When we read a book, watch a movie, go out for a meal we judge it. We either like it or we don’t. We all have opinions and we generally share those opinions with our friends and family. Word of mouth is still the best way to spread the news. Why? Because usually word of mouth means people are talking with people they know. They have a relationship and that means they’re better able to judge the recommendation and they know from experience whether or not what their friend likes will be something they like. [Read more…]
Welcome to the New Year. Did you make your New Year’s Resolutions?
It seems to me that a lot of people treat blogs like diets and exercise. Many begin. Most quit. That’s because diets are hard and it’s difficult to replace old habits with new habits. But if you have a web site and you decide to blog then you need to make a commitment to do so on a regular basis.
Blogging takes time. It takes effort. Blogging like any writing requires you to make a commitment. So before you decide if you want to add a blog to your web site decide if you are willing to commit the time and energy needed to do it on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
And if you decide you want to blog then write about the things you love. The things you feel some passion towards.
If you’re a plumber – write about plumbing. But if you’re a plumber with a passion for David Winter Cottages or the music of the Manhattan Transfer then write about that. Write about what you love and other people interested in The Manhattan Transfer or David Winter cottages or plumbing will find you and be interested in what you have to say.
This is my blog where I write about a few of the things I love like theatre, film, marketing, and playwriting. And even though I launched my web site last summer I actually began writing an unpublished blog every week a year before I launched my web site. I did that so I would get into the habit of writing a blog and so I could start to develop my voice as a blogger. Although I have to admit that I wasn’t successful right out of the gate. No. I had tried to start my blog the year before but had failed. Like many things in life we have to try more than once in order to succeed. And having tried and failed I learned from my failure and tried again. This time with more success.
And this year, in addition to sharing my own thoughts about theatre and story and playwriting, I’m planning to do the occasional interview with other actors, writers, and playwrights to get their thoughts and experiences. In fact, my first interview will be published later this month. It’s a two part interview with playwright Meredith Taylor-Parry whose most recent work, Book Club, a one act comedy about the joys and challenges of motherhood, premieres at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary this February.
So, if you’ve got a web site and you want to blog by all means go ahead. But if you don’t want to blog don’t. Don’t do something that doesn’t feel right. Don’t do something just because other’s do it. Maybe all you need is an update page on your web site where you give the occasional update about your work or an event you’re attending.
But if you do blog remember a blog requires regular updates. That can mean once a day or once a week or once a month. You decide. And remember your blog should reveal something about your personality. It should sound like you. You’re not writing a term paper. Unless, of course, your web site is about writing term papers. Then your blog should probably have a more academic feel to it. Maybe. Otherwise have fun. Write what you think. Explore your thoughts and ideas and share them with the world.
Have a great 2016 and good luck with all your New Year’s Resolutions and blogging and playwriting.
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So, my website has been up and running for a few years and if I was to launch my website today I’d certainly do a lot of things differently. One of the things that changed about six months after I had my website built is that the DIY design software made huge leaps. When I was originally looking at the DIY websites they looked amateur and unprofessional. But the tools have changed – and that means writers and photographers and restaurant owners can now create terrific looking websites on their own. So, right now I’m in the process of doing some research and in the next six months or so I will be relaunching my website. I just thought I’d provide this update at the start of this blog post since this blog post was written three years ago when things were very different.
James Hutchison – August 26, 2018
When People Come to Your Website
When people come to your website what is it you want them to do? Do you want them to sign up for your blog? Do you want them to visit your store? Do you want them to download your music? Your web site should be designed with one primary purpose. Yes, it can talk about your history and the management team and how you always knew you wanted to be the world’s best builder of gingerbread houses since you were eight years old and your grandmother taught you her secret gingerbread recipe but those are the extras. They are the background. They should not be front and center.
Go take a look at Stephen King’s website. What’s the first thing you notice? The new book, right? Front and center is the new book. Not a picture of Stephen King. Not a photograph of his cat. Not a google ad. His website is dedicated to his work. Yes, you can find out about Stephen King, and lots of people are interested in Stephen King, but King and his team know that the purpose of his website is to promote and sell his books, movies and television programs. So, learn a lesson from Stephen King. Your website isn’t about you. It’s about your work.
Making Your Work Available to the World
When I started writing my plays one of the things I knew I wanted was a web page. A place in cyberspace where I could make my plays available to the world whether the world wanted them or not. And early on I decided that I would hire someone who could create a well-designed simple website that had a consistent look and feel. I found someone: Shaila Abdullah. It took me more than three years to find her but find her I did. It was a long journey. A journey where I did a lot of planning, thinking, and looking.
I looked at hundreds of author websites including Stephen King, Norm Foster, Ken Ludwig and Theresa Rebeck, in order to see what they were doing. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of my website and how I wanted it to function and how I would use it as a marketing platform and how I would integrate social media and whether or not I should do a blog and if I do a blog how often should I blog and what should I blog about. And finally, I did some planning. I created a design document that outlined the purpose of my website and how I wanted it to function.
Then last fall I stumbled across a website called, Funds for Writers. I liked the look of it and saw that it was designed by Shaila Abdullah. Shaila is not only a designer but a writer. Yes, a writer! An award-winning writer. A writer of novels and short stories. And I thought – ah here’s someone who not only designs websites but understands the needs and challenges of being a writer and trying to get your work out into the world.
So I checked out her company: My House of Design and took a look at her portfolio. I loved her work. So, I revised my design document and contacted her for a quote. That was almost a year ago and in that time we’ve worked together to create jameshutchison.ca. It’s been a fantastic experience. I like working with Shaila because it’s her company and she’s the designer. When I send an e-mail or have a question I send it to her. She doesn’t have to check with anyone. She’s the boss – she’s the designer – she’s the one that gets back to me.
Shaila has offered suggestions and recommendations but always respected my wants and needs as a client. It’s been a complete pleasure working with her. She has a great eye for design and colour and consistency of brand. And her sense of humour and positive spirit has made the whole process a pleasure.
So, if you’ve written your novel or your play or your poem and you’re ready to build your website and make your work available to the world there’s no one I’d recommend more to help you with that task than Shaila Abdullah. She’s a terrific designer, highly professional, and extremely creative. And she does more than just writers. You can check out more of Shaila’s work at myhouseofdesign.com.
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