Time To Show Off
You all know I have been making myself pretty scarce around here, so today I will show you what I've been doing. My website redesign went public this Thursday night and I've been trying to get some of the bugs out since then. It has been quite a process.
My old book site was built in 1997 in FrontPage, at its time about the only WYSIWYG design tool for those of use that didn't know how to code. A few years ago Microsoft replaced it with Expression Web, which was harder to use. This year all the web hosts stopped supporting uploads through the program.
I knew my page was obsolete anyway, but wasn't sure how to fix a 600-page site. When Google put the final nail in the coffin by penalizing all sites not mobile friendly, I knew I had to do something.
I knew I could start over by simply removing my content and installing WordPress and starting to build again. That would mean having no content left on my site while I was building and that I would lose all traffic I had built up. I explained all this to my web host tech person and he said to put a test site in a sub-folder called test.barbsbooks.com. Then, when the time came, to have the web host replace the main site with the new site, which would take about 72 hours. If I preferred to speed things up, I could call tech support again when I was ready and someone could walk me through this in about half an hour on my own.
I heaved a big sigh of relief, figured out a way to edit my main domain content to let people know what was happening, that I was retiring and changing from direct selling to affiliate selling for most items, while making it possible for people to buy out-of-print or hard to find items directly. At the first of the month I canceled all my overhead expenses I wouldn't need anymore – second phone line and DSL service at home in Templeton, since I don't use that office much anymore; Endicia shipping program; credit card processing services; my e-commerce store; and my book listing software subscription, which had just gone up. That saves more than $200 a month of overhead. I also started building the new site in WordPress.
A few days ago I thought I had enough up to form enough of the site to make it live. So I called tech support again to walk me through the migration of the site to the main domain. Got a different person who said they don't do that. Someone from the transfer team would have to do it, so he signed me up for a transfer – no mention of a fee. I'll spare you the rest of the details of multiple calls, the $75 charge, and being in limbo not knowing if and when I could do anymore work on it myself because I didn't know if someone else was doing something back here I might mess up. Let's just say it's been a frustrating experience. Since Thursday night it's been my baby again. I don't have all the bugs out because I never learned much HTML or any CSS. The web development person's job was just to move the site so that the links would go where they should, etc. The content is my job.
So far I have created or rewritten 15 pages of the old 600+ page site. It's actually harder to redo it than starting from scratch. I won't need to recreate all of it. I only want to push the books I really like and that I think will be helpful to the average person with children and to home schooling families. The navigation is from the top or the left side. The tabs on top show the sub-pages when you mouse over them. I have so much content I want to add.
There is also a blog tab at the top with one post up. The blog tells you how I first was introduced to some of my favorite books when I was a child. You also get to see a photo of me as a two-year-old with my great uncle. From the blog, you can see any other part of the site you choose, since the links are at the top and side of every page. I'm working on reviews for my favorite Newbery Award winners, novels about teens and children who had to deal with the death of a loved one, my favorite picture books, and books by authors I like. The index pages, except for the cookbook index, all contain introductory content – not just links.
So, friends, here is it is – my new book blog . I hope you will check it out. Since all pages of the site but the blog are static, only the blog pages are set up to receive comments. The static pages are for information only. My heart and soul are being poured into this project, and it's the reason I'm not getting much else done online.
If you look at the page for Thomas Locker, one of my favorite illustrators, you will see a bug I spent hours on yesterday trying to fix, unsuccessfully, in the spacing between two photos. I was able to fix a related problem with the text, but I’m stymied in trying to get those two photos from being so close together near the middle. If you know how to solve the problem, I'd be happy to hear from you. I've tried adding paragraphs and breaks in the code to no avail. Here's a screen shot of that problem. The title for the lower photo looks like it goes with the upper photo and review, when it is for the lower. I need more space between the upper photo and that title. I don't know how to get it.
And now I have to go back to work while I'm still fresh enough. As I’ve heard on tech support recordings many times this week, “Your feedback is very important to us.” I'll spare you the survey.
Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 201 5 , All Rights Reserved
Image Credit » Screen shot of my own web site, which is my original work.