Welcome to the first blog post on my new site, which you’ll notice is totally free of the “.wordpress.com” hanging off its back end! The thing about working in digital marketing is that, if you start your own site, the SEO people will never let you hear the end of it until you put it on your own domain.
But now that I’m here, I’m glad.
For a while, I considered taking my old Wordpress blog and just migrating everything over. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed a change in layout and site architecture to get the most out of what I’m trying to do here.
I envisioned my site as a portfolio at first. It was going to be a place where I’d spotlight my published pieces and a place where I could send editors or publishers who wanted to know if I was legit. But as I worked on it more and more, it became a place where I wanted to talk about writing, talk about process, talk about the ups and downs and the business and the craft and everything in between. The links to my published pieces still needed a place to live, but they weren’t the main draw anymore.
And the old layout just wasn’t going to work for that.
When you landed on my site before, the first thing you saw was a rotating mantle of whatever I deemed to be “sticky” articles. At first, I used those spots for what I considered to be my best stuff. But as time went on, I started just putting my most recent blog posts there.
I still think this layout looks great, but as a writer, I had a few problems with it.
The biggest problem was that the images were stealing the show.
I chose that layout specifically for the rotating mantle, because let’s be honest… words alone are not sexy. I thought if I could lay a headline over a cool photo and use the visual interest to draw people in, it’d be a lot better than just having a bunch of text all over the place.
But digging into my stats over the past couple of months, I found that I was getting a lot of home page views but not a lot of people were really clicking through to the content. Getting published on Thought Catalog and having one of my pieces added to a Medium collection drove some people to my site, but I guess when they got to the homepage, they just didn’t know where to go. Sure, the pictures were pretty, but it was hard to find the actual articles without either waiting for the mantle to rotate, clicking through it yourself, or digging through the archives.
So now, on my new site, the content itself is proudly on display. If you navigate to my blog, you can scroll through the headlines and get the first couple of sentences of whichever one tickles your fancy, and then expand it if you want to read on. I may still use images inside the posts where it makes sense, but I feel better not pretending to be a photographer or a designer or someone who specializes in any sort of visual medium.
Hopefully, if you come here, you know right away that I’m a writer.
If there’s a lesson here for other people like me, it’s that presentation is highly overrated. All the graphics and designs in the world can’t save your writing if it sucks. So maybe the best way to find out for real if you've got the goods is to put the words front and center, unsexy as they are, and let them speak for themselves.