Website review for Deb Salisbury

Today’s website review is for long-time reader Deb Salisbury. She followed the first series of website reviews with interest, and it shows!


Kathleen’s comments

Dear Deb,

Your site is a nice, clean basic writer’s website. You’ve organized your information clearly and offered your visitors a little glimpse into three stories. Nicely done!

Really, the main recommendation I can find for your site is the same thing I’ve recommended for many websites: Match your graphics to your genre. Since you’re not published yet, it doesn’t matter quite as much. (It’s a tad frustrating to design a website for one genre, change genres later on and get published in the new one, then have to re-design it all over again. Therefore, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to keep a writer’s website generic until you get that first contract.)

However, adding graphics to make your genre more apparent can help you with networking as well . . . finding critique partners and potential beta readers, etc.

The other issue is that your home page reads kind of like a newspaper—a mish-mash of advertisements, editorials, links, news, etc. I would suggest adding a “news” and/or “links” page for those things, and allow your home page to focus on your writing. Instead of saying “welcome, I am . . .” (we assume the welcome, and we see your name, above) , how about a blurb for one of your stories? Or, if your short story is in the same world as your other stories, offer a blurb for that, and mention that it’s in the same world as ______ and _____ (making both of those words links to those pages).

Kathleen MacIver, KatieDid Design

Jordan’s comments

Hi Deb!

Like Kathleen said, you have an attractive site that definitely conveys “writer.” You’ve got all of the basics in place, but I think your site could do a little more to help you promote yourself and your books.

Unless you’re trying not to overly emphasize a nonfiction or an e-credit, I think you should highlight your publishing credits a little more—for example, on your home page, you could put that above the progress on your latest work. (It’s always good to know that you’re working on something, but a credit is going to be more impressive to potential editors and agents.) You could also promote your book better to help push more sales—a purchase link would be helpful there.

Your Contact me solution is interesting—having a contact form at the bottom of each page (with links to the form at the top of the home page and the About Me page). If that seems to be working for you and your users, awesome!

Now, you know I’m all about the excerpts—but like Kathleen, I think we should look at your site structure. I know this may be limited by the software you use to create your site, but could you create one page for your books and have that on your navigation, and then link to the individual pages with the excerpts, as well as the information about your stories’ world (so that’s not all the navigation)?

You search engine presence is good—in fact, in the top 10 results for the big three search engines, only 2 of those 30 results aren’t about you or your book. Clearly, you’ve been hard at work getting your name out there!

I think it’s awesome that you’re using Google Friend Connect—another great way to get people involved in your site. I usually tell people to offer social media connections—you could add a badge linking to your GoodReads author profile or your Facebook profile, unless you’re trying to hide them.

What do you think? How have you organized your site?

Photo credit: highlight&dmash;Daniël Cohen

2 thoughts on “Website review for Deb Salisbury”

  1. Hi Jordan and Kathleen —

    Thank you for the review! I haven’t figured out how to change my header’s graphic, so I’ll work more on that. The navigation changes are a great idea. I only have 10 pages, so I’ve been cautious about how to use them.

    I don’t do much social media stuff. I don’t have a facebook account, and haven’t done much with my GoodReads. Adding the badge I can do.

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’ll get to work on sprucing up my site.

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