, I am usually looking for their backlist of titles.
Thanks so much, Grace. A link to that list is actually there: https://edithmaxwell.com/books/
Ahhh, I missed seeing the downloadable link, Edith. I just clicked on each subpage of the Books section and looked at each of your series without scrolling further down on the main books page. I’m happy now!
Looking good to me. And I can’t wait for next January and your new series.
Thanks, Mark! Alas, it’s the next after next January – the first book comes out in 2019. (I can’t wait, too!)
Looks good and very easy to get through. Only I didnt see it as a secured site. That makes me worry a bit. Still great site!
Thanks, Kay. I’ll ask Christine about the secure site.
The site was secure, except there was one insecure image link that kept the green padlock from giving its stamp of approval. I fixed the glitch later that day. All secure now! 🙂
I love the new site. As soon as I saw it, I felt invited to come in and browse around. I Iove how colorful it is, the countdown clock, and the easy navigation. I’m on the hunt for the typos!
Thanks, Meg! I love it, too.
Wow, the new site is great! Love it so much that I bookmarked it for future access.
I like that it is so easy to navigate—and that on the very first page it lists all your series so that I can easily access them all.
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