Novel Website Design

Or, How one woman learned to do what she loves for a living: An Interview with Diane Whiddon

Fabio Book Cover

Diane founded Novel Website Design to help authors get their name out and shine online. The name is a nod to her beginnings as a romance novelist. “I quit law school to write romance novels.  Seriously,” she said. Unfortunately though, she wasn’t finishing them.

Then, at a writer’s group she had joined to hone her craft, (and perhaps assist with those ever elusive novel endings), a girl came in showing off her brand new website. “Back then, it was a novelty for authors to have one.” (Side note…check out these 17 “ancient” websites that still work!) Diane said, “It definitely sparked my interest. But, I thought I could do better.  So, I started playing around with different programs and eventually taught myself how to build websites. I built a couple sites for fellow authors, and then more authors started requesting me. After a while, a few writers’ organizations came to me, and eventually, I realized I was making more money building websites than writing unfinished novels. My journey began.”

As much as Diane had hoped, it wasn’t glitter and unicorns all the time (just most of the time, which is still great).

Diane Whiddon

Diane Whiddon

“Most of my a-ha moments have come from me, on my yoga mat, or in my meditation, or from screwing up in my business.  It’s been dropping deadlines and picking myself up from that, or completely missing the point of what a client wanted or needed from their site design, or, quite honestly, realizing in the middle of client consult that I was actually talking about myself instead of talking to my client.”

How does she deal with being human?

“I just remember sometimes that everything, everything, everything that exists is made up of this powerful, beautiful energy that is really just love.  It also reminds me that we’re all connected and that every time I look in someone’s eyes, I’m seeing a precious expression of divinity. That grounds me when I’m about to get up somewhere and talk about money and sales.”

Yes, you can sell your products in an authentic way while remaining true to your spiritual essence and Diane consciously shows you how. Diane is an acclaimed public speaker and self-proclaimed “website medicine woman.” Through Novel Website Design, she focuses on serving others in a heart-centered way and helping them live their passion to be self-sufficient.

  “Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s constantly challenging, but I love it. I’ve never had this kind of freedom or excitement working for someone else. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Diane wants all entrepreneurs (or soon to be entrepreneurs) to have this same feeling. Check out her series of heart-centered workshops to “Make Your Website Awesome” so you can also learn to master your own website and marketing.

Classes will be held at one of our favorite wellness community centers, the Holobeing in Boulder and are sponsored by the Boulder Women’s Wellness Group. View the schedule and sign up here. Topics include SEO, writing great content, sales 101, how to make passive income through your website, and more. All workshops are two hours and cost just $45 for one, $125 for 3, or $200 for all 6.

Experience freedom and learn from the shaman of websites herself, Diane Whiddon. Contact Us to Learn More.

 

MakeWebsiteAwesomeFOOTER

Medicine Woman

Heal your website and business with Diane Whiddon, Website Medicine Woman

The world is constantly changing, but we already knew that! It’s difficult to keep up, that’s for sure. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 2014 to carry us and our businesses into the new year, it’s to do what you do well, and outsource the rest. Not only will you save time on the learning curve, but you’ll be able to really put power where you shine – instead of walking wibbly wobbly on a tightrope. (Think: I sorta got this, so I got this. No, actually you don’t, so why are you trying so hard? Just ask for help!)

This year, we are offering a series of workshops to help support you, learn & grow with you, and most important – heal your website.

Or, if you don’t have a website yet, we’ll teach you the ropes so you won’t need to call us for major surgery on it later. Our classes take a collaborative approach. There will be lots of Q&A and individual attention spent on each attendee.

First up – we tackle how exactly search engines work and how your business gets found online. How do you get from page 4 on Google to page 1? What are the rules? What are some strategies that you can put into your own business today? With expert website designer, businesses owner, and SEO technical guru, Diane Whiddon, you can be an expert too after attending this affordable class. (Just $45 for one, or $200 for the whole series).

Join us on Monday, February 9th from 9:30 – 11:30am for some one-on-one healing with Website Medicine Woman, Diane Whiddon.

Our workshops will be held at Holobeing in Boulder (a multi-dimensional health & wellness community center – the perfect place to heal your biz!). For more information, and to sign up, check out our events page, or shoot us an email at diane@novelwebsitedesign.com.

 

Novel Website Design really knows how to have a good time and do good while they’re doing it. (Wait, wha? …read on to see what we mean!)

Check out the gallery from our holiday gathering & awards announcements at Global Goods & Coffee in Arvada – our favorite hidden gem. (Note: coffee & tea = delicious; staff & volunteers = so kind; socially conscious business that supports Global Refuge projects = we’re in!)

And, of course, we honored this year’s winners for the Bravery in Business and Fearless in Fiction Awards.

Bravery in Business Award Winner: Abbey Charles (Copywriter Extraordinaire!!) (www.abbeycharles.com)

Bravery in Business Tech Award Winner: Thomas J. McAlister, P.C. (www.thomasjmcalister.com)

Bravery in Business Marketing Award Winner: Nicole Greenhouse of Greensky Massage (www.greenskymassage.com)

Fearless in Fiction Award Winner: Justin Holley (www.justinholley-author.com)

Fearless in Fiction Award Winner: Wendy S. Marcus (www.wendysmarcus.com)

Congratulations to all!

 

At Novel Website Design, we believe in bravery, we believe in business, and we believe in you. That’s why we’re honoring some very special, very carefully selected, businesses and authors with our first ever Bravery in Business and Fearless in Fiction Awards.

The nominees are those who are meeting challenges and opportunities with authentic practice and succeeding along the way.

Bravery in Business Awardfor fearless authenticity in marketing, branding, and overall business.  This award will go to a business that is bravely showing up as exactly who they are, willing to be seen and serve the people who need them the most.

 

Nominees:

Abbey CharlesAbbey Charles – She’s Novel Website Design ‘s fabulous Copywriter and she’s brilliant at it. She’d like to say she could use words to sell ice to an eskimo, but that’s just mean, so instead she’ll tell you that her passion is taking your thoughts and putting them into meaningful and engaging snippets that bring you quality customers and lots of good feelings. 

Kim Brokling of Pole Compete. She’s a pole dancer, so I love her.  She is brave and amazing. You can see Kim in action right here.  Kim owns Pole Compete – a business enlightening others to live healthfully and authentically. Oh, with a side of pole dancing!

Tom McAlister of Tom McAlister Certified Public Accountants  – Tom is just a wonderful guy, plus, he’s brave enough to branch out with his marketing plan – big points for that.  Tom is also nominated for the Bravery in Business “Tech Award” for branching out into techie things like an e-newsletter – because his favorite website designer told him to ;).Nicole Greenhouse

Nicole Greenhouse of Greensky Massage. I love how Nicole shows up in her work, and I’m SO proud of the book she’s written and the other stuff she’s doing as a result of our consulting together.  I truly want to celebrate that.  I’m considering giving her a runner-up award of Bravery in Business Marketing because of all she’s done with her marketing strategy.  I just love how she approaches it.

LilyLily Calfee Calfee of Boulder Women’s Wellness started a networking group Boulder Women’s Wellness Group that I just love. Lily is nominated for the Bravery in Business Award because she’s worked so hard to connect and support women wellness entrepreneurs.  Watch an interview with Lily right here. 

 

 

 

Fearless in Fiction Award – for fearless authenticity in writing, publishing and overall writing craft.  This award will go to a writer that is bravely creating a writing career and marketing strategy that reflects exactly who they are, and delivers stellar writing to their readers.

Nominees:

Justin Holley –  Nominated for being brave enough to branch out completely into self-publishing and for being a prolific writer and builder in the writing community.

Justin Holley--Author

 My Purple Fridays – Nominated for writing absolutely fearless stories to serve her demographic and for continuing to create wonderful storytelling through her blog.

 

 

Wendy Marcus

Wendy S. Marcus – Nominated for consistently creating excellence around her writing and her career. 

 

  Winners will be announced at 6pm at our holiday party (Tues. 12/16 from 4:30-6:30pm at Global Goods & Coffee in Arvada). Come enjoy a hot beverage and hang out with us. Whether it’s chai tea, coffee, latte, or something sweet, Global Goods & Coffee has it down. Everyone is a volunteer and the socially conscious business supports Global Refugee Projects. Maybe even grab a quick holiday gift while you’re here. Everything is handmade in the countries the shop supports. Check it out here. 

“Forget safety.

Live where you fear to live.

Destroy your reputation.

Be notorious.”

― Rumi

Are you ready to be brave in business? I’m Diane Whiddon, owner of Novel Website Design and I believe that entrepreneurs will save the world. We offer workshops, online and in-person, plus short-term memberships that help you stay accountable in your practice.Let me help you find your voice, and create a gorgeous website that show off your personal style and story. Learn more here. 

 

open bookHaving a website is critical for a published author, but what about the not-yet-published author?  Here are the top three ways that a website can benefit the gonna-be’s.

First, it shows agents and editors that you take your writing career seriously. 

This is pretty straightforward; if you’re willing to make the investment in a website and take the time and effort to fill it with engaging content that sells your writing and author platform, then you obviously care about your writing career.

An agent or editor who visits that kind of site is going to think, Ok, cool.  Not only is she a go-getter, this is also an author who is professional and is likely going to take her promotion seriously.  Awesome. 

Second, it pushes resistance out of the way.

I’ve seen it over and over again—something significant happens when a writer commits to moving forward and becoming visible with his writing.

Here’s the deal; getting your first website isn’t easy.  For most people, technology can be intimidating.  Plus, choosing a designer can be bewildering and terrifying, and then there’s the added stress of handing a chunk of money over to someone who’s going to be in charge of creating your professional presence on the internet.  Then, you have to figure out how to navigate the labyrinth of social media and actually create the content for the site, and figure out things like SEO, WordPress, and ALT tags. 

This is not small or easy stuff.

And none of that includes the rather vague, but still paralyzing feeling of just being out there with your writing.  I mean, people will see you.  It’s like the naked dream, but worse somehow, because they’re not judging you, they’re judging your writing.  Yikes.

So, first of all, if this terrifies you, you’re not alone.  It’s scary for everyone.  I don’t have a single client who didn’t have at least a minor freakout around either getting the site, launching it, or both.  It’s totally normal.  It’s a huge step.  It should be scary.  You’re a rockstar for even considering it.

And here’s the really awesome part, when you work through that fear, hopefully with the help of a supportive and competent web designer or writing coach, you’ll get so much out of facing it.  Your writing career will take on a whole new quality because you will take on a whole new quality.

You’ll realize that you’re not just waiting for the publishing world to notice you, you’re taking steps on your own.  That’s powerful.  And you’ll start adding the words “not yet” to your answer when anyone asks if you’re published.

Finally, it’s just plain lucrative. 

 “Self-publishing” and “e-publishing” aren’t the four-letter words they used to be, and income streams from teaching, speaking and blogging are more and more common. 

You just can’t do that without a website.  A website is the cornerstone of your author platform.  It’s where readers go to find out more about you and where you can communicate with them, not to mention sell and promote your books. 

It’s your online home, your store, your billboard in Times Square.  

It’s your sanctuary, where you go to be you and share your writing with your readers.

So, a website for an unpublished writer is an amazing investment and gift, both to your writing and to you.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat …?  And doesn’t Google have something now?  

I say focus on you and your business first.  Yes, social media can be important to your biz (and also kinda fun), but if you’re a tiny business and you’re just starting out, or if you’re a well-established business and you’re considering diving into the social media fray, remember this … 

Your best marketing is always, always doing more of your thing.  

Whatever that is, however it looks, you are almost always better off spending your time doing your thing than talking about it on Twitter.  

Here’s why:  When you do your thing–that thing you love and want to get paid more money to do–you get more happy clients.  Happy clients refer more clients.  More clients means more business and more opportunities to do that thing you love to do.  

Not to mention, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.  That means your happy clients will get even happier.  

So do your thing.  Do it a lot.  Do it with love.  And if you want to shout how much you love what you do from the rooftops, or the Pinterest board, or Facebook group, then do that, too.  But, only if it’s fun and easy for you.  Don’t torture yourself with social media.  Life’s too short.  Make it fun.  And your ideal clients will flock to you.   Every time.  

 

Social Media Permission Slip

 

Print it out and post it anywhere you need this reminder, above your desk, on the bathroom mirror, on your monitor, anywhere, or use it as a desktop wallpaper.  Forward it to a friend who might need it, too.

These permission slips give you permission to remember what matters–that done is better than perfect, that creating something you love every day is better than the accolades you get from the final creation, that comparison is an act of violence against the self, and at the end of the day, you get to simply have fun with what you do.

Permission Slips for Entrepreneurs

 

 

Print them out, cut them apart and post them anywhere you need gentle reminders, above your desk, on the bathroom mirror, on your monitor, anywhere.  Forward them to a friend who might need reminders, too.

 

Love Puzzle On Laptop Shows Internet Dating And Virtual CouplesI believe that entrepreneurs will save the world.  

That might seem like a tall order, but I think it’s possible.

I believe everyone has a business inside of them.  Everyone I’ve met has an idea for something that they’d like to give to humankind, even if it seems very, very small to start.

Not everyone has an idea of a mass innovation or a big product. Some people just have ideas for small little things that they’d like to do for their communities.  These things seem small, but I believe they’re actually very powerful.

If you’re spending your time doing a labor of love, and that effort is rewarded and validated by payments, testimonials and return customers, it’s incredibly fulfilling.

And fulfilled people do amazing things in the world.  Yes, some of them raise six-figures for a charity, but sometimes it’s an epic event for humanity to just let the person who cut you off in traffic move on without reacting.  Sometimes, it’s a huge deal to just forgive an old hurt that’s been weighing you down, or just look at the cashier instead of your cell phone and say hello with your whole heart.  Fulfilled people do those kinds of things.  They do them because they are so happy that they have the inner space, compassion and patience to act with love.

Going after what you love, accepting payment for it, and facing all the fears and insecurities that come up from that is such a fierce act of self-love that you can’t help but respect yourself and others.  You can’t help but give that same love and respect to other people.  

That ripples out into communities.  Every small act of love and compassion raises the level of all of humanity.  Giving a kind, knowing glance to the mom with the screaming children in the grocery store line changes the world.

So, I want you to go after your dream. I want you to go after what you love and pursue it fearlessly, relentlessly, like the entire world wants it for you.  I want you to do that, because I might very well be the person who cuts you off in traffic and I’ll need you to smile and wave me on, so I can remember what I’m here to do, too.  

That’s why it’s not only important, but essential to do what you love.  If it weren’t, you wouldn’t have a burning desire to do it.

No effort is too small or too tiny.  The ripple effect of one heart-centered entrepreneur going after what they love and serving the people who need it is enough to change the world.

blue buildingHosting doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s actually important.  Most people seem to think that all hosting is the same, so they just look for whatever is cheapest or the most popular.  As with most things, this is a usually a mistake.

Not all hosting is the same.

Here’s the deal.  Think of your website as a file folder that holds all the files of your site–images, text, pages–all your content is in that folder.  Then, your hosting account is the filing cabinet that it’s stored in.  That filing cabinet holds all kinds of other folders (websites), too, but it has a special place just for your yours, and hopefully, nothing from the other folders get mixed in with yours and there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Except that not all filing cabinets are the same, right?  They come in all different sizes, styles, and kinds of security, right?  There are those cheap, little plastic ones you get at the marts; those huge, old and rusty metal ones that you find for free on Craigslist; and then there are those new, shiny, sturdy ones with great locks and drawers that glide open for easy access to things.

Which kind of filing cabinet do you want for your website?  Your very expensive website that you’ve put tons of time and money into?

It might seem dramatic, but those are the kinds of differences we’re dealing with when we talk about hosting.  Some hosting is terribly old and outdated.  The servers won’t even support the latest version of certain software that you need.  If a server is old and out of date, it can make it nearly impossible for you to upload, run, or maintain your website.  You need a hosting company that is diligent about the capacity and updates of it’s servers.  You don’t want to have to wait to update to the latest, most secure version of WordPress because your host can’t handle it yet.  (I’ve seen this happen more than once.)

Some hosting is also pretty insecure.  Host companies have big rooms full of huge servers (or they should) and they can be hacked, virtually or in reality, just like anything else.  Hosting companies are in real-life (though usually secret) places and someone can break in and literally take the drive your website is stored on just like they can take money from a bank.  (It’s not easy, but it can be done.)  You don’t want your server in a somebody’s backyard shed with a little padlock on it.  You want a host that is conscientious about this, and takes steps to make sure that their stuff is secure, both virtually and physically.  

Some hosting companies offer massive grid servers that store thousands and thousands of websites, which means that you share drive space with a lot of other people, i.e. those filing drawers are huge.  This can make your hosting less secure.

And of course some hosts are just a headache to deal with.  Clunky back ends, confusing interfaces, and nonsensical procedures mean that if you do need help with your site, a designer will probably charge you more to deal with it because it will take them more time to work in your host.

So, all of this is to say that hosting counts.  It matters.  It’s not all the same.  So don’t buy into cheap deals or snazzy advertising.  Do they have a customer support number?  I.e. is there any actual person you can talk to if something goes wrong?  And what happens if your site goes viral?  If you suddenly get a ton of traffic, will your site go down, or do they have an automatic upgrade in place to handle it?

Those are just a few of the questions you might want to ask.  Also, are you hiring a designer?  What do they recommend?

There are lots of great hosting companies.  Now that you know what to look for, reach out to people you trust and get some great hosting.

girl listening to musicNo.  

Just no.

Seriously.

Here’s the deal:  

1.     If they wanted to be listening to something, they’re already listening to it.

Music, audio books, self-improvement affirmations, monks chanting–whatever–if they want to be listening to it, they already are.  Your mellow harp music, or edgy techno playing over it won’t be appreciated.

2.     If they’re not listening to something, there’s a good reason.

Maybe they’re at work.  Maybe the baby is sleeping.  Maybe they just like their quiet time.  Whatever the reason is, if they’re not listening to music, and yours comes blaring through their speakers without warning, they won’t appreciate it.

3.     You have 2 seconds to capture their attention.

That’s it.  Two seconds.  The back button is just too close and tempting.  If they don’t like your site for ANY reason, they can get the information they want elsewhere.  It’s too easy to go back.  Don’t give them any reason to do that.

A web presence is all about the user experience.  Make yours as non-intrusive as possible, but since I always say “There is no Right (or Wrong) Way” to do anything, let’s give a few exceptions.

Exceptions to the No Music Rule:

If you’re a musician, or if you’re really compelling on video and you want your customers to be able to see you and hear your voice right up front, you’re probably going to want it playing when people come to your site, but there are ways to do it without turning them off.

If you really want music on your site, try these:

1. Have the music playing on your site, but have it playing silently.

I know.  This sounds weird, but it works beautifully.  Put your music player in a prominent place on your site and have the music playing on mute so people can see the equalizer going.  Then, have the “Sound On” button in a prominent place.  The movement of the equalizer will get people’s attention, and if they want to listen, they’ll have the option to click on the sound.

2. This works well with video, too.

Have the video on your site play automatically, but just mute it.  Then, when someone clicks on the video, have it start over with sound.  For a great example of this, check out how www.youtube.com does their ads at the top.

3. Lastly, you can always just put the player in a prominent place on your site and let people play it if they want to.

There are a ton of player widgets out there, and if you have music of your own on a specific shared site, like ReverbNation, just use the embed code they give you to put your player just about anywhere.

They key here is to simply respect the user experience.  You control the content of your site, and let them control their immediate environment.  Then, give them great content, beautiful graphics, and well-organized content and layout.  They’ll be much more likely to stick around and get to know you and whatever you’re offering.