Novel Website Design

Just designed a new cover for author A.R.Silverberry‘s bestselling book, Wyndano’s Cloak.  Covers and book blurb is below.

Wyndano’s Cloak

Wyndano's Cloak by author A. R. Silverberry

Jen has settled into a peaceful life when a terrifying event awakens old fears of being homeless and alone, of a danger horrible enough to destroy her family and shatter her world forever.

She is certain that Naryfel, a shadowy figure from her past, has returned and is concentrating the full force of her hate on Jen’s family. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning.

Wyndano’s Cloak may be Jen’s only hope. If she can only trust that she has what it takes to use it . . .

A tale of madness, friendship, and courage,Wyndano’s Cloak reveals the transformative power of love and forgiveness, and the terrible consequences of denying who you really are.

 

Find out more at A.R.’s website: www.arsilverberry.com.

Because I’m so passionate about entrepreneurs and the power of going after what you love, I volunteer some of my time with Operation HOPE’s high school and middle school business program, Business in a Box.

I get to do some pretty cool things with it, and lately, I was a part of a panel of self-made business owners at CEC Middle College.  We told our stories and answered questions, and listened to the ideas and passions of the students.  It was awesome.

The event was featured on Operation HOPE’s national blog, and my favorite part is that the one sentence of mine that they quoted is basically my entire mission statement, “… it also touched on the motivational when Ms. Whiddon shared: “Don’t worry about being an expert and don’t worry about somebody already doing it, you should just do it anyway”.

Indeed.

If you know what you want out of life, go after it.  Let your dreams and desires draw your roadmap to your best life.  And when fear and doubt get in your way, just do it anyway.

Read more about the event here…

Daring Greatly – Desktop Download

04 Feb 2014, Posted by Diane in Desktop Downloads, Joy

So, I’m currently co-teaching this class on marketing for acupuncturists (more on that later), and as a part of the class, we’re reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (yeah, it’s a pretty awesome marketing class).  If by chance you don’t know who that is, you must stop reading this immediately and go watch her first TED talk, and then her second.  (amazing, right?)

Anyway, we’re reading this book, and I’m blown away again and again by how important it is for us to have a sense of love and belonging in this world that has nothing to do with external circumstances, so we can each be more of who we are.

Our primary job here is to get our gifts out into the world.  That means doing more of what we love, putting up with less bullshit, saying ‘No’ to things (and people) that don’t serve us, and keeping a bead on realizing our best life.

This is scary as all hell.

Suddenly, letdowns, failures, setbacks, mistakes, and rejections all seem to be personal.  So, it’s much easier to be what other people expect, to ‘make nice’ so we get approval, and play it safe, so we can avoid judgment, pain and failure.

Except in avoiding that stuff, we avoid all the beautiful stuff about life, too.

By playing it safe, we never know the exhilaration of leaning into the unknown of our highest possibility.  By always pleasing others, we never know the joy and fulfillment of hearing our own amazing inner voice.

There’s something so wonderful in just the act of risking it all and knowing that you’ll be okay, no matter what happens, because you believe in the worthiness of your fight … and the enoughness of you.

So, here’s the Man in the Arena from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech that’s the basis for Brene’s book, and another copy converted to the feminine because sometimes we need to hear those words, too.

desktop_woman_1680x1050.old

desktop_man_1680x1050.old

Be More of You

17 Jan 2014, Posted by Diane in Business, Gratitude, Marketing
This post was originally published as a part of Lavone Ellis’s Customer Love campaign.  It’s been edited and updated here.

A couple of years ago, I ran across this post from Lissa Rankin about what you’d say if you had a mic, an audience of 10,000 and ten minutes, and I knew instantly what I wanted to write about.  It’s what Ialways want to write about.  It’s my message:

Be More of You.

Best way to love your customers?  Best way to get clients, build your biz, promote yourself and your passion?  Be more of you – glorious, imperfect, awesome, outrageous you.

Diane Whiddon

This is what I tell my clients all the time.  So many lovely people come to me to create their website and ask me, “What should I put in my website?” or “What’s the right way to do it?”

First of all, I want to banish that word “should” from the internet and the English language in general.  Then, I want to take a flame-thrower to the notion of the Right Way of doing things.  There is no Right Way.  And there is nothing that you should do; there is only what you want to do.

Over and over again, my life has gotten easier the more I listened to my intuition and followed my heart, even when it led me down a path that people said was crazy.  “You want to start a business?  Why?  What about a 401K?  You can’t work in your pajamas!  You don’t even know anything about bookkeeping!  You’ll fail horribly!”

Maybe so.  But it won’t be because of pajamas, which actually work rather well as my work uniform, and it won’t be because of ignorance around bookkeeping.  As it turns out, you can hire people to do that for you.

And I’m now in my eighth year of running my own little rockin’ website biz.

So I tell my clients, over and over again, there is no Right Way.  You pour as much of yourself into your site as possible and it will be brilliant, compelling and true.  Don’t worry about doing what someone else did – use your website to shine your light all over the internet and it will be enough.

You will never lose by being more of yourself.

So, right now, from wherever you are, think about how you can be more of yourself in what you’re doing.  How can you let go of other people’s expectations?  Well-intentioned family, friends, even other gorgeous people involved in this challenge – are you doing something because someone else expects you to?  Are you relying a little too much on the safety of doing what someone else suggested instead of doing what your heart tells you?

Think about what you want.  Think about how you want to love your Right People.  Then, think about where you are right now in this moment with your biz.  And then just take one clear step of action toward it.

Just take one step toward what you want.  Just one.

Embrace the splendor of you.  We already love you.  And your Right People are out there right now, looking for you.  Shine your light so they can find you.

Desktop Download – Shoes

17 Jan 2014, Posted by Diane in Desktop Downloads

This is another quote from tut.com that I love because it’s true.  In every moment, we are all doing the best we can.  Remembering that can get us back to compassion and empathy, not just for others, but for ourselves, too.  Stop beating yourself up.  It’s not serving you. 

Desktop Download with shoes

This is a short 10 minute presentation I gave recently about what I do best–teach people how to make money and find success online. I believe that marketing is simply the Art of Talking About What You Love and I teach people how to do it better and how to create ways to shine online to serve their Ideal Clients and improve their lives.

 

So, every once in a while, I like to put out pretty desktop downloads.  Here’s one just for writers.

The quote is directly from one of tut.com’s Notes from the Universe.  It really resonated with me because I’ve seen this so many times in my own life.  When I dedicate myself to what I love, and open up to let the universe work for me, I tend to get what I want so much more quickly than when I’m trying to force things or do it all myself.

This desktop is a reminder to keep going, just a little bit, when things get difficult or scary.  Just do as much as you can, and that’s usually all it takes to gain momentum or turn things around.  You’re so much closer than you think you are.

Pile of Books

 

Does my website need music?

12 Jan 2014, Posted by Diane in Marketing, User Experience, Website

girl listening to musicNo.  It doesn’t.

Just no.

Seriously.

(Sigh.)  Okay, here’s a more in depth answer, even though what’s above is really all you need.

It’s been a while since music on a website was a hot new trend, but I still get this question every once in a while.  Mostly, it seems to be from people who want to “create an experience” for their website visitors, and it seems to stem from a genuine desire for people to share more of who they are on their site, which of course I always support, but, let me tell you why it’s not a good idea.

Reasons to NOT have music playing on your site:

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.  And 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 probably 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 ”Never say never” and “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.

Happy New Year 2014

11 Jan 2014, Posted by Diane in Business, Gratitude, Joy

Diane Hiking

So, it’s been a few years since I’ve relaunched my site, and now I remember why…

Holy mackatole, Batman, it’s a crazy pain in the ass.

I totally understand why the cobbler’s kids didn’t have shoes. What is super easy and fun for me to do for other people is somehow gut-wrenching and terrifying to do for me.  But, still as I look into a brand-new year chock-full of speaking gigs, classes and workshops, it was definitely time for a new look.

And because you can’t re-launch your whole website without revisiting some of what you’re about, here’s a list of some of my most recent insights around my work:

  1. Going after new goals doesn’t mean much if you can’t acknowledge the mountain you’re standing on.  Chances are, you’ve got quite a few there, and it wasn’t easy to get that far.  Give yourself some credit and acknowledgement.  A lot of it.  Then look to new horizons.      
  2. I deal in possibilities, so the internet and its 2.5 billion loving souls are my playground because SO much is possible here.  You can have any business you want, and it can look any way you want it to.
  3. Life is meant to be fun.  Working with this principle, instead of against it, allows our life to get much, much easier.
  4. At the end of the day, I still love design.  Photoshop still feels like coloring with grown-up crayons.  I can’t believe I get to do this for a living.  When I really look at my biz and my clients, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
  5. It’s scary to get yourself ‘out there’ on the interwebs.  I know this.  It’s not news, but every time a client has a meltdown, or a freakout around the time that they launch, I can say with total sincerity, “I get it.  I really, really do.  This stuff is hard.  But, it’s also wonderful.  And you’re going to be fine.”

We all are.  In fact, I think we’re going to be magnificent.  We were made for it.  So, as I raise a glass to a brand new year of possibilities, I invite you to consider what you really want for yourself and your life, and then be brave and relentless in your pursuit of it.