I finally found the right balance of visibility and security for the site. I had previously decided that I needed to protect my current and future projects against potential theft since some of the people in my workshop groups had reported seeing an uncanny number of their creative ideas show up in the media, particularly in episodes of television shows. Now, WordPress is great at the main thrust of what it does; namely, providing good-looking websites to website newbies like myself for little to no cost. One thing they don’t do well, in my experience so far, is make it easy for someone getting started to know just what WordPress sites can and can’t do. I initially thought that in order to guarantee that my work could only be viewed by the people I wanted to view it, I would have to make it a members-only access site and lock down the site to all but WordPress members that I then could specifically grant access to. This saddened me because one of the main reasons I made the site was so that I could send prospective agents and publishers to it so that they could see examples of my work.
Recently, however, I found that I could add password protection to individual pages on the site, meaning that I could assign the same password to all of the pages related to a specific project (like “Mortality, Interrupted”) and provide that password to people I trust, leaving the rest of the site open to all visitors. I have since done so, and the following projects are password-protected:
“The Jezebel Diaries”
Everything else, including my poetry, is open to the public. If you are one of the people who got a WordPress account so you could view my page, I thank you very much for doing that. You can still create a WordPress site (a great blogging tool, too) if you want. If you only got a WordPress account to view my site, then I want to give you (along with everyone who has WordPress credentials) some kind of perk for going out of your way for me. What I have decided to do is give all WordPress members permission to post on the site and add content just like I do. You can post blog entries just like I can; and now, if you have questions that you think others might want to know the answers to as well, you can post them right in the blog for me to answer.
I hope you’ll make use of this. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel when I see you all using this site to post comments and ask questions. Now, since those of you with WordPress accounts will be able to do more, I hope the site will become more interactive. I know that some of you email me privately, and I do like that; but the more open the discussion, the more I enjoy it, and the more I think others will enjoy it, too.
I know that the sidebar menu of the site was difficult to navigate. The text was too small to read easily and with everything on top of everything else that made it very difficult to distinguish at a glance what pages were actually available on the site. I think most of you didn’t look around at the site much because it was just too cumbersome. The text size this template uses for the menus is not something that can be changed without editing the template directly with CSS (an HTML formatting method called ‘Cascading Style Sheets’) which I would have to pay WordPress to be able to use, and that’s just not in the cards for me right now.
But, doing some digging, I found that there was something I could do to make things a bit easier. I found that I could remove the “Pages” menu completely and replace it with several ‘customizable menu items’ which I could use to break up the pages into easier-to-navigate groups. So, I separated the menu into the following groups:
-My Current Project
The ‘Alpheus Essentials’ menu group will have links to the ‘Welcome’ page, the blog page, the ‘About Me’ page, the ‘Underground Stream’ article page, and the links page to other local writers. All of these pages are now grouped together in a single menu and should be more visible and easier to view.
The ‘My Current Project’ menu group lists all of the scene pages for “Mortality, Interrupted”, but with this type of menu item I can list them in a hierarchical style with all the scenes within a chapter indented in a cascading fashion which should be clearer visually and make navigating from one scene to the next much easier than before. I’ve also edited the introduction to “Mortality, Interrupted” to account for the changes to the site.
The ‘Other Projects’ menu group lists my other works, “The Jezebel Diaries”, and “Redemption Road”, and I edited the ‘Selected Excerpts’ page to refer specifically to these projects.
The ‘Poetry’ menu group starts with a new page introducing my poetry and then lists links for each poem.
Also, for the ‘Current Project’ and ‘Other Projects’ menu groups I note that they are password-protected to keep that from being an unpleasant surprise.
I made one more change, too. Every website has what’s called a ‘landing page’, which is the page that loads when the site’s main web address is entered into a web browser like Internet Explorer. So far, I have always used the blog page as the landing page, but I decided to make a change and make the ‘Welcome’ page the landing page. This should be a better introduction to the site for new visitors, and for those of you who have subscribed to the blog (you all HAVE subscribed, haven’t you?) you’ll get all of the blog updates in your email
I hope that the new site changes and menu groups work out better. Let me know what y’all think!