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All Things Writing & Publishing > You guys, I would greatly appreciate feedback on my new site before I send it out into the world.

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Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments It's a hybrid author site/blog and my demographic is millennial parents. http://www.tarawoodsturner.com

Thank you in advance for any feedback and suggestion :)


message 2: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments Hi Tara, looks nice!!

I poked around the site a little and the buttons and links seem to work well. The "purchase download" button is a little confusing because it is not clear what sort of download (kindle? pdf? epub?) or how the purchase will work (paypal/credit card/Amazon redirect). I did not see a cart icon on the page, but clicking on "buy paperback" did send me to Amazon. So maybe something explaining payment method and how downloads are received (prior to checkout) might be useful. :)

I like to know how these things work on a website before I click "buy" or "checkout" on a site I'm not familiar with.

Your upcoming books sound excellent, by the way!


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Marie wrote: "Hi Tara, looks nice!!

I poked around the site a little and the buttons and links seem to work well. The "purchase download" button is a little confusing because it is not clear what sort of downlo..."


Thank you! Excellent points, as always. I'll clarify that before heading to bed.


message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Tara.

At work right now. I'll have a look later today.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Hi Tara.

At work right now. I'll have a look later today."


Good deal!


message 6: by Alex (last edited Oct 23, 2016 09:40PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Marie wrote: "Your upcoming books sound excellent, by the way!"

great title for your series, "Beyond..."; yea, "Beyond Chicken Nuggets" is such a humorous and spot-on title.

for millennials, especially, and even ancient x-geners like me, you might consider using a responsive/mobile-enabled theme. i use "Twenty Ten," but i haven't put in the effort to figure out how to get the picture banner in--otoh, you have a simple banner, so it might be displayed w/o any issues (or maybe you don't even need one). but there are a whole slew of responsive themes that come w/wordpress.

here's an example of a responsive theme:

zencho.org

i also think that this author covers pretty much all of the things that you'd want on an author website. one really important item is a press kit.

michaelhyatt.com also has a mobile view. he's also non-fiction, so that might be more well-suited to your venture. and, as a non-fiction author, at some point, you might also consider speaker engagements. ;)

Not too sure what the media page is supposed to do. wouldn't it usually be for your media appearances? when i click on them, it's just a slideshow.

a few nits/questions:
1) for the "newsletter signup", the "last name" text should be on top of the entry field like it is for "first name".
2) an extraneous " Coming soon!" and "m" at the bottom of the home page.
3) isn't it usually "Contact" rather then "Connect"? in general, it's good to use whatever is the prevalent wording for menus and sections of a website to enable users to more quickly navigate your site.
4) for consistency and unity of your website, i'd use the exact same buttons in terms of color, size, shape, and text style.
5) (this is totally an opinion) i like the simplicity and professionalism that your banner exudes; however, the font seems a little thin and spread out and the blue is a little too deep and bright and hence glaring.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Alex G wrote: "Marie wrote: "Your upcoming books sound excellent, by the way!"

great title for your series, "Beyond..."; yea, "Beyond Chicken Nuggets" is such a humorous and spot-on title.

for millennials, espe..."


Uh-oh...I am using 2010!
Your feedback is crazy awesome. Anyone who doesn't ask group members for help is missing out on a goldmine...


message 8: by Alex (last edited Oct 24, 2016 12:14AM) (new)

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "Uh-oh...I am using 2010!"

sorry. i was wrong. "Twenty Ten" is not responsive. i have to also use a plugin, "WPtouch Mobile Plugin".

i'm using "Weaver II" which is responsive on my other website. for Weaver II, i don't like the bright blue "Full site" button it places in the upper right corner of the mobile site. so, I would recommend finding another template that you like and is responsive. on your themes page, click Add New and then in the Search themes field, enter "responsive" and you'll come up w/all the themes that are responsive.

EDIT: there's also some interesting GR apps (auto-pub your GR reviews) and widgets (but i think most of the widgets are static and hence not that interesting) that you can install on your website.


message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 593 comments Hi Tara,

I think everyone covered the few things I would say. I like the site. I'm going to add your blog to my list.

Best of luck!
Denise


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14977 comments Cool site, Tara, well done!
I guess I come late and most things are already covered, but best of luck with it from me too!


message 11: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Tara,

It's an impressive site.

Well done.

Like Nik, I'm kinda pipped at the post by all the useful comments above.

Cheers Graeme


message 12: by Leer (new)

Leer Es | 24 comments Hey Tara,
You have a wonderful site and I loved your blog.


message 13: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments I'm new here, so maybe I'm missing the zeitgeist, but if you want actual critique, I can bring it. It just may sound a little harsh, but this is all meant to be helpful.

The look is a bit Geocities 1999. The cheesy animated gif taking up a whole lot of space above the fold on the first page really needs to go, especially if your target is millennials. If whatever first loads on the site isn't inviting or informative, most people won't click a link or even scroll down to see what you're offering. That "above the fold" first screen that load is your absolutely most valuable real estate, and it seems wasted.

As a new reader, I don't understand what "Life, Family, Home. Investing in what matters most" means, because I don't know you yet. Do you write about investing? Frugal living? I can't tell. In fact, I have to currently go to the shop page to find that out. As a reader, I go to the shop page after I've decided I want to purchase a book, not to find out what the book is about. Put the synopses and info that's currently on the shop page right on the front, don't make your readers work just to find out what you write. The shop page doesn't need all that stuff on it, just clear links to where you can buy the books (preferably using the store branding - use an Amazon button to link to Amazon, use a Kobo button to link there, etc.) And don't put books on the store page that you can't purchase, that just annoys potential purchasers. Then put the synopsis and other info where it can be useful: Either right on on the front or on a dedicated per-book page.

I'd put the book covers horizontally up top, right under the banner. Either have a brief synopsis right under each, or at least have them clickable that goes to an actual page about the book, and not directly to the store page. Don't put "Coming soon", put an expected publication date - We don't know what coming soon means (you didn't write a synopsis yet? The book isn't published yet? You didn't write the book yet?) and your soon might not be my soon .

Put some real content on the first page that makes it very clear who you are, and what you do, what your books are about, and why I as a reader, am going to be interested in your blog (maybe even feed the latest post from your blog to the front), your books, and bookmarking your site to come back.


message 14: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Krazykiwi - great feedback.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14977 comments Don't know whether Tara is gonna consummate the entire advice, but sounds thoughtful critique


message 16: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments I have to say I agree with Krazykiwi. You are doing yourself an injustice by not using one of the many modern themes available.

I did a quick Google search and found this list:

https://www.nimbusthemes.com/wordpress-themes-for-writers/

You can probably find something there that fits with what you want to do.

A few other things that I don't think have been mentioned:

1. You really need a title for your home page. Something like "Tara Woods Turner | Author of (your genre) books". Your other pages have one, but not your home page. For SEO purposes, you definitely need a title.

2. There is a Wordpress plugin that helps with SEO. I can't remember the name, but it's famous. It'll help you get all the metadata setup properly.

3. I'd consider getting a professional photo done.

4. You have "About the Author" and "My Blog"/"My Bookstore". I think it would make sense to standardize them. If you want to use "My" then you should use "About Me." If not, then just "Blog" and "Bookstore"


Hope that helps!


message 17: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments Just joining the party . . . I'm with Krazykiwi

I'm going to give my feedback like I don't know Tara (so don't be disheartened by my very critical comments. they're what I would think if I bumped into your website without knowing the owner)

the colour scheme doesn't really work for me. the grey, white and deep blue just doesn't flow well in my eyes.

there's a lot of wasted space at the header. I hate that in a website cos it means more scrolling down for me.

there's no tab icon or rather you have left a generic one

your banner hasn't populated well on the screen. the height seems a little bit too small making the letters seem truncated. on my laptop screen at least

seriously that white is so uninviting in my eyes. it looks very clinically. a massive contrast to the inviting fireplace.

like already mentioned using the word investing doesn't tell much about you or what your books are about. the first thing that comes to mind is investing in a home.

permit my recommendation: put your picture and that of one of your books side by side and make a tag line based on what you and your book series is about. minimise the need for people to scroll down, say something along the lines of check out my other books here or make the home page focus on your current book, include a trailer if you have one, or make one using cut outs of reviews then include you talking to your audience about your inspiration for writing it and what they can expect from your other books max 90 secs.

as it is, I have not been inspired to check out the other pages.

when I see a website that says powered by wordpress, weebly etc etc I feel that the website owner doesn't think his/her business is worth investing in, so I don't invest in them either.

it is likely that you will get traffic as a result of your first book. it talks about sophistication, so the visitor would be expecting to see a sophisticated (visually appealling) website but it is far from that.

you need to sort out your website identity. at the moment, your website doesn't have a name. when you click on the twitter icon, it puts your weebsite url twice. you also need to customise it so that your twitter handle is included automatically

the text for your subscribe pop up doesn't inspire me. thoughtfully selected content from what type of topic?

instead of purchase download, would buy ebook be better?

instead of listing all your books on your page, wouldn't it be better to create a page for each of them? this way you can include the goodreads reviews widget and add to bookshelf widget.

I get the impression from your blog that you don't have an SEO plugin. if that's correct, I recommend you get one asap eg the yoast seo plugin. the free version is fantastic.

your blog shouldn't say leave a reply but leave a comment.

I think here's a good place to stop :D


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Alex G wrote: "Tara wrote: "Uh-oh...I am using 2010!"

sorry. i was wrong. "Twenty Ten" is not responsive. i have to also use a plugin, "WPtouch Mobile Plugin".

i'm using "Weaver II" which is responsive on my ot..."


This is excellent. I thought responsive meant one thing but I think clearly it must refer to something else, maybe compatibility with mobile devices? I will find a responsive theme today at some point. Thank you.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Denise wrote: "Hi Tara,

I think everyone covered the few things I would say. I like the site. I'm going to add your blog to my list.

Best of luck!
Denise"


Thank you for the encouragement. You and Jen Pattison are a huge part of why I decided to take the leap and get an author site. I can't thank you enough. This is a difficult job but I am invigorated by the process and whish I had done this sooner. I love it lol.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Hi Tara,

It's an impressive site.

Well done.

Like Nik, I'm kinda pipped at the post by all the useful comments above.


Cheers Graeme"


Thanks partner :)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Leer wrote: "Hey Tara,
You have a wonderful site and I loved your blog."


Thank you and I appreciate the encouragement. I thought my blogging 'voice' was too kooky but my husband told me with a straight face 'It's too late to change now" hahaha


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Krazykiwi wrote: "I'm new here, so maybe I'm missing the zeitgeist, but if you want actual critique, I can bring it. It just may sound a little harsh, but this is all meant to be helpful.

The look is a bit Geocitie..."


Wow! I kept waiting for the harsh but all I got was the awesome. Thank you for the detailed feedback. I've also copied it to my edits doc. Oh and a big welcome to the group!


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Kent wrote: "I have to say I agree with Krazykiwi. You are doing yourself an injustice by not using one of the many modern themes available.

I did a quick Google search and found this list:

https://www.nimbus..."


Question: I have found several themes that I liked in preview etc but when I install them I don't see any of the features I saw on it's demo page. It's as if no matter what theme I install and activate my content is still in the same places, looks the same and maybe only the menu changed slightly or one or two widgets disappeared. When I go to customize it only lets me adjust the same areas such as header, font, color etc. Things I'm not as interested in. I need more control over layout.

But thank you, as well, for the in-depth feedback.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Segilola wrote: "Just joining the party . . . I'm with Krazykiwi

I'm going to give my feedback like I don't know Tara (so don't be disheartened by my very critical comments. they're what I would think if I bumped ..."


I'm confused by the powered by wordpress comment. I am not using the free version of wordpress so i don't understand. How do i remove this? As for everything else I am starting to sound like a broken record but thank you SO much for the details. Without details it is hard to pinpoint the issues. :)


message 25: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments I'm not very familiar with wordpress, but I think what you're experiencing may be the free version of the theme. If you want all the features, you would need to pay for the theme.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Kent wrote: "I'm not very familiar with wordpress, but I think what you're experiencing may be the free version of the theme. If you want all the features, you would need to pay for the theme."

I see. I paid for my wordpress.org platform through my host but that doesn't seem to prevent it from looking free. Is this because I used a free theme? Will purchasing a theme give me that theme's full design suite as it appears in the demo? Thanks :)


message 27: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Kent: Good find on that article . Looks like I can modernize the look and feel of my personal site. ;)


message 28: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Tara: paying for wordpress gets you a few things like a custom domain. As far as I know, it doesn't include much in the way of themes. Themes are completely separate. They are often made by private individuals with the express purpose of making money.

It pays to shop around for a theme that does what you want. I think the point of the "freemium" model that most paid themes use is to give you a chance to evaluate the general look and feel.

In addition, most of the stuff you will add to your site, other than content, are modules. These are generally theme independent.

PM me if something I said wasn't clear. :)

Alex: you're welcome.


message 29: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments oops, didn't actually answer your question. sorry.

Yes, I think if you get a paid theme, it will stop looking "free"


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Kent wrote: "oops, didn't actually answer your question. sorry.

Yes, I think if you get a paid theme, it will stop looking "free""


This is very energizing. I now see how a paid theme can do most of my visual work for me. Thank you and I will take you up on your generous offer to PM you if I get stuck.


message 31: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments at the bottom of your page, it says powered by wordpress. you need to play with the settings to see where it is to remove it


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Segilola wrote: "at the bottom of your page, it says powered by wordpress. you need to play with the settings to see where it is to remove it"

Will do.


message 33: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments This thread has been amazing!! Making a website is daunting for some of us, but these replies have been helpful in showing me where my own website could use some tlc. Thank you, Tara and everyone :).


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Marie wrote: "This thread has been amazing!! Making a website is daunting for some of us, but these replies have been helpful in showing me where my own website could use some tlc. Thank you, Tara and everyone :)."

You said it better than I could have. I'm quite overwhelmed but in a good way. Goodreads forreva lol.


message 35: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14977 comments Regret that Tara is like a scapegoat on this one, but I'm sure she'll end up with a tremendous site -:).
Now if and when I decide to set up a site, I can just come to this thread and have lots of helpful tips from general layout through content to the tiny detail


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Nik wrote: "Regret that Tara is like a scapegoat on this one, but I'm sure she'll end up with a tremendous site -:).
Now if and when I decide to set up a site, I can just come to this thread and have lots of ..."


Lol!


message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Just to add on to what Segilola said about "color scheme " (aka color palette). What I'm seeing over the past few years is a trend towards muted colors; for example, the light blue for Michael Hyatt's name. A blue very very similar to that one is used by the UX designers at the company I work at for SaaS apps (cloud). Even here on GR, the browns, greens and blues are muted.

Another thing to note is that the shape of buttons and boxes no longer have sharp corners; they are rounded even if only slightly so.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Alex G wrote: "Just to add on to what Segilola said about "color scheme " (aka color palette). What I'm seeing over the past few years is a trend towards muted colors; for example, the light blue for Michael Hyat..."

This is interesting. I'm looking at paid themes now and it seems that some of them come with palette suites. I think the designers have used color market research to put together the most complimentary color schemes. They are customizable but do seem to reflect what you are saying about color schemes.


message 39: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Congrats Tara, it's a huge accomplishment! Some great savvy comments above too! My favorite part was the 'flash fiction' and the castle :). I think it would easy to miss though.I liked the idea of doing something outside of your genre. It's a nice add. Did anyone else see the flash fiction?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments M.L. Roberts wrote: "Congrats Tara, it's a huge accomplishment! Some great savvy comments above too! My favorite part was the 'flash fiction' and the castle :). I think it would easy to miss though.I liked the idea of ..."

Thank you for this! I was worried it was offbrand but my husband told me I would be unhappy if I couldn't indulge a bit of creative writing from time to time and it is a part of who I am. So thank you for reminding me of this.


message 41: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments Nik wrote: "Regret that Tara is like a scapegoat on this one, but I'm sure she'll end up with a tremendous site -:).
Now if and when I decide to set up a site, I can just come to this thread and have lots of ..."


Haha, exactly! Well, when I thought about publishing a book for the first time, it never crossed my mind that I might have to learn stuff like website building too! Sometimes, writing a book seems like the simple part in comparison to all the extra steps we take to get ourselves set up as authors :).


message 42: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14977 comments Marie wrote: "all the extra steps we take..."

Tell me about this, I've enrolled for a game of ping pong and ended up in decathlon -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Marie wrote: "Nik wrote: "Regret that Tara is like a scapegoat on this one, but I'm sure she'll end up with a tremendous site -:).
Now if and when I decide to set up a site, I can just come to this thread and h..."


This is very true. I had zero interest in my own site and was happy to remain so for quite some time. A few things changed my mind though. I was unable to participate in an online book fair because one of the restrictions revolved around having your on site. I understood why but I wasn't interested in getting a site just to participate. No big deal. Then I became aware of an opportunity to guest post but you had to have your own site. Oh well, I thought, so much for that. Still wasn't interested. Then I read an article about online branding and building relationships with your readers and I sat up and began to take notice. It started to make sense. Without my own site I can't engage with people on my own terms. It's a bit like hosting dinner parties in restaurants all the time because you don't have a dining room in your own home. Your ability to engage is on the restaurant's terms. When the restaurant is ready to close you and your guests have to leave. If the restaurant has a certain policy you have to adhere to it. Lastly I read another article about building your mailing list. It asked a simple question that hit me like a ton of bricks. What if social media disappeared tomorrow> WHat if there was no more Goodreads or even Amazon for that matter? Everyone I've ever interacted with about my writing disappears with them. That was my wake-up call. I'm too type A to leave that in someone else's hands.

Since making the decision, however, I can't believe there as a time when this was not an obvious thing to do. I find it immensely satisfying and comforting to have a place of my own - a luttle corner of the www where I can just be me 24/7 and I'm only limited by my own choices. It feels empowering and cozy, for lack of a better word. I'm not particularly in love with the stress of it but once it's done it's done and will only require minor tweaking from time to time. But it is exciting to see something go from my head to a virtual reality - similar to how I felt when I published my book. Soon the site will be up and running and I look forward to jumping back into what I love - writing. And now I'll have a blog to help with that as well :)

So. A big thank you and virtual hug to everyone who took precious time and energy to give me so much invaluable help and advice. I literally don't want to think about how horrible it would have been to have launched the site without this information. Please continie to share any advice or suggestions you have. I won't be responding individually as much because I have to actually start implementing these changes, of which there are many. But please know that I read each and every comment and transfer the action points to a doc I created to ordinate these changes.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all!


message 44: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments Alex: You're right. Monochromatic themes with one contrasting action colour.

Everyone: one other interesting option is to use medium to host your website. You can create a publication and connect it to your own domain name. It's not ideal in terms of design customization, but it makes blogging super easy and you can use tags to show the other info. They also have a content subscription feature which could be interesting.


message 45: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Looks great! Cozy familial atmosphere. Gentle fire burning in hearth.


message 46: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) M.L. Roberts wrote: "My favorite part was the 'flash fiction' and the castle :). I think it would easy to miss though."

darn, i did miss that. <;)

Tara wrote: "This is interesting. I'm looking at paid themes now and it seems that some of them come with palette suites. I think the designers have used color market research to put together the most complimentary color schemes. They are customizable but do seem to reflect what you are saying about color schemes."

let us check out the new template that you chose.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Mehreen wrote: "Looks great! Cozy familial atmosphere. Gentle fire burning in hearth."

((Hugs))


message 48: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Tara wrote: "Mehreen wrote: "Looks great! Cozy familial atmosphere. Gentle fire burning in hearth."

((Hugs))"


Hugs and kisses.


message 49: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) I keep forgetting to check it out. I'll make sure to first thing when I get on the computer.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Justin wrote: "I keep forgetting to check it out. I'll make sure to first thing when I get on the computer."

Very much appreciated, Justin.


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