The Crusie Website, It Needs Work: Part 2

So I had lunch with Mollie today, and it was great, so much fun, and one of the things we talked about was the jennycrusie.com website.  For those of you new-ish to the blog, Mollie is my business partner and also my daughter, who runs her own business keeping authors’ online identities professional and easily accessed.

You can imagine how working with me makes her insane.

I feel my website should be a party.  She feels it should be professional, easy to navigate, and above all dedicated to marketing my books.  She pointed out today that my site is a nightmare to navigate on mobile devices because of all the nesting tabs.  I said, “Is there any way we can move the WiPs to Argh and just put a link on the site, and she said, “YES!”

Then she said, “We’ll move the essays and the Everything Else and the . . .”

All of which is to say that a whole lot of content is going to disappear from the website and end up over here.  She’ll run the website like the professional she is, and I’ll get to be as random and impulsive as I want over here.  

Which means that my questions about organizing the website will, in the future, be about organizing Argh, which is already sprained from the hack.

And that means that this is a good time to weigh in on what drives you crazy about trying to get around here, what you’d like to see, and how you’d like to see it.  There’s nothing about Argh that’s professonal, not that many people know we’re here since I never promote the blog (don’t need to, no advertising so the clicks don’t matter here).  It’s just us.  

Meanwhile, now that I’m home I’m going back to my demons.  

42 thoughts on “The Crusie Website, It Needs Work: Part 2

  1. I don’t have a comment about jennycrusie because I hardly ever go there, usually only when you ask us to look at something, but that damn monkey with the cymbals on the Argh banner thingy gives me the wiggins and I hate it. It’s not as bad as a clown but for me it takes the magical realism vibe off of the banner and puts it firmly in the creepy/horror camp. Not that you asked my opinion about the Argh banner…

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      1. I actively avoid him. Seriously. Grown-ass woman scrolling to avoid a digital monkey. I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t secretly think that creepy toys were going to be the death of us all.

        Nope, I never told my therapist any of this, why do you ask?

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          1. I love the monkey. He’s the sort of thing you find in an antique shop and everyone else wonders who would buy that thing …

            And I wonder how much?

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  2. For the most part, I’m fine with the blog. I have never gone to the other site, and most likely won’t have a reason to do so, as any information I need will pop up here first. One of the common tendencies for blind folks is that they spend far less time visiting different web sites because they take so much longer to navigate when you can’t see, and because so many sites have some sort of perverse counter that tracks how often you go there so they can make sure to change the site the moment you start to feel familiar with where things are.
    Another note: WiPS reads like Y P S by my screen reader. Until I went letter by letter I wondered what your Y P S page was about. Making that all caps or all lower case resolves that issue.

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    1. I’ll put it in all caps. If I forget, remind me; I don’t know when Mollie will start moving things over and I have a mind like a sieve.

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  3. I don’t spend much time at the other website. Usually only go there when you ask us to look at something. The last time I went for my own purposes was when I wanted the banana bread recipe. If all the extra stuff moves here, that would actually be more convenient.

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    1. That’s what I thought. The website is kind of a billboard. Mollie says she’ll put a banner across that bottom that essentially says, “For a good time, go to Argh Ink,” and then people can come over here for Stuff.

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      1. The website should probably be a nice safe spot for the average reader to find and love your books.

        THEN we suck them over to the dark side… ; )

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  4. Why would I spend time at a properly professional website when I could spend time in the World of Argh?

    Honestly the only parts of author websites I really care about are the blogs, extra reading tidbits, release timetable and series orders. The first 3 come from argh and the last isn’t applicable. Anything quirky and wierd is welcome. I’ve never had any problem finding anything except particular blog posts hazily remembered and probably from before your last big website crash a number of years ago. I think you have been doing a good job tagging posts for some time now, btw.

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    1. I need to go back in and do more. And keep adding to that series tab and make sure that posts in a series are linked to each other so people can just click on the next one.
      Except first I have to write some books . . .

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  5. I visit the website sometimes, when I’m hungry and think about trying Chicken Marsala. I’ve never actually made it because Marsala is not stocked by my local store, and I never remember it when I’m in town. I suspect Chicken Pinot Noir is not going to cut it :p

    One thing I’d note about jennycrusie.com is that as a reader, the thing that makes your website stand out from other author websites is the element of personal – the recipes, the essays with the feminist flavour etc the (as Kick put it) the ‘quirky and weird’. As it is now, it feels real, like you’re thinking about your website visitors as people, and that it is showing a bit of Jenny Crusie the person, not just Jenny Crusie the product. This website could ONLY be yours – whereas some websites, if you changed out the headings and the book titles, they could almost be anyone’s. This engages people, converting them from ‘I quite like this author’s books’ to ‘I quite like this author’ – the latter group of readers are going to be much more powerful in promoting your books for you. For example, I LOVE your books, and so I want everyone to read them. But because I also like your values and how you give back to the communities you are part of, I don’t want to lend them my copies, I want them to go buy their own. (I’ll lend them one as a taster, to get them hooked). And the blog keeps me engaged, so even if it is a thousand years that I have to wait for Nita (*g*) you haven’t lost me in the meantime. I guess all I’m saying is, easy navigation and being device responsive is a baseline you need to meet, but don’t forget the colour and personality that make it special, and bring people back so as a product, you remain top of mind for gifts and book referrals and new book releases. One little thing you could consider is changing ‘Join Jenny’s Mailing List’ (why would I? I get enough in my inbox – make it worth my while) to something like ‘There might be a new book sometime, register (or sign up or something) if you want notified when it hits the shelves’

    You have probably been considering all the above for years and I’m teaching you (and Mollie) to suck eggs (sorry sorry sorry!), but this is what I do for a living (brand stories, messaging, and expressing these values and messages clearly through marketing communications) and you did ask for feedback…

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    1. Sorry for the long long post! Also, if you’re making platform changes to argh, the ability to post images in comment might be nice? Or might just be a moderation headache for you…

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      1. I can post images on the dashboard. Not sure what it takes to enable that for you.
        After the hack, we stripped Argh down to the basics. We’ve never even gotten the Like buttons back, which I should ask for again.

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        1. I would think the like buttons would be one of the most requested things for Argh (and refab).

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        2. Yes, please. I like Likes. Or thumbs up or happy faces or whatever icon you want to use.

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    2. Hey, all feedback is welcome. I’ll have Mollie read all the comments in a few days. Thank you.

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  6. I’m with Allanah. I mostly don’t read authors’ official websites because they’re sales tools full of books and devoid of personality.

    But yours! Yours is a delight! Sneak peeks at your writing process, information on craft, a giving community, whimsy, and humour….

    Mollie’s right about the bottom line, but I’m so glad you’re keeping Argh.

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    1. Oh, I’ll defend Argh to the death. And Mollie’s all for it, too. It was her idea in the first place. “You should have a blog,” she said. “What’s a blog?” I said. That was ten years ago . . .

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      1. So when’s the anniversary? We should all have Cake for the ten years. How’d it go by so quickly?

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  7. Keep Argh two column. It translates well on mobile.

    Mollie is right about mobile browsing- tabs in the menu on the website are very annoying because it means navigating away from the page. That annoys me everywhere else too.

    Didn’t we figure out the monkey was only ok if he was upside down? Right side up and he looked like IT’s assistant. See about getting a friendlier looking musical monkey.

    I missed the “I love this” button at first but got over that. Now I’m into fewer moving parts the better.

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  8. Btw I’ve decided to work away from being angry. Just rather feel “a fuck ton of emphasis.”

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  9. Honestly, I don’t have a clear distinction in my mind between Argh and your website. You send us to the website for the drafts, right? (BTW, very lovely drafts indeed; spring has left me brainless and without coherent opinion, though, so I haven’t been playing along in the comments.) I also sometimes remember something I saw, and I’ll google it, and Google will send me to Argh or the website, and I rarely notice.

    I’ve adored the blues in the web design ever since you brought it out, and I would like to see it over here, as well. And like buttons over here would be appreciated. But neither of these are extremely pressing to me.

    The big thing is that if I suddenly remember an obscure essay, Google will send me to the essay, no matter if it is here or at jennycrusie.com. These days, I rarely rummage around in your drawers (ie: tabs) looking for new-t0-me content, but I’m sure some new-to-you fans are extremely excited about the treasure trove that lies behind the tabs and menus.

    Also, this is just a data point, but I never visit in mobile. I usually want to comment, so I usually come via my laptop when I have a free hour. So, take me with a grain of salt because I am not the future of the internet.

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  10. I only go to the website when you send us over there to look at something (really enjoying the demons, btw).

    One thing I really miss from the Cherry Forums days is ‘what are you reading?’ discussions. Most of the authors on my keeper shelf, I found thanks to your community. No promo, just courteous, insightful exchanges about really good stories. It was the best word of mouth resource ever. I’ve never found anything that comes close.

    A restored ‘like’ button would be nice to to have.

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    1. Oh, that’s a good idea.
      One of the things that Mollie isn’t a fan of is that Argh has become so much of a writer site rather than a reader site. I like the idea of having a day just for readers the way Saturday is a day just for the community to weight in on whatever.
      I’m thinking Thursday or Friday to get people set up for weekend reading? Hmmm. Let me cogitate and put up a post.

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  11. Like others have said, I don’t spend much time there. I hang out here.

    But if I’m giving you a wish list, I’d like a post on Georgette Heyer. I discovered that a bunch of her books are available on Kindle Unlimited and I’ve been bingeing. I know in a recent post we were talking about them but I’m not sure which post it was. So a Heyer post with a tag would be helpful.

    And I’d love a who’s reading/publishing what post or section. I’m wracking my brains trying to remember recommendations from here and failing. I’m desperate for new authors.

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  12. I forget your other site exists, and then I am thrilled to rediscover the essays. It would be lovely to have them here instead.

    I am not a writer and am NEVER going to be a writer, but I have never felt this is a writer rather than a reader site. Tell Molly I said not to worry – it’s all interesting.

    Like button.

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  13. And the thing I got from this was monkey…what monkey? So I visited the website and searched under each tab, no monkey. Came back here and there it was. Ha ha. I visit here almost every day and had no clue. Or maybe I’d just become used to him. He’s kinda cute.

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  14. I also rarely visit the website. I visit from a desktop or laptop. And the monkey makes me crack up.
    What I’d love here is a “newer post/older post” option at the end of the comments, like on ReFab.
    And, of course, the “like” button.
    Mostly I just love this place.

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