It Started With a Link

Thursday, January 30, 2020
I was writing a piece about an author and looking for information; oddly, I couldn’t find an author website so I was zipping around when I remembered one of my favorite resources. And there it was: the author website! So I clicked on it.

It was not the author. It could have been an author, I suppose. The woman was lovely, what I saw of her, but the suggestion that I might want to contact her for the date of my dreams made me think her profession was something besides writing.

Of course I contacted the admin of the resource website to let him know about the link. We both knew that the author had let her website domain expire and someone had pounced on it, knowing that a popular name would get plenty of clicks. It’s a despicable practice made worse by the fact that this was a children’s author and that the clicks could be from kids.

On the other hand, it would take some serious searching to find this website; it clearly hadn’t been used by the author for some time. And to be fair, the resource could have done a little due diligence, checking links occasionally to make sure that they went to where they purported to go.

So, dear writers, we come to Lesson One: Check Your Links regularly.

And you don’t have to knock me over the head with a semi-nude person to get me over to my own website to check links. (Though technically, it was exactly that link that gave me the necessary push to do something I’d been meaning to do for…oh, about three years.)

Anyway, the point is, I headed over to Cathy C. Hall and before I even checked one link, I had a brilliant idea. Namely, that I really did need to make just one or two small changes that I’d been planning for…oh, about a year and a half. Specifically, I thought I needed to make my branding a bit clearer.

So I thought, fine, I’ll just make a small change to my header. And play around a bit with modifying my landing page. And maybe just rearrange widgets on the sidebar. But then I slept on things and got up the next day and changed it all back.

Except now I had the branding bug and it wouldn’t let go. So I jumped in again and revised the header once more, and the sidebar got a few changes, too, because the widgets had to line up with the theme AND the branding revisions I’d made and whew! I was flat wore out but I felt like it was a job well done until I perused my tabs and thought those pages needed updating, too.

So I virtually dusted off the pages and got to work. And yes, I checked my links and a good thing, too, as one was in Chinese. It was supposed to be Chinese but it was the wrong Chinese link. I think. Bottom line, the pages were done and I’d come to Lesson Two: Once a job is first begun, never quit until it’s done. Be the labor large or small, do it well or not at all. Granted, I didn’t think up that lesson and I’ve had to learn it several times over the years. Including this past thirteen days.

So. I had just sighed with relief when I remembered my email signature.

Well, of course, it had to be changed, too, so that it would fit in with the new/old theme as well as the new and improved branding. And I probably don’t need to go into all that was involved with that task, but suffice it to say that the dog is not speaking to me.

So I hope we’ve all learned our lessons here; I know I have. Mostly that the next time I get an urge to check a link, I’m closing the laptop and taking a nap.

~Cathy C. Hall

Cathy C. Hall is always fishing for ideas, writing stories to catch readers! She's a children's author, freelance writer, blogger, speaker, and dog wrangler. (At least, that's what she's got slapped up on her website right now. But honestly, we all know she could start messing with things again. Probably tomorrow.)


Sioux Roslawski said...

Okay, so assuming I had a website... and assuming that I had been actively using it for a while, and then let it become stagnant... and then someone else took it over and posted on it a nude or semi-nude photo of a woman...

Would it be bad if I left it on if the woman was not adorned with cellulite and fat rolls and if she had a visible waist?

Just asking...

Cathy C. Hall said...

Ha! You do you, Sioux. You do you.

Renee Roberson said...


I swear that every time I go to "fix" something on my website, I find myself cursing at the screen three hours later and in the midst of a complete redesign! Now I'm thinking I may need to go grab the domain name for myself, because my website does not include my name in the title. I could just see some lovely young woman seeking a sugar daddy (remember my Facebook post a few weeks ago?) taking up residence on it. Wowzer!

Linda O'Connell said...

Just one click leads to another...

I get frustrated with formatting, much less trying to do an author page or what ever.

I lose track of time when I start clicking. Always enjoy your posts.

Margo Dill said...

Your website looks great! :)

Cathy C. Hall said...

So...about ten years ago, I dropped my website while I pondered changes in my branding. Within a week, Renee, cathy-c-hall was gone. Replaced by some foreign website. (Everyone was fully clothed, but still...) I couldn't wait a year, hoping that it would be available so that's why my domain name is c-c-hall.

It took about two years for c-c-hall to come up and NOT cathy-c-hall in a search. So go get your name and protect it like a fine, silk shirt! :-)

Thanks, Linda! And I know if you wanted to do an author page, you could whip one into shape easily. I suspect you're too busy writing! (Guess how much writing I've done in the last week or so??? Pffft.)

Thanks, Margo! I literally changed it again this morning after I had a brainstorm. Hahahahaha!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Cath, your post made me paranoid and I went and purchased - just now! Lol. :) There weren't any Angela Mackintosh's in search results before a couple years ago, but now I think there's a woman who was on the Bachelor or Bachelorette with the same name.

What a bummer about your old website! I think the same thing happened to Margo's old website, which turned into a probiotics ad. Your website looks fabulous, btw. :)

WOW has so many outdated links in bios and otherwise... and it's so time consuming to fix. There's a way to automatically check for broken links, but ones that click through to websites you'd have to check manually, as far as I know.

Renee ~ maybe you should go grab your domain name if you want to use it as an author site? ;)

Renee Roberson said...

Well, dangit. Apparently someone has already purchased my domain name. I'll have to sweat it out and hope it expires soon.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yay, Ang! Be prepared to spend endless hours, figuring out your brand and theme and tagline and then syncing 'em all up and then changing your mind and starting all over again. Hahahahaaha!

And yep, when I contacted my friend (at the website with the bad link), the first thing he said was, "That's it! I'm not putting author links any more because they're more trouble than they're worth!" I kinda agree.

Sorry, Renee. Once you get a name out there (and as a writer, your byline's out there!), people buy up the domains. Is there an alternative you could use?

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