This week has been full of fevers, chills, coughs and headaches – but there were a couple bright spots. One of them was a website critique from fellow Inkspell author Stephanie Keyes and her husband Aaron. Together they tend The Nerd Garden, a sort of tech-lovers’ mash-up of useful stuff.

Now they also offer website critiques.

After basically abandoning this site for two years, I knew it needed upgrading and some digital TLC, so I volunteered to be one of their guinea pigs. The results were pretty awesome … and helpful.

Not only did I get a three-page report of “opportunities” and suggestions, but they also recorded a first-impressions video. You can see that here. Many of their comments had me smacking my forehead, but a couple of them had me scratching it, not because they didn’t make sense, but because WordPress.com has changed so much and I have to work within its constraints. I honestly don’t know how to make some of the changes given the theme I’m currently using.

I also discovered – much to my chagrin – that at some point I deleted a bunch of photos, raw images that I took myself to create the banner at the top of this site. I can’t tweak the banner in Photoshop because I can’t take apart the elements, nor can I just start with the base images and rebuild. Yes, I’m kicking myself.

Other changes they suggested have already been made. They were as simple and dragging widgets to rearrange, or clicking a box to delete. Thankfully, Steph and Aaron also provided helpful hints and links to resources to help with the site re-do.

I don’t have a ton of time or energy to devote to revamping my site, which means either the changes will be slow to happen or I’ll have to hire someone to set them up for me. I’m too thrifty for the latter, actually, plus I need to relearn this stuff, so it looks like the changes will slowly be incorporated into the site’s design. Thankfully, they said the basic structure was solid. Upcoming changes will include a static landing page, social media buttons (duh!), a more streamlined look and probably a new banner.

Thanks, Nerds, for your expert advice and suggestions!

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