Frolics and The Website; My Revolution Is Happening
In 2022, I’m not going to be part of the website-less generation.
I’m website-less. Well, sort of.
I did have an excuse for a website for a good half of this year, a landing page that captured email addresses. But as websites go, it was nothing. It didn’t even do the bare basics of letting me communicate a message to people. In my mind, this website doesn’t count.
And my profile on Medium, my newsletter, my blogography, doesn’t belong to me. Neither does my Pinterest or Twitter. They are my little slices of myself on other people’s websites. They are the ones benefiting, at the end of the day, and they can kick me off their website at any time. It doesn’t make sense to rely completely on them.
Whether I want to or not, it’s time for a website dedicated to my career to come to life. The problem is where to start.
The good thing is I know a few things about website design
If you’re new in my life, first of all, welcome to the madness. But second of all, in my past life, I was a website designer. I had my own business, where I designed websites on WIX.com. I helped DIY enthusiasts take hold of their design woes and have a website they could run.
Love or hate WIX, that’s up to you. It’s like the Kardashians of the design world. You either adore, fangirl, or you troll and loath what it’s all about. I made a decent living doing that for some time, so I know what goes into any website, WIX or doesn't.
I am apprehensive about going online, especially with my previous skills. The pressure is on to get this right, with the expectations stacked high by me and everyone else who knows about my past experience. I thrive under pressure but this is the next level of pressure. This is an elite expectation I don’t know anyone could live up to.
The road ahead of me
I want to share with you how the design process is going. Not only do I want to share in the excitement as it all comes together, but I know you’re keeping me accountable. In advance, I say thank you.
Here is the gigantic list of what I need to do with the website, everything I need to include on the site and where I’m at so far with these tasks. Or not, as the case may be.
This website needs a solid page that gives fans and readers a brief overview of my business and what I offer. I’m part of the way through the home page, as there is so much to add to this page and keep relevant.
One thing I need to do is invest in seriously good images of me. I have some I’ve taken myself but they aren’t recent nor do they quite fit the design. I like putting the design in place and then taking images to suit the design. It’s the reverse of trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
Here are my rules for images on a website. As much as social media images are great, a website has a professional level we need to meet. This website is competing with people with bigger budgets and expert teams to help them. I have to rival them somehow, and images help do this. The rules are:
Clear, crisp images are the way to go, always. I’m thinking clean backgrounds, whites or grey, that I can easily add my colourful filters and distorted effects against. With all the colours and text already on the home page, I don’t need overly complicated backgrounds pulling focus.
Images taken on a digital camera or higher in quality will always win over mobile phone images. I have my SLR and I intend on using it to capture the perfect pictures. I have a remote for it too, so I can set it up and take the pictures myself. Saving money on a photographer, a win for this cash-poor writer.
High-quality images that look clear when scaled to a background or stretched to fit the screen. My initial mockup has a full-width banner, so I need to make sure it scales without pixelating on every type of device. It’s easy to get images that work on a phone, but I always imagine my website on the big screen. You have to see how it will look in all sizes.
Consistency of the images. I always advocate taking images at the same place and time, every time you create images for a website. Again, on social media, you can get away with inconsistencies but this is a website and cohesion is a priority. The whole casual approach to imagery doesn’t apply to websites, even if it is style on social right now.
Here is the design of the home page as we speak. I haven’t edited it since my column ended, or since really putting in the hours to the Frolics. That means there are many areas to edit and add to this.
An about page
This is the section of your website where you say who you are, who the business is, what the business is about, and the story of the business. The name says it all. Despite this, many people seem to stuff it up. I'm determined not to be one of them.
Worst crime? I’ve seen so many people address this in a small part on the home page. Whilst it’s fine to do that, especially if copywriting isn’t your thing, you’re robbing people of what they want to know. It's giving the tiniest amount to an area that deserves the most.
For me, I am my business. I can’t hide behind products or reviews. I am my product, so I need to make sure it’s front centre. The problem facing me is that I haven’t written about myself, in this type of way, in a long time. What happens could be interesting.
For me, my contact page needs to feature my precious social media links and a contact form for easy access. I’m not that sort of business where I provide my phone number, not like stores where customers need an instant connection with the business. What I offer isn’t urgent. I’m not devaluing what I do, but I’m not a surgeon who needs to be on call.
Some entrepreneurs have told me not to distract my website visitors by adding links to my social media. "Click it and they will leave." But I want them to click it. How else with they know I'm on social media? Be wary of people giving you anti advice like this. This is when knowing why you're doing what you're doing is paramount. I want my website to be a portal for everything I'm doing. Not putting social links goes against this.
I have concerns, wonderings, about adding the following two elements to my site. A blog and a members' area. It's only right to break down my hesitations. And maybe you can offer your insight into how you find these features considering we have such complex social media now.
The Blog dilemma
I have blogs already. I have Medium, my Frolics right here, why do I need something else? I love the idea of having another blog, something special for my website. The SEO alone would help me build my presence. But I’m not convinced. Do people still visit personal blogs like this? I know I don’t.
The members-only area
A members-only area is for exclusive conversation and content. The problem is they don’t work if you don’t have a good membership base in the beginning.
A famous person could easily add a membership section to their site at any notice and people would go there, interact, sign up. For me, it would be empty until people sign up. It takes a lot of work to bring the masses to a site like this, and convince them to keep coming back to a site that isn’t part of their routine. I'm not convinced. What about you?
Who else is designing right now? Share your website story with me and your designs. I want to see what you come up with!
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Ok, so this isn't enough for you?! Damn, I love your style! You can reach me and get more right here 👇