I am grateful to the founders of Feminism and Religion for creating a community of which I am part. I am also grateful to them for introducing me to web skills, including how to create a hyperlink, add photographs to a text, choose search terms, and design a web page. These skills served me well when it came time to design a new website for the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete.
When I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for someone to design our new website, she responded, “If you want it to represent your vision, you need to do it yourself.” Later, when one of my colleagues suggested an idea for the website that was definitely not part of my vision, I realized that I could not give the job to anyone else. Still, I didn’t think I had the skills to create a website myself.
My friend offered to get me started. She introduced me to Wix which provides a website design program that–after a difficult 5 hour introduction–I found easy to use. FAR uses WordPress which allows us to add hyperlinks and to upload photos. To see how the photos will look online, we must use WordPress’s preview function. If we don’t like what we see, we have to go back to edit again. In contrast to this, Wix has a “what you see is what you get” format that bypasses the necessity for preview. Wix also has a click and drag function for moving elements around that gives more flexibility for placement and sizing.
Before I knew about Wix, I mocked up the pages I envisioned using Word 2010—choosing background color, font, and font color, writing the text, and inserting photographs. Having done this first made the Wix design process easier. None of the templates Wix offered suited my vision of a simple design that would evoke the grace and beauty of life in ancient Crete. My friend helped me to use the “blank page” template and to add elements to the header, footer, sides, and central area which would then appear on all of my pages.
The first decision was page color. I found a soft light blue which to me represented the sky and sea of Crete, and in the words of Alice Walker, “Her blue body, all that we know.” Next was font color. I chose dark red for the text on whole site. For me this color symbolizes the blood of life—menstrual blood, the blood of birth, and the blood flowing in our veins. A dark color, it is easy on the eyes. (You can see these colors on the spiral logo below.) I selected Comic Sans for my font, as it is beautiful and slightly quirky, yet still easy to read. I had discovered from my previous site that the words “Goddess Tours” and “Sacred Sites” are often used to search for tours like ours, so I added them to the header above our tour name. As I worked on the site design, I always had in mind 3 things: my vision; ease of use for visitors to the site; and marketing. No matter how beautiful a site may be, it will be of no use if it is not visited, or if those who visit do not find it easy to find all the information they need.
In those first 5 hours my friend showed me how to add text and a photograph to the first page and to move them around using click and drag. She also showed me how to do simple tweaking to make the webpage accessible on smart phones and I-pads. After we finished the first page, I took my friend out for a very late and well-deserved lunch. When I came home, I was more elated than tired, so I stayed up most of the night setting up my other pages.
The photographs I choose for the main pages include images of one of our participants meditating at an altar on a sacred site, the Neolithic Goddess who has become the symbol of our tours, the much-loved Snake Goddess, a gold seal ring showing a women’s ritual (which also appears on our Facebook site), and a folk embroidery, Mermaid, Goddess of the Sea. (See all of them on the website.) My hope was that these images would “create a picture” in the mind and body of our journey in Crete. I also imagined a photo gallery for additional images; Wix made it easy to set them up to move and fade into each other. I discovered the blog page offered by Wix and added words and photographs to it. Wix encourages you to add new blogs to your page regularly, to promote traffic to your site; these can be shared to your Facebook site.
Wix tells you that you can create and have a site ready to upload to the web all in a day. This is probably true, but I was not ready to let mine go that first day. I sat with it, fiddled with it, and added new pages over the next several weeks. As with many of my projects, I became obsessed with it, dreamed about it, woke up thinking about it, worked on it through the day and into the night. I shared it with pilgrimage colleagues and with friends who had experience in design and marketing. Though I was not always happy to have my work criticized, over time, I incorporated most of the suggestions. Wix videos walked me through design elements and apps (such as the Facebook “like” button) I did not understand.
After two weeks, the site was ready to go. It took another week and hours of emails and phone calls to figure out how to connect our existing domain registration and associated email to Wix. This was much harder for me than the design process.
Now the site has been up for just over 2 weeks. I can make changes and publish them immediately. This is a big difference from having to communicate with a web designer and then wait to see what she does.
When I began to design the site, we did not have an official logo for our tours, though we did have a favorite symbol in the Neolithic Goddess we fondly call “the tour Goddess.” Having been told that we needed a logo, I added a small image of the tour Goddess to our header. When I learned about “favicon” (favorite icon) which is the image like the small blue F for Facebook, I realized that the tour Goddess would not reproduce well for that. Spirals are one of the most widely used symbols in ancient Crete, so on a whim, I did a search for images of spirals. Lo and behold, a free image of a dark red spiral appeared. I uploaded it and added it as our logo. I didn’t like the red spiral with a white background on our blue page. I started playing with “effects” on the Wix photo editor to get a blue background that would fade into the page. Without knowing what I was doing, I created the mottled spiral that is our new logo. A spiral is also a snake and our dark red spiral now has “a snake skin.” I have added it to Facebook as well.
My advice to you out there is this. If you have artistic and writing skills, you can design your own website. It isn’t nearly as difficult as you think, and you will enjoy expressing your vision.
Will you please click on our new web site for Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete and “like” it? This will enable others to learn about our tours. Maybe, just maybe, you will be inspired to join us in Crete.
Photograph of Vanessa at the Sacred Center of Malia by Diane Gruppe Marshall. Andrea Sarris introduced me to Wix. Elizabeth Chloe Erdmann created the photo gallery on the website and helped with the design process.
Carol P. Christ has been busy creating a newly released new website for the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete which she leads through Ariadne Institute. It is not too early to sign up for the spring or fall pilgrimages for 2014. Carol can be heard on a WATER Teleconference. Carol’s books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.