Designing a website that works

So when I went to a marketing workshop a few months back and they gave us recommendations for website marketing, I was expecting to hear that some of these features would be a great addition. But instead, they warned us against complex sites. Unfortunately, my website at the time fell into the category of what you shouldn’t do. Ouch!

This workshop was the first time I’d heard those tips. I’d been given other recommendations for an author website—to draw interest to my novels by including character pages, weapons pages, and things like that—but at this workshop they took more of the less is best attitude, and advised us to keep our websites simple.

So anyway, I thought I’d pass their tips on and let you decide whether you agree with them.

  1. Avoid clutter on your homepage! Keep your website clean, easy to browse and simple, but especially on your home page!  Have a navigation bar with six pages or less, a few pictures and that’s it. To include a couple of visuals, like an author picture, and the cover of the most recent book, but eliminate any other clutter. Most people look at a home page for five seconds before going on. If they can’t find what they want in that five seconds, they’ll leave.

  2. Everything important should go above the fold. Visitors won’t always bother to scroll down, so make sure the important things are at the top of the page.

  3. Make sure the website is mobile compatible and looks great on a small telephone screen, because many viewers will be using their phone to browse the internet.

  4. To include a separate book page with buy here buttons, not to have the books all on the homepage.

  5. To include a contact page.

  6. To include a newsletter sign up.

These recommendations were for authors, but the majority could be applied to any website. They said focus on making the website easy to navigate, clean, and simple. So I hired a website designer and asked her to streamline my website.

I really like the way it turned out. It’s a blend of the different recommendations. It still includes stuff to catch interest like my plant pages, but it’s presented more cleanly. If you want to check it out, here’s the link:

So what do you think? What do you like to see in a website? Will you leave one that looks cluttered? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Media bashing has become all the craze lately. If people don’t like the message, it’s the media’s fault. The President Elect and some of his supporters have been very vocal in trashing the media. Yet, without the coverage Donald Trump received from the media, he wouldn’t be moving to the Oval Office.

For those who condemn the media, I’d ask, don’t you want the facts? Do you really believe certain people are above reproach? Should those people be able to do anything they want without any accountability?

If people cover their heads with a blanket and run into a busy street, will the blanket protect them? I’d rather know about anything that could affect me, even if the news isn’t good.


A free press is what truly MAKES AMERICA GREAT. That’s what our founding fathers believed. Here’s what some of them said about a free press:

“Our liberty depends on the
freedom of the press.”
Thomas Jefferson
“Freedom of Speech is ever
the symptom as well as the
effect of a good government.”
Benjamin Franklin
“The Liberty of the press is essential
to the security of the state,” John Adams.


We have several media agencies in this country that do a very professional job of reporting, even when they face enormous backlash. Unfortunately, there are also some internet sites with fake news stories that undermine their efforts. I’ve heard many people repeat some of those false stories from those sites, including Donald Trump.


Donald Trump’s love/hate relationship with the media has been going on for a long time. Any public figure is going to be scrutinized by the press, and it isn’t easy to be under a spotlight, but without the attention of the media he couldn’t have garnered support. So he sought it out by making inflammatory statements, and twittering things he knew would draw attention. But he’s also made a practice of threatening media organizations with lawsuits for any stories that aren’t flattering. Since as early as 1984, he sued the Chicago Tribune for calling his building plans “aesthetically lousy.”

Most of our media organizations refuse to be cowed and continue to report the stories, both positive and negative, even under the threats of lawsuits.


Our next President will continue to give the press plenty of scandals to report on. Donald Trump has been a party to 4,000 lawsuits in the last thirty years, and he has an estimated 75 more to defend against while in the White House. The reason I know that is because of good reporting by the media. The same reason I know unflattering facts about Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton.

The media doesn’t have an easy job. Reporters don’t just face criticism and lawsuits, but have been taken hostage and even killed while covering stories at home and abroad.

As Americans prepare to watch the inauguration, they should remember there wouldn’t be such good coverage of events without the media.

The people who don’t like hearing the reports can always stick their fingers in their ears. Then maybe they won’t have to admit to themselves the people they want to put on a pedestal are flawed, like everyone else.
If they really don’t want that knowledge, they can always move to a country without a free press or free elections where citizens don’t get both sides of the story, and only hear wonderful things about their leaders. Those countries muzzle their press and their news is heavily censored. Ours in not.

One of the truest signs of democracy is a free press. And one of our greatest freedoms is that of free speech. I will continue to exercise that right, and I’m thankful I live in a nation where I can.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Censored Document