As regular readers of this blog know, I’m not a big fan of self-promotion. Personally, I just want to write, try to sell stories and novels, and that’s it. Unfortunately, in this digital day and age, you can’t do that.
I knew I’d eventually need a website but kept putting it off. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I broke down and realized I just needed to do it, jump in with both feet.
Only I didn’t want to spend money (who does?). After all, what would I be spending money on exactly? It wasn’t like I had a book to promote. Hell, I hadn’t sold a story in over a year, so I had nothing to promote on that end either.
But still, that inevitable hyphenated word: web-presence.
I started out with Blogger. I liked the setup. Stayed with that for a few weeks. Thought I'd be happy.
Then I came across WordPress. I liked that setup even better. It made it look less like a blog and more like a website … while still being a blog. So I switched over.
In the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to have an actual website, my own domain, all of that. I had even considered buying a domain through WordPress, which would have been cheap, but I still would have been hosted by WordPress. Which meant I was limited in what I could and could not do without having to pay an upgrade.
And then this Norton deal came along, and Joe Konrath was telling me about this whole self-employment tax, how the government is basically going to try to screw me out of as much money as possible, so I had to be sure to write off every single thing that could be construed as a business expense, keep the receipts, keep logs, etc.
(Which I’ve dutifully been doing, thank you very much.)
And then I thought, shit, I jumped in with two feet before, why not do it again?
So I found hosting, bought a domain, and now here we are.
I could have gone many different routes with this website. I could have had just a nice shiny site created professionally. Trust me, I was tempted. There are some web designers out there that I absolutely adore. Their sites come off looking so clean and crisp and fresh.
But, for the most part, they remain static.
They get updated every once in awhile.
There might be a link to the writer’s blog, where the visitors are ferried away to yet another site, mostly to Blogger which is – surprise, surprise – free.
So that’s where most of the visitors, in my mind at least, end up.
At the free blog, the one the author updates regularly, and not to main website, the one that author is paying a pretty penny to keep maintained.
See where I’m going with this?
My philosophy with having a website is that readers and visitors or whoever can come across it and see that it’s fresh, updated, coherent. That’s where they come and that’s where they keep returning (hopefully).
Not to a website that hasn’t been updated in six months.
Not to a website that has links that are outdated and lead absolutely nowhere.
Not to a website that leads to another website that leads to another website that leads to another website.
(Okay, I'm exaggerating with that last one, sorry.)
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those scenarios, of course, but that’s just not what I’m going for here.
You see, I’ve come to understand lurker are quite lazy.
They don’t like working for what they want.
They don’t like clicking on more links than they have to.
So if they come to a writer’s website and see a static page, they might happen to notice the link on the sidebar that directs them to that writer’s blog or LiveJournal or whatever.
Nine times out of ten, that person will probably click on that link.
Then again, they might decide it just isn’t worth it, that they’re much too busy, and go elsewhere.
I wanted this website – this fabulous www.robertswartwood.com – to be the one-stop place for all things me.
My hope is to update regularly, at least once a week if not more. I keep the Announcements box at the top of the sidebar, and you’d be amazed how many more links are clicked there than anywhere else on the website. I also plan to expand the Hint Fiction page (with what, I’m not sure yet, but as the weeks and months lead up to the eventual release of the anthology, it will definitely be going through some changes).
Are there things I’d like to do with this website that I can’t do right now?
But I’m not a web designer. I can barely understand HTML code. To even get a hint I'd have to read one of those HTML for dummies for dummies for dummies.
And I don't know if that book's even exists.
Hmm -- maybe there's my next book idea ...
(Oh, and the picture? We're turtle-sitting for friends. His name is Franklin. He's not mutant, nor is he a ninja, but he is pretty friggin cool. Cowabunga, dude!)