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My Website is Finished (Until Tomorrow)

Hallelujah! The Web-Creator TaraFly has Finished. Amen!

This week has descended upon me like a hurricane, and I’ve been struggling to regain balance after being swept off my feet.

It began when the floodgates opened after my last blog (regarding domestic violence) struck chords across my social sphere… and the onslaught of e-mails, PMs, testimonies, invites, etc. that were directed my way from friends and strangers alike.
It was flattering that people felt drawn to my story and wanted to share, but disheartening to read the pain behind their words… to envision what their relationships must’ve been like, that anyone would be so cruel to another human being.

I marvelled at how many recognized the signs and stood firm against their abusive partners, demanding respect or else, but I also wondered about the emotional toll paid for freedom. Physical scars may disappear, but healing a battered sense of self takes much longer… possibly even a lifetime.

I’ll have to admit, however, that I didn’t expect such a huge response… and I almost hid under the bed from all the attention.
I’ve always known that “fame” was something to avoid at all costs; I could never be anyone’s role model (I’m too imperfect and hypocritical) and I value my personal space too much to voluntarily live in a glass fishbowl.

So why create art, write blogs, sell on-line, and promote myself?
…Certainly not to be famous.
For that I’d need YouTube. ;)

I’d rather develop a small niche following of loyal art collectors and friends who share mutual interests.
I want to be “the best undiscovered talent” among a select few… not a household name across the globe. There is enough competition in cyberspace to ensure that I will never worry about having too many fans. LOL

Otherwise, the weather was ghastly this week – cold, raining, abysmal… until today, that is.
It’s beautiful right now. However, for the last few days, my children have been worse than usual.
We’ve had colds AND cabin fever, and they’ve been wreaking extra havoc inside.
Yesterday, I felt ill.

I’m telling you all this, because in the midst of personal chaos, I did manage to complete the major points of my website.

Back in February, I mentioned wanting to install my Zazzle shop into my site… when I finally got around to doing it, the CSS stylesheet that ran the store conflicted with my own layout.
The whole page looked funky, like this……

Zazzle Store Builder CSS layout over-riding my website CSS

The Zazzle CSS style was over-riding mine

I spent two days trying to resolve the issue.

Well, not exactly two whole days… I did cook meals, buy groceries, fold laundry, paint a bit, announce the contest winners of my Pride and Prejudice cat adaptation, begin working on their character sketches, chase kids up and down the stairs, vacuum the house 37 times, and nurse colds with TV and Tylenol (mine and theirs).

But when I did venture online to check e-mails, FB posts, and re-list stuff on Etsy, I also searched for ways to integrate the two CSS styles onto one page.

Early on, I came across a forum where two people were discussing the @import command, but from their conversation it didn’t sound right for my needs.
So I kept looking.

After a few failed attempts, and a night to sleep on it, I returned to the import discussion, and tried typing the code directly into my page’s Content…
and hey, it worked!

The command is this:

<!–
@import url(http://www.yoursite.com/css/css-name.css);
–>
</STYLE>

Check it out here!

The Zazzle Store Builder integrated on my website

My Zazzle Store integrated into my website

So now all my Zazzle merchandise is available for purchase directly from my website… which means, “adding more Zazzle merchandise” is now a higher ranking priority than it was previously.

What is nice about this Zazzle Store Builder feature is that I’ve created html pages for each product category, complete with meta keywords and image caching, which will improve the SEO to my site, rather than promoting my shop directly on Zazzle.com.

Now whenever greeting cards are on sale, I can send people to my website to purchase them, although by clicking on the image links, it will take the customer to Zazzle.com for the actual purchase.

Which reminds me, I’ve worked out a simple fix to that problem as well… and by that problem, I mean the outgoing links that potential customers keep clicking to visit my Etsy shop, my Artfire shop, my Zazzle shop, etc.

Most of the time, according to Stat-Counter (my favorite web-tracker), these people leave via these site links and never return.
Some of them might be joining Etsy right now, in order to make a purchase from me.
Someone might’ve liked my Darcy stationary on Zazzle and bought a few sheets.
But the bottom line is, they sadly didn’t come back here.

When your browser opens links in the same window, your only options are hitting the Back button or re-typing the URL to return.

When you send people to places like Etsy and Zazzle, they can easily get lost browsing the entire site (since these marketplaces very nicely “recommend other sellers” to them).
After they’ve clicked a few dozen times, finding their way back to your site is a pain in the arse.

So I finally tweaked my outgoing links to include the target=”_blank” code, which simply opens any new link in a different window.

So they can browse to their heart’s content on Etsy, and then close the site’s window when they’re finished.
Viola! My website is still there.

Whether this will work to solve the problem of disappearing site visitors, I haven’t any clue… so I will examine my StatCounter to see if the duration and navigational paths of visits improve.

I’m really excited that my website is shaping up into the place I imagined earlier this year, and to think, it only took me 3 months of work!

Well, not exactly, three whole months … I did cook a few meals, buy some groceries, wash and iron laundry, and…. well, you get the idea. :)

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