By Sherri Sand
After several years away from fiction writing, I began delving into my stories again. Being an introvert, I had an aversion to all things social media and recognized that I was a tweet and an Instagram behind the times. I attempted to wade into those waters, but they were swift and over my head.
After several conversations with a writing friend in which I moaned and complained and she worked at convincing me of the value of online interaction, I lifted my dragging my heels and decided to hire a social media expert.
I’d met Laura Christianson at a writing conference and was taken with her approachability and kindness. My writing friend highly recommended her skills. So I made an appointment, even as I dreaded its approach. My heels were still dragging just a wee bit.
But then we spoke, and my aversion started turning to excitement. Laura asked questions and gave assignments that helped me gain understanding about myself, my target audience and my message in a way I would not have discovered on my own.
She began training me on how the different social media applications worked and removed the fear factor that had kept me from venturing into those realms.
Next, Laura assessed my website and pointed out its strengths and weaknesses. The biggest weakness was that my blog wasn’t embedded in my site. I made the decision to hire her team to create a new website for my writing.
Years ago, I had hired a company that was well-known and very respected, but I felt like a little fish in a big pond. I didn’t have much input on the design of the site, primarily because I didn’t know what I wanted.
Laura and her team walked with me through the process. Each step was well-thought out, and when I didn’t know what I wanted, Laura knew what questions to ask to help me discover what I liked. Where I often thought I didn’t have an opinion, I discovered through her guidance, that I actually had quite a strong opinion about what colors and style mattered to me.
She and her team tailored a site specific to my style, my passions and the result is one that I am beyond pleased with!
Below are a couple of screenshots of Sherri’s website at SherriSand.com. (Click on the images to view full-size).
On the left is Sherri’s new self-hosted WordPress site that uses responsive design. On a responsive website, the various text elements, images, and buttons “slide” beneath one another when the user views Sherri’s site on a tablet or smartphone.
On the right are screenshots of Sherri’s old Home page and About page. Her Home page had been set up as a “landing page” in which the visitor had to click an “enter” button to access any of the content. We fixed that by creating an intuitive navigation that gets the visitor to ANY page on Sherri’s site in one click.
You’ll notice several large buttons labeled “Books,” “Blog,” and “Speaking.” This design technique is called “redundancy” and is intentional. Sherri decided that the key pages on her site were her books, blog, and speaking sections; the large buttons give visitors a not-so-subtle nudge, “Hey, look at this page!”
Sherri asked us to incorporate two other design elements to her site that I love. One is the contemporary, monochromatic look with color accents.
The other is the slider on her Home page. Sherri wanted to share her brand story — the heart of who she is and what she cares most about — through a combination of text and images. We created a five-image slideshow that, when viewed in its entirety, tells Sherri’s brand story. Click here to watch the slideshow.
Below is an example of what Sherri’s site looks like on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop:
In addition to writing novels, Sherri is a wonderful blogger. She is adept at weaving personal stories sprinkled with biblical encouragement into her articles. Sherri’s posts often address the topic: How do we respond when life discourages and disappoints? You can subscribe to her blog here.
Thinking About Upgrading Your Website?
We’d love to help! The Blogging Bistro team specializes in building custom, self-hosted WordPress websites.
We are committed to providing a high-degree of personalized service throughout the website development process, so we take on a limited number of new website projects each month. As a result, we are almost always booked four months in advance.
If you’re thinking of launching a new website in 2015, NOW is the time to reserve a spot on our production calendar. Contact Laura Christianson at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-obligation needs assessment.