When Diane Stortz saw the websites we’ve created for authors, she asked whether we could help her.
A popular children’s author, Diane has a toddler version of The Sweetest Story Bible releasing in December 2014 and a bedtime Bible storybook called Words to Dream On, releasing in February 2015. She has a second Bible storybook coming later in 2015. Plus, Diane has more children’s books in the works and she’s a professional editor.
Diane decided it was time to upgrade her Blogger blog to a website that would feature her books and her editing services. She wanted a “look” that would appeal to her primary audience of parents and grandparents of young children, and her secondary audience of publishers and writers looking to hire an experienced editor. She wanted her brand to be bright, fun, contemporary, personable, and professional. A tall order!
We created a “package” for Diane that included the following:
- Logo design
- Custom WordPress website (with blog) built using responsive design technology
- Facebook and Twitter cover images that coordinate with her new website
- Business cards (design and printing)
Our first order of business was to design a logo. Diane told us, “In my mind I keep seeing a cute mama bird and little birds listening to her.”
We found several images of birds to use for inspiration, and Diane told us which ones she liked best. Here’s what the first draft of her logo looked like:
Diane requested changes to the color scheme, tagline font, and artwork:
“I like the baby birds, but the mother bird seems overbearing. I’d like her to be a little sweeter—moms and grandmas have to identify with her. I think she could be more engaged with the little ones somehow—maybe making better eye contact?
…And the little brown bird body makes me think of a potato.”
In the revision, Mama bird is making eye contact with her babies, and “potato bird” received a color makeover!
Here is a screenshot of Diane’s former Blogspot blog:
She wanted her new website to be built using responsive design technology, meaning that it “responds” to the screen size the user views it on (tablet, smartphone, or desktop) and seamlessly adjusts the layout to fit the screen.
Here’s her new blog page at DianeStortz.com:
Here’s how her site looks on different devices (Click image to view full size):
Diane has 16 books in print (and more to come), so we organized her Books section by category and series:
- Bible Storybooks
- Roma Downey’s Little Angels
- Happy Day® Books
- Books for Parents and Grandparents
In her WordPress administrative area, we built a custom “books” section that enables Diane to easily add new books (including book cover image, synopsis, downloadable sample, and online bookseller links).
On Diane’s Editing Services page, she lets her clients do the talking. She features images of the books she’s recently edited as well as testimonials from clients and a partial client list. Her “request a quote” form makes it easy for people to contact her immediately.
Diane’s Media page features new publicity photos in color and black & white, links to recent media interviews, and downloadable PDFs of suggested interview questions.
When we launched Diane’s site last week, she wrote:
“It’s such a thrill to see this go live! I’m very, very happy with it.
I wanted a responsive-design website that would showcase my books and blog and appeal especially to women with young children and grandchildren—and that’s exactly what I got! Laura and her team are creative, technically skilled, organized, and patient. I’m SO glad I chose Blogging Bistro to help me with this step of my writing career!”
When we designed Diane’s Facebook cover image, our intent was to model it as closely as possible after her website header, which includes puffy white clouds at the bottom of the image.
Facebook automatically adds a dirty, disgusting gray shadow effect to the bottom of ALL of their cover images. When Diane uploaded her image to Facebook, it turned her lovely white clouds into dark storm clouds. It looked even worse on a smartphone. Not good for a children’s book author!
Since Facebook currently does not provide users with a way to “turn off” this ugly gray shadow, we disguised the shadow by adding a solid purple stripe across the bottom of her image. Click here to see the result.
Does your website need a refresh?
We’d love to help! The Blogging Bistro team specializes in brand identity development and 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 4-6 months in advance.
If you’re thinking of launching a new website in 2015, NOW is the time to reserve a spot on our waiting list. Contact Laura Christianson at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free, no-obligation needs assessment.