A Re-Brand, Version 1.0

Two years ago, I stopped updating my website. Shocker, I know. Who has a website for two years and doesn’t update it once?

The answer, unfortunately, is someone who stopped paying attention to what he wanted. That feels like a dreadful thing to admit, but it’s true. When it came to my writing career, I stopped being sure what it was that I actually wanted to achieve, and so lost sight of everything that I might have been able to do with my life. I stopped updating my website with writing related posts; I stopped trying to improve upon it; I stopped being the author who had the books on sale, trying to promote them.

The fact that the books have sold at all over the past couple of years is nothing short of a miracle – and, of course, I wish to thank everyone who actually bought something from me in that period, because I certainly wasn’t doing enough to even tell anyone they existed. Sure, I had a few attempts at marketing during that time, but I was never actively doing anything with them.

A few things changed this month that gave me the motivation I needed. In order: NaNoWriMo started, and I met a few (okay, over a dozen) new writers; I was talked into going to BLOGGERCONF 2015, and; I received my results for my course.

bloggerconf

The latter was a great way of making me realise that I’m not completely useless. The former was a great way of re-invigorating my passion for writing. And the conference was the perfect kick up the arse I needed to start thinking about blogging seriously again. All day, at every opportunity to talk to people about blogging, I answered the same way: “I currently have a personal blog” or “I’ve a small blog, and because NaNoWriMo is happening, I’m blogging about that”, and “I plan on doing something new after Christmas.”

In short, I was telling people that I’m putting it off. That was the morning. But as the day went on, as more people talked about their blogs and their businesses and told stories about their successes, I began to want to just…start. I have an idea, so now I just need to figure out a strategy for starting it. But the timeline shrank.

It shrank so much, in fact, that I launched it a full month and a half earlier than I thought I might. I launched The Cinema Freak a week after BLOGGERCONF, with some unintentional prodding from Irish Tech News.

cinemafreak

Before I could get the bulk of the work done for it, though…I had to finish NaNoWriMo. Which I did, just about. It took ending a 9-day NaNo-hiatus, but I managed to cross the 50K mark, and early enough that I could write a couple of articles for my new blog – which won’t be a replacement for this one, clearly.

BLOGGERCONF forced my hand in another way, too. I needed my new website to be visible to the world. So, I focused on getting that live for the whole world to see.

I’m calling it Version 1.0, because it definitely still needs work. That’s coding work, to make it better optimised for mobile and tablets and smaller screens than my own, and practical portfolio work, to fill it out a bit.

The deadline did that to me. I was suddenly in a position in which I needed to re-brand and re-build, and soon, and that resulted in my shiny new website that’s less like a blog, and more like a portfolio of work. It feels incredibly weird to have it up and running, but I’m delighted to have finally done it.

With the launch of the site, I also re-branded my social media sites, and this blog. Everything has a new and matching banner and photo. All the talk of cross-platform branding finally reached me, and I put away the poor work I’d done in the past for something that’s consistent with my business cards, too.

Version 2.0 is still a little way away. Before I reach that point – which will include a full javascript gallery and some really fancy additions to my portfolio – I need to optimise it, and add in more content. I have plenty of plans, and plenty of stuff in pre-production stages, to do it. It all just comes down to having the time and motivation to do it. But the secret to that is for another post.

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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