Thanks for inviting me to answer your website questions, Elwood Writers. Here are my responses.
What was your original intention when setting up your website?
It was a while ago, but if I cast my mind back, one of the main things was having some kind of online presence, in line with advice I was hearing at literary events. I spent ages debating the pros and cons, on paper and with Elwood Writers. The details are swirling in the mists of time, but I concluded that it’d be a good idea to start a blog. I began with wild and ambitious ideas for its direction. It would be different to anything that had ever gone before (!), an experimental fictional adventure. I would write a brand new post every day. Or more! These were early ramblings, and useful to have had because now I needn’t wander there ever again. It’s been invaluable throughout to discuss aspects of building an online presence with the group. In a sense, we all came to the brave new online literary world together, so it’s been very much a shared experience.
What are your reasons for maintaining a blog?
A few years ago, I was right across social media. Loved it! Then I didn’t. And over the course of a few days, I deleted every account I had, one by one, and each deletion felt more liberating than the last. I won’t ever go back. I didn’t enjoy the noise of social media. It could be said that blogging is a form of social media, but it’s a pleasant low-level whirr. For one who isn’t hyper-engaged in the blogosphere, anyway. I try to publish a few new posts a month. Usually announcements, or micro stories. I enjoy writing blog posts. It provides a nice break from whatever else I’m working on. I like the brevity of the form, and the opportunity to be playful. There’s a freedom to do whatever you want, as with writing fiction. A website is an efficient way of being connected and easily contactable online, so it does serve an important professional function. It’s like an online business card.
What audience are you trying to reach? What do you hope to communicate through your website?
My site welcomes anyone who’s interested. It’s a place to get a flavour of what I’m doing with my writing, and it’s an easy location to refer to. I’m not exactly a stats junkie, but I do enjoy probing visitor activity. I like to see a steady traffic, even if it’s just a couple of visitors every other day (which is usual for me). I get excited if I see a spike.
I want the website to look fresh and appealing, and be easy to navigate. I could have just the website without a blog, but the blog keeps the content up-to-date. And the voice of the blog can afford to be quirkier than other areas of the site. Overall, the website says that I’m in the game, open for business, that I’m putting one foot in front of the other, and that some kind of progress is being achieved or worked towards.