I created a new travel brochure about the Triangle area of North Carolina that includes Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill and uploaded it to my web site today. The web authoring software that I use is Sandvox, and it came out a couple of years before iWeb was available for the Mac. It handles Acrobat (pdf) files differently than Word files so it was something of a learning curve in doing it. The first mistake I made was not compressing the Acrobat file before I uploaded it, which produced a huge 100 MB file that took forever to upload and still too long to download. So I had to go back and compress the file and upload it again. Some how I still can’t get the thumbnail photo to work so it just displays DOWNLOAD in the header. I had to put in an explanation in the home page what that meant and where it led, which isn’t very cool web design. But because I opted for something relatively simple, especially in comparison with Dreamweaver, my software and my techniques are somewhat limited. I wanted a site that I could design, modify, and upload myself on my .me account without having to hire a designer and a techie to do the routine uploads to the host. I did that on my first web site 12 years ago as a marketing consultant, and it cost me a fortune that was not cost-effective.
The question is whether or not it is worth the time taken from actually writing to maintain a web site. Everyone says that a writer has to have a web site and be actively involved in the social media sites, but does that really generate sales? I have gotten some writing assignments directly from my web site, but it still doesn’t provide as much return on investment (of time) as old-fashioned query letters and personal networking. If you have a book, all of the talk is about building and maintaining a “platform”, i.e. a public image or brand that includes public appearances both in person and online. My platform is rather small although I was surprised the other day to show up in the local newspaper in Abilene, Texas when a reporter pulled a quote from my book. I guess that just shows you never know where it all may end up.