Sunday, 13 November 2011

What do you look for in a website?

I take your point. I need a website.

The next question - what to put on it.

So, just supposing you're wandering the internet, in a random fashion, what makes to stop to look at a website? What is genuinely interesting, and what is filling pages for the sake of it?

I know what I look for. If it is someone who genuinely interests me, I'll flick through the 'about me' page - just to see if they are telling me how wonderful they are or if they can come across as flawed like the rest of us. I might look at what they write, what they read. If they travel I drool over photos.

I don't care about exercise regimes/diets/strange health ideas. I don't care what car they drive/house they live in, or even when they prune the roses. I'm not good anyone telling me what to do.

But I want to make my site welcoming for everyone. It is not simply a reflection of my whims and fancies, but a place that responds to those of anyone who might drop by.

So I'll tell you of the ideas I've had, and I've be grateful if anyone can chip in with others:

  • I probably need an 'about me'. It will all seem too random otherwise.
  • A page of travel photos, which I can change from time to time - just to whet the appetite of anyone wondering if he or she should follow in my footsteps. 
  • A sample chapter - the first - from the book. With a link for anyone who wants to buy it - yes, people have been buying it!
  • A page of travelling thoughts - things I learned along the way that I wish I'd known before I left, but didn't seem relevant for the book. Such as how to manage one's washing (walk on it in the shower). (Except the time I arrived at a hostel in New Zealand with a rucksack of filthy clothes which I had saved for their machine. I slipped into the only skirt and shirt that weren't walking on their own, put the rest in to wash, and then went to breakfast. I've often wondered what the energetic young people alongside me would have thought if they'd known the wrinkly in the corner had no pants on.)
I think I'll keep my thoughts on the MA for this blog, because my ideas around that will evolve, and the blog seems a better vehicle for recording change than a webpage.

So - over to you. What do you look for in a webpage? 


  1. What to post on your website? I'll be honest and say that I'm still not quite sure what the difference is between a blog and a website but I would think that your website should have a link to contact the author, testimonials for your writing and up coming projects. Your reader might also be inspired by your adventures...maybe a travel advice?

    My personal preference for any website is clarity. I hate having to navigate through advertisements, awards and links. It's exhausting when someone puts to much stuff on a page. Clean and concise is my motto!

  2. Hi Jo, you sound like you've got some fab ideas already. I like photos too - they have a personal touch and offer a bit of light relief. I like a straightforward site, definitely an About Me page, and I also always look to see what books, features, etc people have written and know a bit more about those. I think clear links are really important, so details about how people can find your blog and find you on twitter should also be there. I can't wait to see it when it's done Jo!

  3. Thank you, N and Abi - and everyone who has added a comment on Facebook. I'm getting the message that clarity is important, and working links.

    The 'contact me' bit - yes, I'll make sure there's an email link. Someone has suggested adding a phone number, but I don't think I'll do that. Not only to head off any crank calls, but also in case someone across the globe forgets he or she lives in a different time zone.