Confessions of a First-time Website Designer

Still learning about websites!  This week my goal was figuring out how to add subscriptions and RSS feeds (so people can follow the site more easily) and how to create links (to make it easier to navigate the site.)

I must confess I procrastinated several weeks, thinking it would be a difficult and unpleasant task.  I use computers all the time, but know almost nothing about computer programming, and the thought of doing HTML (whatever that is) filled me with dread.  I pictured myself spending hours going thru “WordPress for Dummies” and online help pages trying to figure out how to do it!

I started with “WordPress for Dummies” (WFD) – confident that the book was titled just for me.   My first goal was to add some hyperlinks to help people navigate the site.  I started by looking in the index for “hyperlink” – WFD had no entry for hyperlink. (Aren’t those things called hyperlinks?)

So I searched the index for “Links” – WFD had a plethora of listings for “Links.”  It talked about “link lists,” “pretty links,” “not so pretty links,” “ugly permalinks,” “link relationship (XFN) options,” and “ordered/unordered links.”  (I had no idea what ANY of those are!)  I NEVER found a place in WFD where it said, “to add a link… do this…”

My fears were confirmed!  I was far “dummer” than the WFD author anticipated!    (Do they have a book for people who are too dumb to understand WordPress for Dummies?)

In desperation, it turned to the WordPress online help.  Fearing the worst.

I was amazed!  WordPress online help showed EXACTLY how to add links!  It was EASY!  Within five minutes I was adding links all over the site!  My self-confidence soared!

Then I looked for RSS feeds and email subscriptions.  Found them online also… under widgets!  Again, within a few minutes I was adding them to the site!  So it’s now all done!  The new additions are up and all seem to be working… and I feel a little less helpless in doing websites.  So…

WELCOME to the newly upgraded version of the Iona Portal website! 

There’s more to come for the website, but I think I can take some time from the site now to begin the publication process for Iona Portal.  I’d like to have the book out on the Kindle platform (and maybe others) within the next three weeks.

I really appreciate all the helpful suggestions and feedback on the site.  Please let me know if you have any trouble with the RSS feeds or email subscriptions. 

Have a great weekend!

A Moving Experience

Moving is hard… even when it’s to a better place!  Our offices are moving this week to a nearby city… it will be wonderful when its done, but now its just a lot of work.  (But at least it gave me the chance …opportunity? …long overdue necessity?) of cleaning out my desk and file drawers.  But time will be in short supply the next few weeks.

In the midst of it all I’m still trying to work on the website.  WordPress is a great platform for blogs once you figure out how it works.  I learned enough to get this site up and running, but there’s still a lot of simple things I don’t how to do…  Like add links, RSS feeds, etc.  (Okay, experienced bloggers… stop laughing!  You were there once yourself!)  Just bought a copy of WordPress for Dummies and hope that will help.

As soon as I add these things to the website, I can get to work publishing Iona Portal on Kindle!   (By the way, if you haven’t sent me feedback on the proposed cover (see last blog) I’d really appreciate it.)

Hope you have a great week!  For me, I’ll just keep moving!


I’ve decided to take the plunge and self-publish Iona Portal!  While I love the security of the more traditional route, I believe self-publishing has now become a viable option, and will allow the book to become available to readers much more quickly.

My plan is to initially publish Iona Portal on the Amazon Kindle platform (Which will also make it available for Kindle apps on the iPhone, Windows PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPad, Android, & Windows Phone 7.)  My goal is to have Iona Portal available for download in August.

In the months ahead I also plan to release Iona Portal on Barnes & Noble Nook and Smashwords, as well as making it available in paperback through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

So watch for IONA PORTAL, coming soon to an e-book platform near you!

PS – Here’s an idea for the Iona Portal cover.  I’d welcome your comments!

NOTE:  If you can’t see the whole cover at once on your browser, try zooming out a little.  (Hold the control key and tap the “minus” key once or twice.  You can zoom back in by hitting “control” and “+”)

. . .

The Iona Portal Website is One Month Old

The Iona Portal website is one month old!  I’ve never done a website before so I’m learning as I go, but it’s been a fun process!

A big THANK YOU to all who have left comments here on the site and sent DMs on Twitter!  You’ve been TREMENDOUSLY encouraging, and your suggestions have been very helpful.

The site is still growing and developing, and there’s a lot more to come.  In the next few weeks, I’m hoping to add RSS feeds and am looking into Google Friend Connect.

When that’s done, I want to develop a video trailer for IONA PORTAL that will be viewable here, and on YouTube.  And at some point I need to get back to working on the Iona Portal sequel!

Please keep the comments and suggestions coming!   You can leave comments here, DM me on twitter, or email me at  (If you aren’t following me on twitter yet, you can find me at @RDavidMacNeil.  I don’t autofollow, but I usually follow back.)


Back in the USA

Back from Thailand and (almost) over jet lag!  It was an incredible trip, but Dorothy was right:  “There’s no place like home!”  I don’t travel again ’till September.

Since I got back I’ve been working to further develop the IONAPORTAL website.  I’m pretty new at this “website” stuff, and trying to figure it out as I go, but I’ve loved how it’s turned out so far.

This week I’ve added a new page, “IONAPIC of the week.”  Each week I’ll post a selection of the graphic art designed for Iona Portal and the Synaxis Chronicles trilogy.  I posted the first pic right after I got back from Bangkok, and just posted another one for this coming week.  I hope you enjoy them, and believe they will give a hint at what lies ahead.

Concerning publication, I’m still actively pursuing an agent, but I’m also gearing up to self-publish on Kindle and Nook if that has not materialized by the end of the summer.

As we get closer to that time, I’ll post the first two chapters of Iona Portal on the website.