Friday, October 2, 2009

My Other Exciting But Not Nearly As Life-Changing News

My website is up!

In the wake of Immigration trying to destroy my life, I decided to hurry up and launch my website. I was able to get the domain name I wanted, and for the past 36 hours I've been finalizing all the details.

I still plan to do something completely different and much cooler with the portfolio, but this will do for now. Last night around 6pm I suddenly realized I hadn't included any contact information, so now that's there too.

Without further ado...

I'd love to hear what you think. Any issues you have with pages loading, something that's hard to read, typos... you name it.

Part of my long-term goal is to be able to work full time as a freelancer -- or actually form my own business and call myself self-employed -- so let me know if you're ever in the market for a website, or know someone who is.


Janna Qualman said...

It's perfect!

JLC said...

It does look great! I did notice a small detail involved with your thumbnails on the design page. When my cursor rolls over one, it doesn't indicate that the thumbnail is a link, so it took me a moment to realize I could make those images bigger. BTW, your design work is very cool! Congrats on your new site! Woohoo!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Janna.

JLC, I keep meaning to make a note to click on the thumbnails to see the larger image. I plan to do something different with that, so I haven't spent much time making it fancy.

Pam said...

Looks great, Melanie! I found 2 little things: On the rates for corporate logo, you left off a $. And on the Writing page there is a typo in 'mainstream.' Sorry, but you asked!

I love the color, and the clean look. Excellent work.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Pam! Don't apologize, that's why I asked. :) I made the changes but I'm going to hold off uploading them in case someone points out something else...

Anonymous said...

Wow, I got dizzy! I clicked on the link, went to the new site, then clicked on Blog to see what was there and I wound up back here!

Nadine said...

I love it! And I love how you mention each book - You make it clear you are not a one book broad! :P

I give you an A+!

Melanie Avila said...

Ferret, that cracked me up! You like how everything is all interconnected 'n stuff?

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Nadine! I'll probably put an excerpt from my memoir, I just didn't have the energy to go through it.

Robin said...

Some thoughts, keeping in mind I don't know this field at all. . .

I am a moron, and I tried to click on the pile of books on the front page, thinking that I was supposed to do that to get around. Then I noticed the headings up top. Other people might be as dumb. (Or not.) Yet, it might be a cute way to navigate around your website.

Your picture is totally adorable. Nuff said there.

I would put the stuff about your writing under a heading that says "My writing". If someone is going to hire you for web design, I don't think they want to go through all the beginning stuff about your writing before they get to the design training.

I'm actually shocked I had an opinion here. *blush*

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, do you mean in the About Me section? That's a good point. And I did think about making the pictures links too -- something I can consider in the future. :)

Robin said...

I just went back to the site. I was a little spazzy my first look.

Yes. It's the "About Me". People who are spazzy will go to the first tab they see, and if they don't like it, or it doesn't quickly tell them what they need, they might go. Since you want people to pay for design services, mostly (at least right now), I'd either put the design tab first, or make the About Me really really brief. "I'm Melanie Avilla. I currently live in Mexico with my husband and dog. I'm a writer and a freelance designer."

I'm just thinking that this is a place you mostly want potential clients to go to so that you have an income stream. So, maybe the more folksy stuff should be saved for your blog.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, that's a very good point. I've been wanting the first page to have a little more content, so I think I'll put a little description there and direct people to go to the Design link for my portfolio and rates, then, as you said, they won't get lost in the About Me stuff if they aren't interested.

I'm bad -- I rarely read that stuff on other people's websites unless I like what I see on the other pages, so I guess I was thinking that way. :)

ac said...


I've run an online business for over ten years, and make a six figure salary with zero advertising dollars. I mention these facts to provide a bit of credibility to my thoughts.

1) I'd get rid of or change the Writing page. Use the site to sell your business. Not your novel. However, if you are intending to provide content as well as web design then make sure there is a tie-in btwn your novel writing and text that you will provide clients.

2) I'd get rid of the link to the blog. Mainly for the same reason as above...use the site to sell your business/services. Potential clients want to hire someone who they believe is "full time." No one wants to be a guinea pig or deal with someone who is charging professional fees but is an "amateur." Amateur is in quotes because I'm not suggesting you are one.

3) Under the Design page the links to the sample websites don't work. If you don't have sample sites, then contact three people that you know who want to revamp their website or want have an online presence and offer your services for free. This way you can add a page that features your website work.

4) The design of the site is nice. However, it's not nice enough for a professional web designer, IMO. It has a template feel to it.

5) The About Me page is too focused on writing and your novel.

6) Learn SEO and apply it to your site.

7) Add a page where you explain the process, and how customers can make payments.

8) Add a section where you invite people to contact you with their questions. Also, include specific questions you'd like to know about your potential clients. For example.

Do you have an existing website? If yes, what are you looking to change?

Questions like that...where you are figuring out the customers "pain" beforehand.

9) Are you providing hosting services? Or registering domain names? Things like that? If so, mention it. If not, consider doing so.

Melanie Avila said...

AC, these are great, thank you! I have one other friend who gave me some similar advice (especially about the writing and blog links). I am going to take the rates down, I just haven't done it yet.

What I may do is create a second site for design. I like this one for the writing stuff and I'm learning Flash now, so maybe I'll create an additional one.

I don't know if I'm ready to launch this as an actual business, but I am writing down all your suggestions.