My bright, shiny new website, www.valerielaws.com, went live this month. I built it all by myself, sporting hard hat, boots and builder’s bum, carrying hods of words and pictures and mixing e-cement to hold them together. Only this building involved no sucking of teeth, costly materials, or industrial accidents, though there were many extended tea breaks involved. I thought you might like to know how I did it, the more so because it's FREE!! I used Weebly (there are others available like Wix and Jimdo etc) because it seemed lively and attractive, and I must say I’m thrilled with the results. My old website had been stagnant for a shamefully long time, especially as online presence is vital for me, and I do a lot of different things - crime fiction, poetry, performance, plays, science-themed poetry art installations, non-fiction - which all need flagging up and keeping up to date. My lovely website designers were the gate-keepers, so any changes had to be sent to them and paid for. I’d asked for a news section I could update myself, but I found the resulting system so awkward to use, I got discouraged. Also it involved scrolling down to see the news whereas
|HAVE YOU GOT THE SCROLLS? |
NO, I ALWAYS WALK THIS WAY.
RULE TWO: PEOPLE LIKE VARIETY on the screen and between pages. I’d wistfully longed for such exotica (or they were when I had my first site made) as photo galleries, videos, slide shows... they were expensive and seemed complicated to implement. But now, with Weebly, despite my wobbly worries I was able to have all these bright and gorgeous things, not only free but with the ability to pop in and change anything, any time.
|WEEBLY ELEMENTS, DRAG & DROP|
RULE 3: PHONES ARE COMPUTERS TOO! Lots of people look at sites on their phones or mini-tablets. And back then it was dowdy, wordy and the pix had vanished. I went away sorrowing, but then spurred on by shame I returned, to find they’d vastly upgraded their phone-compatible views, yay! So I chose my theme, and my colour scheme (these can be changed at any time, even after it’s finished, a click and the whole thing will look different, so decisions don’t need to be too agonised-over), plunged in, and started building. Their system is simple, you go into your site, and you can add pages, name them, and decide on the layout of the page, eg big/small header or none. Then the 'elements'; Title, Text, Picture, Video, Picture Gallery, Slide Show, Column dividers, all just icons you drag and drop onto the page, and start writing (with choice of font, size, colour) or uploading. It’s all explained clearly and there’s a lot of support well set out with vids and step by step help. Deciding which labels to use for my ‘pages’ was the hardest bit for me, but I split them into categories.
|ONE OF MY CRIME PAGES|
You create ‘sub-pages’ just as easily which flash up on the homepage menu and 'sub-sub-pages' so I can have, say ‘Crime Fiction’ as a ‘landing page’ with general fun stuff about my crime novels, then sub-pages each for THE OPERATOR and THE ROTTING SPOT. QUANTUM SHEEP, my live sheep poetry installation, is reached as a subpage from ‘Sci-Art Installations’ page, and from there you can go to two sub-sub-pages with different elements - the sheep-created poems, and the media frenzy it inspired. I went nuts all through with videos, slide shows, picture galleries, all just as easy as text, so my landing page for plays has a slide show of my playbills, then a page for each play with synopsis, poster pic and reviews; my BEACHBALLS ‘quantum haiku’ poetry installation (commissioned by the BBC for BBC2’s documentary Why Poetry Matters with Griff Rhys Jones) has the Youtube video (cut down from the whole programme using Windows Live Movie Maker) embedded cheerfully on it, and a subpage with a colourful photo gallery of the Live performance of it at Royal Festival Hall with a large audience throwing the balls to create new poems.
|BEACHBALL POETRY AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL|
Anyway, after much effort and choice, I finally finished all the pages and categories. Now the domains... Weebly have three versions of sites, the free one, then two paid ones, and it turns out that many free websites make you use their domain name, ie you choose part of it but it’s got ‘weebly’ or ‘blogspot’ or ‘wordpress’ in it too. I already owned valerielaws.co.uk, which my site guys were holding for me with Astutium. If you want to register a domain name yourself, Nominet lists them and who owns them because
|I'VE NOT ONLY GUESSED YOUR NAME, I'VE |
BOUGHT RUMPELSTILSTKIN.COM SO IN YOUR FACE!
|HAVE A VIRTUAL HOME-BAKED CUPCAKE!|
Do pop in and visit the new site, have a browse, and I hope you like it. I’ve not found an ‘element’ for tea and cupcakes to drag and drop yet, but no doubt it’s in the pipeline.
My Kindle crime novels:
THE OPERATOR (BRUCE AND BENNETT CRIME THRILLER 2) ON KINDLE:
Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon.CA Amazon.IN
THE ROTTING SPOT (A BRUCE AND BENNETT MYSTERY) ON KINDLE:
Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon.CA Amazon.IN
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