When I first left the comforts of full-time employment two-and-a-half years ago, I thought about launching a Web site. But I wasn't sure what to include, how to organize, how I wanted it to function, etc. I'm glad I waited because now I'm pretty definite about what I want.
Coming soon is www.wendyahoke.com. Creative Ink is taken as a domain name, so after wracking my brain for clever site names, it was my wise hubby's suggestion to just use my byline. I've registered the domain and my good pal and designer Brian Willse, who will be designing, suggested I also register wendyhoke.com in case folks miss the middle initial.
WHAT I WANT:
Simplicity Is it me or do writers have some pretty complicated and overwhelming sites? I want people to find the basics and find them quickly—home, bio, articles, books, blog, news, contact.
Professional I can't stand Web sites that look as if a 10-year-old constructed them, all junky and cluttered and amaeteurish. That's why I've opted NOT to use iWeb or any of that homemade software. Writing is a business not a hobby for me and I want my site to reflect that I'm a professional who gets paid to write. Here and here are a couple of writer sites I like as models, not necessarily for design but for navigation, content and simplicity.
Archive My bookshelves, closet and basement comprise my morgue of articles. It's overwhelming to me to fathom properly archiving all my work. So I'm creating a virtual space that allows me to showcase my most recent and best work. Since my pitching focuses primarily on national publications these days, I find many editors ask if I have a site where they can see my work. Time is of the essence now.
Business cards As in, I need to order more business cards. But I didn't want to do so without incorporating my Web site and blog.
The blog I've had some trouble this summer keeping up with my blogging activities. I believe if Creative Ink is part of my Web site I'll be more purposeful in posting since it will also be used as a marketing tool.
Content management I want to be able to handle administration to update frequently. I'm constantly writing new stuff and I want to make sure new articles are posted. Plus, I'm including a news page with information about any speaking engagements, etc.
Expansion possibilities Down the line I'd like to offer a newsletter or some such method of communicating to subscribers.
WHAT I NEED
• Should the tone be personal (as in About Me and My Web Site, blah, blah) or should it be third-person (About Wendy, etc.)? Bear in mind that I'm striving for professional. My copy currently reflects how my bio is written, which is third person.
• Does anyone have suggestions on how to highlight work no longer available online? (18 months worth of PD articles?) And don't say scan, because newsprint looks like crap when scanned.
• Does it make sense to organize articles by topics or by publication? Within the topics or pubs they will be listed chronologically.
• Do I put a welcome message on home page or simply put up my navigation? Are welcome messages too hokey?
Of course I welcome any and all suggestions.