Writer’s Journal: Website Changes and What I Learned

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!


Just a week ago as I write this, I spent the day sitting under the teaching of Jane Friedman. For those who don’t know her, Jane is an expert in the business of writing, and she spoke to us about our author platforms.

Jane Friedman and Zoe Burton

One of the things I had hoped Jane would do is website critiques, and to my utter delight, she did. She no more than got the words out of her mouth asking for volunteers than my hand was up. LOL Those who know me well might laugh at that, because I really do not like to volunteer for stuff. I don’t like attention drawn to me. But, this was way too important an opportunity to allow my insecurities to rule.

In addition to looking at my website, Jane did a Google search of my name. I came up at the top, which I knew I would, because I occasionally Google myself just to check. She saw everything I usually see, which includes the photos and information of an actress with the same name of Zoe Burton.

Let me insert here that when I created my pen name (in case you are seeing this for the first time, yes, Zoe Burton is my nom de plume and not my real name), I did a Google search of it and no one else showed up who had the name. Yet here we are five years later and there are two of us. Go figure.

Anyway, when you do a Google search for Zoe Burton, on the right side of the page appears a panel, called a knowledge panel, containing information about me. It had lain unclaimed for years, because I didn’t know I could claim it. Jane encouraged me strongly to go ahead and declare it mine, which I did. As of Sunday, September 8, 2019, I am verified by Google and have the power to edit the information shown there. <insert large smile>

Back to my website …

I had at the top of my site, my theme song. I think Jane was a bit taken aback by it. LOL She advised removing it, but I can’t bear to. Instead, it’s been moved to the bottom of the page.

Jane also suggested I remove the blog images from the front page of my site, especially since I have the link in the black bar. I have done that.

At the moment, when you go to my site, you see a kind of note to myself: “Coming soon, new releases” or some such nonsense. I had to think about how to organize that before I could add the information. I had originally thought to add all three stories I’m working on – Darcy’s Predicament, Race Book 4, and the Patreon Christmas story – but after a discussion with Leenie, I’ve decided to keep it simple and only put my newest release up there.

Below that is my newsletter sign up. Then comes explore my books and purchase signed print copies. Below that is a link to the videos page, then news and updates, and events.

This page is not perfect. I have spacing issues on it and nothing up yet for the new release.

Near the top of the page is a black bar with links across it. I had so much stuff up on there last weekend, it took two lines. Jane suggested removing some things or condensing them. What I did was to make graphics to represent them and add them under the book things on the main part of the page, and above the video. Now, the black bar takes up one single line, as long as you don’t have to have the screen magnified to 125%.

I don’t know how much anyone will notice the changes, to be honest. I can see what pages have been viewed on any given day and how many times it was looked at, but not how much time anyone spent there or anything like that. For all I know, no one has ever looked at my website home page. However, I’ll know and someday, someone else will look at my site and remark on how professional it is. 🙂

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3


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