1 Dec

MetazenGuest Post by Da_Missus —  

I’ve been helping Alex with this site for a few years now, on and off. Tweaking, experimenting, shifting, adding, deleting. We argue over the importance of maintaining a site–an online presence dedicated to his writing, in addition to his other social media accounts. Personally, I enjoy exploring places where I’m not forced to log in, create yet another account. He doesn’t bother with a lot of sites if it means he has to click another link. Then we switch sides, change minds. Plan to give it all up and start over again, or not. It takes time to keep a site going, and we both agree on the fact that there’s no point if you can’t keep it constantly updated with…something. But, what?

Our latest fight is over a menu title, Interactions, which is where we’ve been adding his latest interviews, reviews, and his essays or commentary that have been published elsewhere. The point of contention is the choice of the word “Interactions” and whether or not anyone will click on it. He says he wouldn’t click on it because he wouldn’t know what it meant if he saw on another site; I say I would click precisely because I’d be curious to learn what it meant. Would a visitor to the site be disappointed to find that it’s not really a place to interact? Or would he or she enjoy discovering all the cool people with whom Alex has had the pleasure of interacting? I don’t really know, but I figure it can’t hurt to throw it out there and see what happens. We both struggle to interact online at all these days. It used to be easier to be genuine, to connect and feel like it made a difference to someone. It’s hard to know what will draw people in, hold their interest, and perhaps have them go as far as buying and enjoying Alex’s books.

What tips do you have for keeping your author site fresh, for connecting, and do you think it’s working…or rather, what is your goal with your site and how do you know if you’re achieving it?

Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled program.

p.s. The image above is the latest screenshot added to the Interactions page. Alex’s collection, “Gears” was reviewed back in July at You should also check out their site today for a review of JP Reese’s poetry collection.


5 Responses to “Interacting”

  1. Jennifer Coffey 01/12/2013 at 11:18 PM #

    It could be because I am middle-aged (which is a euphemism for doddery), but when I see the word “interactions” it feels misleading, given the context. It sounds like a chat room, which would have to be, at least for me, unappealing. Again, though, you know your audience, and you might intend to streamline in these ways (keep it young, so to speak). ‘Reactions’ seems closer to the truth – his (reactions to any number of things) and other people’s (reactions to him). Not that you want to use that, either; but something more accurate, closer to what is exact, might be what you’re seeking. I suppose that keeping a site fresh is critical to garnering and maintaining outside interest (and, therefore, ultimate sales), but I am something of a purist and wonder how far a person has to go – should go – to do this. I Wouldn’t it be great if, in the like-attract-like credo, it could be as simple as following your instincts? I think that sometimes, by trying to engineer things in useful/marketing ways, we throw some of the baby out with the bathwater. If you mean to keep interactions, couldn’t you clarify be adding a word (to interactions), or perhaps find a synonym (synergy; synergies; communion…) that speaks more directly to your purpose? This is probably banal and non-savvy. And forgive me for rambling. I have had not one, but two, pieces of cake, and am wired on sugar and chocolate. Jennifer

  2. Jennifer Coffey 01/12/2013 at 11:53 PM #

    Why not call it what it is: In Conversation. (The chocolate is wearing off :)

  3. Letitia Coyne 02/12/2013 at 1:26 AM #

    I labelled my ‘Interactions’ page ‘Media’ and no one clicked on it AT ALL, ever. Not even with a bright picture button. When I linked to it from other sites as ‘Reviews’ and ‘Feedback’ then I started to get many more clicks.

    I called it media because I put in the few promotion interviews I’d done and meant to put in links to all my zine articles from ergoFICTION and 1889 Labs from the last 3 years. No one cared. They only want to read the reviews other people have left.

    I’ll be interested to see how ‘Interactions’ pans out as a label, and whether your readers are intrigued by the title.


  4. Da Missus 03/12/2013 at 10:18 PM #

    I want to thank you all for your comments and contributions via twitter, Facebook, tumblr, email, direct messages. By your chosen response mediums, you’ve highlighted a major challenge with personal websites and blogs–creating an online dialogue in 2013 is a bit like herding cats. But that’s ok. It just means we have to be willing to come to wherever you are, and I’m fairly sure we are (as time permits). I just hate that you’re missing out on each other’s excellent insights by not letting them all be known here. Regardless, thanks for support, via the most efficient and convenient way for you. :)

  5. Da_Missus 03/12/2013 at 10:42 PM #

    Jennifer and Letitia, thank you also for stopping in to share your thoughts. I will have a conversation with Alex about “conversations”…we are somewhat limited in design capabilities and are trying to maneuver within the site template confines. I realize that I definitely overthink things. We’re also very aware of the need to provide useful or interesting content to people where they are already logged in. I hope that if they’ve taken the time to click a link, that we are providing a nice space and a few other genuinely interesting buttons/tabs/links, etc…

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