This was originally published in The Success Express,, on August 22, 2011.







Is Your Website Effective?

Fifteen Tips for Developing, Improving, and Increasing the Value of your Website

by Maralyn D. Hill, Co-Author ‘$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book

What’s the objective of your website and does it promote you or your team?

As someone who speaks at conferences on writing, conducts workshops, and attends many professional development sessions to keep learning, my head is filled with what I should do. Once I gain all the insight and in some cases, even make lists of what is needed, I still have to contend with my biggest two problems, time and money. I usually already know many of the suggestions and still don’t act.

After presenting at American Society of Journalists and Authors and attending many of the sessions, I walked away determined, that, this time, I was going to act. I did make a list of the website decisions I needed. That was six months ago and I’ve just started.

Why tell you all of this? Because no one knows more excuses to remain with my website the way it is, rather than get another one, and have one more thing to keep up. My current website and you can see it is extremely diverse. Although redone a few times, it works, but is not as effective as it should be. Websites should have a main focus.

The decision I finally made, even though I did not want to give up my other occasional assignments, was that I really wanted to focus on being a travel, food, and wine writer, a consultant, and conduct related speaking and workshops. Hence, has come to life.

I had my Webmaster create my logo and page design. However, in order to save money, I am writing and loading all the data myself. It is not complete, but a work in progress. My site is in WordPress, as it is user friendly for adding information.

Here are my recommendations, based on my own experience that I have learned from experts. It covers what I’m doing and what I know works:
1. Decide the business you want to promote or on which you wish to focus.


2. You want a link on the front page, introducing yourself in a 3 or 4-minute video. If you don’t want this on your front page, put it in your newsroom.


3. You need a newsroom that has any press about you.

Video intro 3-5 min max

News releases

News archives (organized by type)

Contact information

Breaking news

Request an interview (form with capcha)

Photographs (high res and web)

About – background

Bio 250 words

Bio 100 words

Bio 50 words

Bio 140 characters

Speaking digital audio files (links), as well as digital video files (links)

4. Be sure you have a blog that gets posted a minimum of once a week, to keep your site active. You can schedule blogs in advance, so you can prepare many ahead of time. Three to four times a week is better, but one is better than none.

5. If you include teaching or workshops, include courses and a couple of outlines.

6. Other websites you may have that you would like tied into this site, but not the main focus.

7.  Volunteer Work.

8.  Clips files (by publication through links, if you’re a writer or an author).

9. Social media links (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Flick), etc.

10. Event calendar.

11. RSS Feeds, Subscribe by Email, and Google Translate This.

12. Share button (on each page).

13. Books or whatever you have to sell, with call to purchase on each page.

14. Shopping cart (You can use PayPal or Google Checkout if you do not have a merchant account).

15. Disclosure page.

A suggestion, as you move ahead with your website, is to check out how I’m doing If I stop before complete, give me a nudge—it will be welcome. Just know, like many of you, I am adding to this every week. I just did not want to wait until I had it all together, to make it live.

Dig in, get organized, and get started. You can do it!