Websites are stories. Or at least, that’s how I see them. I’ve been designing websites for twenty years, and ten of those years I’ve been designing them professionally. The technology changes, and so does the way we approach design, but at the heart of it, I still look at the design process like I was writing a book.
I plan. I outline. I research. I follow the path my user-characters will take. I ensure that they meet the goals I set out for them. I add flesh to the whole thing and I breathe life into it like it was a golem and set it upon the world to do its thing, and I go back and edit and tweak and optimize so it performs better. So that it’s received better.
It’s not very different than writing a book at all, save for the fact that I’m actually making money doing this professionally.
Designing an Author Website
I started KiraButler.com with an end goal for myself: I wanted to create a place that could perform, that was visually appealing, and that would sell my books for me when the time came, and that could grow along with my writing portfolio.
I’d designed a couple of author websites in the past (for a couple of YA writers, funnily enough — well before I ever thought I’d try to write my own young adult novel), but between the time I launched those sites, and the time when I wanted to start work on my own, a lot had changed in the industry. User experience and user interface design had become top conversation items. “Conversion” became a consideration at the tip of everyone’s tongues.
Author websites don’t need to be robust to be successful. Indeed, your books should sell themselves, but in an oversaturated industry, I figured even moderate success would be a challenge. I started researching. There are too few articles out there that directly cater to self-publishing authors (or even the traditionally-inclined: ya’ll are still hiring me because you don’t want to do this yourself, right?) But I found a few requirements, and what solutions I couldn’t find, I cobbled together for myself.
I have a plan. I have been working on that plan for the past year in between writing and revising, and holding down a day job and a stable relationship. Slowly, bits of that plan get pushed out into the world, and I can let them evolve as I start work on another aspect of my home on the web: this place for my work to be showcased.
Today, I chucked another part of the plot into the world.
And now I get to show off a bit.