Monday, May 13, 2013

Courtney's final essay


My site’s (http://courtneyberti.wix.com/pen_your_brain) contrast of bright orange and deep purple along with the somewhat messy font gives it an introspective creative feel. The navbar is easy to find making the site easily navigable and the transparent purple overlay for my portfolio and my blog brighten the page up as if to give it motion. I used the background image that I chose because I wanted something weird and sort of dark that put someone in another world, given the site is geared towards fantasy and sci-fi writers. For this purpose too, I chose a butterfly for my logo, but I’m thinking about changing it to a dragon or a faerie instead, to better convey to my audience what the site is about and who it’s for. I think my audience will assume, from my site, that I’m a girl for one, because the colors are orange and purple and the logo is a butterfly, but also that I’m professional and experienced in the fields of writing and publishing since I have my portfolio up and am posting writing exercises as well as book links and reviews. This is great because I’d like to start offering my freelance services as a book designer through my site.
In choosing the homepage image I decided on a large faerie image to display the fantasy nature of the website. I’d like to incorporate more images like this in. I chose to make it a large picture since the pages are fairly squat and have a lot of text on them. A large picture to balance the text blocks seems appropriate, design-wise, to not deter people by intimidating them with a lot of reading. For the About Me picture I wanted a picture of myself and this one was the only one that seemed appropriate, really, particularly because I am holding up the Sierra Nevada Review that I was one of the assistant editors for. Also, the red and black on my shirt and the purple and blues in the faerie image complimented the background and text colors nicely.
As far as layout, I chose a wix template that was the most appealing to me. For the color palette I chose purple first because purple is one of the quintessential fantasy genre colors (i.e. the dark crystal, The Legend of Drizzt). It’s one of those colors that coveys magic. Orange is a great color that compliments purple and I wanted the text to stand out but not be too stark or blaring in contrast to the background so orange worked. Its softer than white and bright enough to make the site feel more welcoming since it’s a warmer color than black and dark purple. For the font, I wanted something messy to convey creativity. A competitor site is a blog on blogger called The Bookshelf Muse. It’s a blog all about writing tips, so a little more dedicated to one subject than I am, but I like that its focused. The design is a basic blogger template with no customization and a complimentary color to the background as the header. I use a complimentary color in my header also, but The Bookshelf Muse is overwhelmed by text and not enough images to offset the text, so I tried to incorporate big images alongside my text to offset the feeling of having to do a lot of reading.
One of the technical problems I faced was making an imported blog look good on wix. There is no way to change the font in which it appears or the width of the blog itself so I had to do something to make the writing look less stark. It really helped to change the background color of the blog itself to a transparent purple that drew the eye away from the background image and helped it focus on images and text within the blog box. In order to do this one just double clicks on the blog box in the editor, clicks on app settings, and Color. This will allow you to choose the color of you background and play with the opacity. Another problem presented itself with the blog though. If you import your blog to wix from blogger it does not allow people to comment. Since I want people to participate by posting their responses to book reviews and exercises, comments are necessary, so I inserted a comment button and put a redirect link (http://penyourbrain.blogspot.com/) with a short explanation that guides people to the blogger page itself if they want to comment. I also inserted a link in the blogger navbar to redirect readers back to wix. The second logistical thing was finding a way to upload my professional portfolio that didn’t make the site take too long to load. A slideshow in google drive with small file sizes ended up being a great solution. It is easily imported to wix, updates automatically, and doesn’t take too long to load. Every time you re-sync google drive on wix though, you have to change the background of your slideshow again. Not too big a deal.
When I look on top ten writing blogs I find that nine out of ten of them have the word write in the title. The other has the word pen…so I’m sort of on the right track. But I’d like to research how to improve SEO on my site and make it more accessible to writers who are casually browsing. Sites owned by individuals have links to all of their social media outlets or their other sites so I’d like to implement these links onto my contact page as well as widgets that link to older blog posts and help to categorize them. This is often done on writing sites. Also, providing links to other sites like mine will help connect me to that community. I’m also making business cards with QR codes on them that link to my site.

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