Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Interview with the Web Goddess Astrid!!

Heya Astrid, Web Goddess Supreme!

So welcome to the blog of the website that is YOURS THAT YOU MADE FULL OF TEH WIN but will be unveiled on Friday!

Astrid: Thanks for having me, Jen. You are teh AWESOME :)

So I guess we'll begin, since every time I'm near you I get all fangirly and hysterical and that's good for nobody but me!

Astrid: *LOL* Do you realize that I'm speechless when I'm around you?

*blush* !! You charmer, you...all right! Here we go!

JKB: So what, in your estimation is the KISS OF DEATH for a person wanting to make an author website for themself?

AP: Oh, a lot of things. Mostly it's the design. Please don’t do a website with Times New Roman and rainbow colors! Granted, some people do have the vision and the eye for it even if they never studied web design, but most of them don't. And their website just shouts incompetent!

JKB: I always liked the sparkly stars that followed the web cursor around, myself. *hee* Do you do website design as well?

AP: Yes. It’s one of my many talents *LOL*. Well, I studied Informatics in my Bachelor, which means I can do a lot of magical things with computers ... and then I studied Digital Media, which means I could do even more magical things with design.

JKB: I'm here to vouch for your mad talents! My website is a triumph! Should we worry about SEO and CMS and all these crazy things when we go to make a website?

AP: I'm not so keen about perfecting SEO. I believe in providing awesome content for the website. Sure, you do need to care for the basic links, keywords, how you would put the information on your site, and be active on other people’s site. But I don’t think you need to hire an SEO consultant. It’s better for authors to make sure that you provide great content, and let the search engine and people find you.

CMS (Content Management Systems) depend on how often you would like to update your site and how good your knowledge is on creating a web page. Nevertheless, I would recommend using a good CMS system so you could easily update the website, and actually encouraging you to do it often (which would result in a better SEO)..

JKB: Whenyou fist told me these terms I think my head exploded. But now I can say them without twitching! What do you think the PERFECT website is for an author?

AP: It has to be easy to browse around,interesting, and exudes the personality of the author (or the genre of the book he/she is writing). One more thing, website design also has trends. It tends to be obsolete after 2-3 years. Not only from the technology, but also from the design. Just like there’s new computers every 2-3 years, new color trends, etc. There are some exceptions, but
in general you’d have to look at your website after two years (or ask an expert) if your website is still up to date.

JKB: So you're definitely saying timeless does not work as a website design, huh? *sigh* Do you think that author websites necessarily need to be in flash, or any fancy things?

AP: It’s necessary to always think to yourself that “Form follows function”. So it totally depends on your design, on how do you want to say things in your website. Most of the time, flash is not necessary for an author’s website. However, do it the right way and you get a memorable site, like J.K. Rowling’s or Haruki Murakami’s. Just be aware that putting fancy things also means more cost.

JKB: Cost. Ugh. But then there are templates! Do you think that an author website "template" can work? What do you recommend on that?

AP: Yes. It provides a cheaper way to have your website properly designed. They won’t cost as much as hiring a website designer for yourself and you can actually see how the final site would look like. The downside is, there could be other sites that use the same template. If this is your concern, choose a template that has a few things that you can customize, so you could still feel that it’s YOU.

JKB: Lots of text on the website: love it or loathe it?

AP: Define lots of text *chuckles*. Take it this way, people who access a website usually have a very short attention span. So unless you’re writing a short story or a novel on your website,don’t do it.

JKB: So give me like five author websites you like. Any tips we can take from these?

J.K. Rowling
This is the first author website that impresses me. It’s very interactive, sort of like a mini game on its own. It’s something I would always remember.

Sophie Kinsella
Her website is true to her genre. Just from a glance you could see that she’s a chicklit author. It’s nice to read, and also very easy to navigate.

Terry Pratchett
His website is also true to his genre, and it’s a combination of flash and normal text.

Haruki Murakami
I think the website is not very modern in terms of the flash websites you tend to see right now. But on the other hand, it’s very Murakami somehow. A little quirky mysterious fantasy-like.

Miranda July

Very quirky, artist like website. Especially the book promo website, it’s something different.

I have to mention this one, it’s shared by one of my Swedish friends. This is not an author website but a book promotion site. Beware though, the book genre is horror. Andreas Roman’s Morkradd (Afraid of the Dark)

JKB: How long does it usually take you to produce a website?

AP: It’s like asking an author how long does it take to produce a novel. The unpredictable bits are the designing part. After the designs are done, then we could estimate the time. All depends on the complexity of the design, number of pages, and the technology used. I would say roughly 2 weeks - 2 months.
JKB: You write, too. :-D What important points did you want to bring through on your website about yourself, like writing and computering wise?

AP: I’m currently in the process of redesigning and revamping my website and my blog, so right now what you’re seeing is my general blog. When I’m done,I’ll be having parts of it dedicated on web design (tips, portfolio, templates), writing (books I’ve done, general thoughts), and travel.

JKB: So tell me. Was I super awesome to work with or what? :-D

AP: Totally! You have some great ideas already, and you’re a verycooperative client. A dream client for a web designer :). Not to mention the cupcakes :-D. I hope you’ll love your new website!

Astrid, how could I *not*? Thank you so much for answering all my questions!

So! Interested in Astrid making you a home on the net? You can contact her through her blog or her twitter right now - a new website and blog design is coming soon!


Alison Stevens said...

I definitely want Astrid's help (god knows I need it), and I am dying to see what she came up with for your site!!! Can't wait. *drums fingers on keyboard* *looks impatiently at clock* =D

JKB said...

HA HA HA! I am impatient, too! I can't wait for Friday!

aspiring_x said...

very informational! thanks!
only lasts 2 years! shoot!

Kerri said...

Great job, Astrid! I love the new web site! You're amazingly talented!