web pages

katycopsey(Z7bGA)January 20, 2006

I finally purchased the option on using KateCopsey.com. Now what?

I think I need a web page plus links to pages of work etc and maybe some simple photos.Space for the book that I am writing and perhaps orders. What else do folk put on their web pages and do you really get traffic to cover the hosting fees?

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Katy, In my case there is no hosting fee as Mindspring allows a certain amount of space for a website if one wants to take advantage of that. Of course then the site Domain name should be registered. Your web site should start with a home page that is simple. I would guess the home page needs the domain name, your name, a picture or two but save most photos for the links, then you need a sidebar leading to the different catagories you have. My own site promotes gardening. That is its primary function. I would suggest you take a look at a few personal web sites related to gardening to give you an idea of how it's done. Mine is listed below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bittersweet Gardens

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 3:29PM
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I thought about this for about three seconds and made the decision to go ad-free as a .org, rather make a .com site with advertising revenue. It's my work, my effort and I wouldn't think to have it defaced by advertising. Treat yourself and your readers with respect and go ad-free.

You can get ad-free hosting plans for as little as $15 a month, cheaper if you can go the starving artist/nfp route, and even far less if you don't need volumes of space for graphics and photos. If you're nearly all text you should start with a low-traffic host--look for one that has automatic bump-ups rather than one that will crash if you drive through more traffic than in your plan.

I use Laughing Squid as my host, it gives me complete and superb Webalizer stats 24/7. I will also never crash as I can run 12Gs of traffic through the site, when I do go above that I'll be automatically glided into a new level and billed for just the surge.

Also--you'll need a webpage program if your not paying someone to do the site for you. I spent a year looking and working with different programs before I found one I was comfortable using on a daily basis. I use WebStudio.

Eddie makes a good point about owning your URL, snatch one or two or three up immediately. I have several ;-) They yearly fees run about $10 each, less if I renew for several years.

After you have your site up you can then begin to promote it. You can do all the "legwork" yourself or pay a company to list it into every search engine or directory under the sun, the more you pay the more you get. If your work is unique you won't need assistance with placement, but if you're writing about a topic that's already been covered then using a service is practically essential if you want to make front page and above the fold on google. Your ultimate goal for placement is not just top three hits, but the whole entire page itself. My site is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: WinterSown.Org

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 8:40PM
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Nell Jean

There's a free 'class' on bn.com on writing your own HTML and publishing your own web site. Click on 'BN University' to find it: "Web Pages Made Easy." You can take it over and over until you learn as much as you need. The next class starts the first week in February.

I was hoping clfo would visit this post. Elsewhere in another GW forum, she gave some great advice on home page content. Her pages are clean and well organized, very nice.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 11:23PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Thanks for the compliment, Nell! I've had several personal email conversation about websites with Kate, as well as with another gardener writer, and will share some of my thoughts here.

In general, we are well served to design most websites in a common format, because that is what people (and search engine spiders) are used to seeing. This is a menu either across the top or down the left side (or both) Â title and logo at the top, and the splash page content on the right.

At the last GWA meeting in Vancouver, I got a very valuable piece of advice about the left-side menu. One of the speakers mentioned that your links should finish the sentence: "I want toÂ." So the link could be "Contact Kate" or "View KateÂs Portfolio" for example.

It should be easy to find contact information. If you go with ads, they should be unobtrusive, and it should be easy to tell what is your content and what is an ad. I have been testing Google ads on my site for awhile I think that the way IÂve used them is not too conspicuous, but IÂm not fully convinced about their usefulness at this point.

The text should be easy to read. Sounds self-explanatory, but IÂm amazed at the number of sites I visit with small fonts, or pale colored lettering.

I personally find black backgrounds too dominating, and flashing or moving symbols annoying.

When putting content on the site, you have to first think of your overall purpose for designing and paying for the site in the first place. If you are looking for work as a garden writer, then there should be some samples of your writing, a resume, and some illustrations at the very least. (The mention of illustrations is important  People are used to seeing photos or illustrations presented with text, and will more quickly leave a site that is all text.)

A page of links on your site will help bring people to you, through a "back door." (They are searching for one thing on a search engine, and your website appears.)

As I explained to Kate, one of the best things I ever did was to hire someone to help me with the website. When I was doing it all myself I would have to re-learn the software every time, and so my updates were few and far between. Now I can email new articles, photos, and schedule updates to the woman who helps me, and within a couple of days the changes are made.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 9:39AM
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Thank you all for your insite and help. I took CL's advise and I am currently interviewing (?) web making folks. I am being quoted around $150 for the page to a vague 'few hundred' so will get that firmed down in the next few days. For hosting I am being told the 'godaddy.com' is the place to go around here, so I am going to give that a try.

The site name I registered was a katecopsey.com but is it worth (if its cheap) to register other options such as .biz; katycopsey.com/biz etc etc etc.

This is definately a great winter job and fun.
I will keep you all posted on the progress.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 8:10PM
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