Let’s talk websites this week. I spent the last week updating my website.
For me, updating my website is like cleaning my bathrooms. You know, the really deep down scrubbing where you use an old toothbrush and try to get into those deep down corners, some of them very awkward to reach and easy to forget about.
This is how I feel about my website updates, but it goes on for 3-4 days. I should really put out a “Website Closed for Cleaning” sign, but short of shutting the whole thing down while I work people still need to use the facilities so I have to keep them up and running.
Somehow my website seems to age and get dusty if I’m not paying attention. What looked fine a few months ago now seems dated. It’s like looking at a photo from the 1980s – what were we thinking with that hair!? No way I thought that color was cool! Must have been blind. Same with website, only it seems to date quicker.
Long gone are the days when I had to make the website using only html code, but I was always one of those reluctant web masters – and I’m not one of God’s natural graphic designers, so I’m forever fussing with the design.
I started by sprucing up the style and unifying pages – no matter how many times I proof the pages, there will always be a something I missed (BTW – I haven’t yet updated the music portion of my website, so it’s still looking tired. If you have a downstairs bathroom you’ll know how often cleaning it gets put off until just before you have guests – that’s the music part of my website right now).
I tried out a few new features and it gave the whole thing fresh new look. I always seem to be trying out a new look for my website. Maybe it’s just me being a digital magpie or maybe websites have fashions. I dusted the shelves of my online store, set up the booking feature on my site – it’s already been used *hooray!* and plumped the pillows of my upcoming events. You can now register for workshops, classes, etc. directly from my website or link into external registration.
I’m always looking for a way to do something easier, sleeker, faster. Every day I’m picking up some new tech tricks or the program adds a new feature I want to play with. But it takes time to learn these things. When I grew up there wasn’t such a thing as a “website” – in fact, when I met my husband there wasn’t such a thing as the internet – at least in the general population.
Everything I know about web design I’ve had to learn on the fly as an adult. Has there ever been a time in human history that we’ve had to learn so many new things as an adult? Is this going to keep us young or age us prematurely?
Once my design was unified (drat – I missed a spot!) then I put my marketing hat on and layered on a bit of redundancy with links leading to other parts of the website. I have a front door – my home page – but not everyone comes in that way. Sometimes they come in through a side door or an open window in the bathroom – no accounting for how some people find my website I’m just happy there here at all, so I roll out welcome mats everywhere.
I check and double check, making sure all the links work and then going back again to make sure the links didn’t inexplicably break while I wasn’t looking.
Links must be like rusty wire, eventually breaking with oxidation. What’s the tech equivalent to rust? The first thing my husband did when checking out my “finished” website was click on a link that didn’t work *sigh*
Now I have a swish new look, it’s time to think more globally and check out my various social media arms to make sure I’m being consistent. If you’ve ever renovated a house than you’ll understand. You think you’re doing this one little contained project and before you know it, your entire house has been torn apart.
I need to make sure I haven’t left outdated information hanging around on places like … here for example. My website and blog really need to get along.
Sometimes I forget which rocks I left my various social media accounts under. Time to resurrect the activity or delete the account and then I really need to link everything together. Can my Instagram followers find out about an upcoming workshop I’m giving? Does everyone know about my blog over here at Wits End where I rant and rave about the toilet bush that is my web design program?
I’m feeling tired, but good. My website has a “new car” smell. But it’s like painting the Forth Bridge – and I’ve been on this bridge (it’s near Edinburgh) it’s a long bridge. By the time they finish painting it, they need to go back to the beginning and start again – or maybe make the workmen take shorter tea breaks. The website has by this time been in its new form for about 72 hours. I need to go check to see if my website hasn’t gone out of style already or my links broke — again.
Web design can be creative, but it can also be a chore. Maybe I should try to do a quick scrub weekly rather than one big scrub every couple of months.
Take a look and see what you think www.jennifermishra.com If you see a problem (some of you have wonderfully eagle eyes) let me know. There’s a bit of a “Murphy’s Law” when it comes to these things. The first page you pull up will have a typo or a formatting problem – or the link will be broken. It’s not your fault – Murphy’s Law is stronger than the Law of Gravity.
*FYI – Wix did nothing to help when their editor started acting buggy. They completely ignored my requests for customer service. There’s no way anyone’s going to talk, chat, or email you. A few of you posted suggestions for an alternative service in my previous post. Thanks! I’ll definitely be looking.
EXCITING NEWS! This year I will be teaching alongside several of my favorite photographers at the Out of Chicago Spring Photography Conference. It’s taking place in Grayslake, Illinois from April 27-28, 2019 and I would love for you to join me. Use the discount code SPRING when you register to get $50 off. Spaces are filling fast. For more information, visit www.outofchicago.com/spring.