Good writing day, plus starting into rebuilding the HTTS site

Today has gone pretty well. In spite of major napping, I managed to write 1220 words on Create A World Clinic. Working on the Tube Of Toothpaste World now, and why it matter.s 😀

And I’m rebuilding the core pages of the How To Think Sideways site to make it 1) easy to navigate, 2) easy to join, and 3) easy to understand why you might WANT to join (as well as making it easy for folks who WON’T be happy there to know it before they sign up). Have been searching web pages that WORK (which HowToThinkSideways.com basically hasn’t to this point).

Don’t look for anything but cosmetic changes yet, though. I am rebuilding the entire flow of the site, and that means I have to have all the new pages completed and connected before I can take them live.

So the mess that it is (though with new wallpaper) will continue a bit longer.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

5 comments… add one
  • jobo Apr 4, 2013 @ 8:14

    Would you mind me asking ‘why split everything up so much?’ ?

    What are your thoughts behind spreading your products over multiple domains instead of hosting one single domain with separate categories?

    This isn’t a criticism, but a genuine curiosity of the pros and cons. I am facing the same dilemma, having currently 2 domains, but one is for fiction while the other is for how to play pool. they are very different ‘topics’ but I’ve wondered if I should consolidate things under a single domain offering all products I might create now and in the future.

    • Holly Apr 4, 2013 @ 8:53

      Okay. WHY the multiple domains?

      Many of my readers are not writers.

      Many of my writers are not MY readers.

      I have two audiences that mostly don’t intersect at all.

      I managed to make that work for a while, having articles for writers separate from articles for readers, with some that crossed over.

      And I had my little shop with short writing courses that people could purchase and download immediately, and for a couple years, that held me.

      When I started doing more than just short courses people could download instantly from my little on-site shop, however, I had to have software to support those courses—software that allowed me to present a new lesson every week, that let me add worksheets, handouts, videos, audio, and more, that allowed students to meet on a forum and talk to me and to each other, that permitted the sale of the course and a way to allow members in while keeping non-members out.

      I found the (expensive) software that allowed me to do all the cool things I wanted to do for How To Think Sideways, my first big course, BUT this software needed to be hosted on its own site both for bandwidth considerations, and to give the course the the domain front page so people could find it. Then, of course, I did OTHER big courses on the same software, which not only did not play nicely with my personal website software (I’ve used about a dozen different softwares for this place now) but ALSO did not play nicely with additional installations of itself.

      The software did not give me a way to give each course its own front page. So, more domains.

      THEN my email got bogged down with spam, in which customer service requests were getting buried and NOT answered in a timely fashion, and I needed a place to send customers from my shop and students from my expanding number of large course, where I could actually find their help requests and respond to them quickly. Another domain.

      Multiple domains that each required separate maintenance, upgrades, updates, logins, and overhauls begat burnout, and burnout begat me deciding to quit teaching…which begat the realization that throwing the baby out with the bathwater was not my best idea ever.

      I’m gradually working my way back down to three domains. My personal site, which has no commercial component (you can’t buy anything on HollyLisle.com), my teaching site, which is commercial, and my customer service site, which is on a different server and so still works if the other two sites go down, allowing me to still respond quickly even when students are locked out or my blog is not working.

      I have better software now, so all my courses will be on their own site, and I am in the process of revamping that site to make its purpose and mission immediately obvious.

      If you’re presenting products that require hundreds of downloads from hundreds (and occasionally thousands) of students at any given time, require a forum, AV and other media capabilities, and the bandwidth to run all of that, you don’t want it on the same domain as your personal site. Especially if your personal site is enormous, gets a couple million visitors a year, and is a bandwidth hog in its own right.

      If you don’t NEED multiple domains right now, keep your life simple and stick with one until you have no other choice. (But if massive bandwidth and multiple audiences make such a need possible in the future, buy and park a good domain name against the day that you might.)

      • jobo Apr 4, 2013 @ 13:07

        nice answer! think I shenaniganned you into extending your word count for today by a few extra thousand by accident. sorry ’bout that!

        and thanks 🙂

  • Yog-Sothoth Apr 3, 2013 @ 19:25

    Holly, do you squeeze your Tube of Toothpaste World from the middle, or the end? 🙂

    • Holly Apr 4, 2013 @ 8:55

      LOL! End. Always. And I keep the cap on, and stand the toothpaste on its cap, too. Keeps the Bathroom World looking neater.

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