Saturday, August 25, 2012

Website redesign

One of the more time-consuming tasks of a midlist mystery author is to create and maintain a website promoting his books. In the last year folks have suggested I hire a professional web designer for that job. Of course it was their gentle way of saying my two-year-old self-created site was lame-o, lame-o and needed a thorough redesign.

While the old site didn't have the exploding-scoreboard ambience of some of the fancier best-selling author websites, I didn't think it was that bad, just mildly serviceable. All the same, over time I came to view the home page as cluttered and clumsy, and a few days ago decided to do something about it. I wanted to make the new site as open, airy and simple as possible, something Mies van der Rohe might have approved of had he lived into the Internet age.

And I didn't want to spend anything on it except time.

The first thing I did was to use Photoshop Elements 10 to create a .jpg banner illustration with a photo the Lady Friend took of me a few years ago and add the name of the website in Charlemagne, the same shapely and elegant font used in the original site, finally tying title and illustration together with a rule.

Next I used free website software called KomPoZer to combine the foregoing banner illustration and a strip of page buttons to make a page template that would serve not only for the home page but also all linked pages.

On the home page I added another .jpg illustration promoting my book Zephyr, and made it clickable through to a page with full information about the book, including where to order the Kindle and Nook ebooks.

Finally I added a strip of links under the Zephyr .jpg to help readers find the ebooks of my novels.

The website still won't win any prizes for breathtaking elegance, but I do think it's not too shabby for an amateur with only a rudimentary knowledge of HTML coding.

Go have a look at it.


  1. I think I've read all your books (found "Zephyr" not long after it was published, and went from there), both fact and fiction. "Zephyr" is still my favorite. I still have the old hardback, as well as have it on my Nook Color - others in hardback, and the fiction also on my Nook Color. Next possible train trip, tho' unlikely, would be next June from Birmingham to Portland, OR to next year's HLAA convention.

  2. I definitely agree. Creating and maintaining websites can be a pain in the neck, especially if the person is a non-technical type. But, all in all, I’m glad to know that you still make one. I checked it out, and it looks nice and mysterious, which I think suits well with the genre of your books. Having a website is definitely beneficial, especially for businesses and professionals. It’s numerous benefits can help you promote and showcase you product and talent.

    Frida Stanton