Monday, November 23, 2009

Marketing Me

I'm finally getting a made-to-order website. I like to think of it as an online portfolio, but I can't avoid the fact that it will be my face to the online world. A freelancer can hide out in PJ's, communicating primarily by email and thus avoiding stylish office wear; but a website takes away some of that anonymity, and recently I've come to think of it more as a virtual office.

People will (hopefully) come by this virtual office and expect some representation of what me and my work are all about. They'll judge, and they'll do it quickly. How do I make the perfect first impression?

After my first meeting with my website designer, I thought we had a plan: put my bio and this very blog front and centre on the homepage. Work would be displayed by category, separate buttons would take visitors to my page on various social networking sites, and there would even be fun interactivity goings-on, like flying seagulls and a pronouncer for my name.

Displaying scans of my work was hard enough (newspapers are big, and for some reason I chose to organize all this in the weeks before my wedding). Now, my homepage doesn't look so hot. Plus, this blog isn't something I see as front and centre to my writing. So, back to the drawing board...

We need something simple -- for one, because I can't afford to cough up too much more cash for a redesign. And as a generalist who hopes to write for American markets, Andrea and I decided simple and sleek was best. Usually I would just go on Google Images and search like mad 'till I found some inspiration (a little, illegal trick I learned from a former boss). But this time, I need to keep it legit.

I have to admit I spent way too much time looking for quotes about writing and journalism. Unfortunately, there aren't too many positive quotes about journalism out there, and besides, I always think those inspirational posters are a cheesey aspect of office culture, so I've decided against that direction.

My dog continues to inspire me -- even if it's just to get out of bed or out the door -- so his pretty, perky face is on the table. I'm imagining a Photoshopped image of young Foster throwing his frame into the air, catching a ball with his mouth.. kind of what I feel like I do when I get an assignment letter!

Then I found a very intriguing website. Or at least a thumbnail of a website design. On Design Licks, a previous winner (Nov. 16) showed a black and white aerial map of a city, with little blue Twitter-like flags marking.... well, I don't know, because apparently I don't have the version of Flash required (or the memory to support such downloads). But it's for a German site called "Gent," and I'm thinking of ripping it off (even if it's a porno mag).

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