Website redesign – an update

Many thanks to those of you who took the trouble to respond to the questions in our last posting.

We’ve since learned that Google’s enforced redesign thing isn’t quite as bad as the media is making out. Apparently Google only pushes us down their search results if you’re searching for us on a phone. If searching using anything with a larger screen the results are (supposedly) unaffected.

We still think it’s worth looking at the design of our site and giving it a revamp. But at least we can now take a little time over it, and get it absolutely right, rather than having to rush out a new site for the sake of it.

After much research over the past week we’ve decided to switch our web design software from Adobe DreamWeaver to Serif WebPlus X8. We already use Serif PagePlus for our book layouts, so it’s a sensible choice – and considerably more affordable than the latest version of DreamWeaver, which now only seems to be available via an expensive annual subscription.

The new software will give us a decent, modern design (but not too different from what we currently have) and it incorporates the mobile-friendly stuff that will keep Google happy. It will also allow us to move this blog in-house rather than hosting it on WordPress – we’ll keep you updated about that. We’ll also be replacing the forum software in our members’ section with a new version, and maybe also adding live chat.

The design changes we’re talking about are all to do with our main website at www.ideas4writers.co.uk, but several people mentioned the design of this blog. The blog’s design will change (hopefully for the better) when we move it in-house later in the year. Some readers were worried that we might stop posting anniversaries and what ifs. We have no plans to do this – they will continue here in the blog. But we are debating whether to continue featuring them on the front page of our main website. What do you think?

We’re still looking at options for the site redesign, so if you have an opinion or can answer the questions we asked in the previous post, please get in touch.

And here’s an additional question: would you like us to add a forum for non-members too?

Next week  … well, can you believe it will be May already? We’ll be kicking off the month with a new batch of What Ifs to stimulate your creative juices.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing work on The Date-A-Base Book 2017, aiming to release it in June. And there’s a new edition of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book coming out straight after that.

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2 thoughts on “Website redesign – an update

  1. Do you find the current site easy to use? Yes. The links at the top of the page are bold and straightforward.
    Is it easy to buy things? Simple as clicking on the icon or the ‘our books’ tab.
    What would make it easier? Replacing the words ‘the fastest way’ with ‘Buy’ above the pictures of books.
    What would you like to see on the front page? Real photos, wider screen, …different font?
    Do you ever use the anniversary lists or what ifs that are on the front page, or should we remove them? I always look through them, occasionally use them, but think they set your group apart from others – I’d like to see them remain.
    Would you like to see something else on the front page instead? Additional to/under the date-a-base… an example of ways to use one of the dates eg. 30 years since Live Aid… directions an article could take, group brainstorming invitation, word cloud, mind mapping…
    Do you like the cartoon-style images on the front page and on the covers of the ideas books, or should we replace them with something more professional? I think real images are the way to go now, though cartoon-style has its place in articles.
    Should we list every book we sell on the front page to make buying them easier? Not necessarily, but the word ‘buy’ would be useful.
    For lifetime members only:
    Do you ever access the members’ section using a smartphone? No, unless it is from an email. I prefer my ipad or PC
    *I’d be happy to see the group more open to the public.

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