We’ve talked over the last couple of weeks about whether or not you should have a website (you should) and what should be included. Now it’s time to talk about what not to include on an author website. So our topic for this Technical Tuesday is author website blunders.
Here are the 5 biggest mistakes you can make on your author website. Ready?
Style Over Content
Want visitors to come to your website to stay a while? That’s the point. Some take that to mean the website must be visually appealing and well designed above all else. And an attractive website is an advantage certainly. A well-designed website is also important.
But the minute your visitor thinks they’ve reached a pretty postcard of a website that has only superficial content, they’ll leave for the next site never to come back. Why is content so important then?
Think about your individual situation. You’re an author. Your visitors are most likely readers who are either intrigued by your books or have read and enjoyed your works and want more. So logically, a pretty website that is designed well isn’t going to cut it. Quality content, tailored for your specific readers, is more of a necessity on some other websites.
Also, content is a crucial component for your SEO efforts. Websites with weak content don’t fare well on the search engines. So while you’re creating new, exciting content your readers, you’ll also be increasing your visibility in the search engines and boosting your ranking there too.
Author Over Reader
Maybe you’re a household name in the publishing world. Maybe one day, you’ll be a Nora Roberts level household name in romance. Even so, don’t be fooled. It’s still not about you. They are in it for themselves. What’s in it for them? And let’s be honest. We’re the same way.
Offer your readers fresh content that has value in their eyes, and they’ll come back. Do they want to see photos of your garden or your cat? No. Do they want to see pictures of you and your author buddies at that convention a couple of months ago? No. They want books. They want either more of the stories you’ve published before. Or they want a taste to help them decide if your books are worth them spending their money on.
Think about your own favorite authors. You likely go to their website. Think about why. Why do you visit those particular author sites? Maybe they offer a free story, released one chapter per month on their website. Maybe you can read excerpts from their books at their websites before you can find those details anywhere else. Think about it. Also, check our out article on 7 Things Readers Want from Author Websites for ideas if you get stuck.
Your Website Isn’t Responsive
A responsive website is a website that looks great and functions well no matter what you view it on. The site should be a consistent experience whether you’re visiting it on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s amazing how many authors still have websites that are only decent on desktop or laptop computers. Try to look up those websites on your smartphone and you know what you’re going to see. You’ll see a miniature copy of the website that it will take you five minutes of scrolling and enlarging to be able to read anything. No one wants to do that. They’ll go on to another author’s website that’s what? Responsive.
In the example, the 2014 version of the website isn’t responsive. On a smartphone, you’d do a lot of scrolling and enlarging to see anything. On the right is the 2019 version of the website that shifts to display well on any size screen. See the difference?
Your Website is Outdated
When visitors arrive at your website, do they see the latest of your books there? Are all of your books on the website? Or has it been a couple of years since you added new content?
You have a couple of options here. First, unless you’re well versed in HTML and other programming languages, you’ll need to find someone who can update your website for you when needed. Or you can have a content management system (CMS) designed for you like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla so you can easily update it yourself.
This is important because the minute a visitor lands on your website, the minute they get the idea that your website isn’t updated anymore, possibly not active anymore, they’ll leave.
Third-party perception is not only effective but also important because agents, editors and readers alike will want to know if you book won an award or made a bestseller list. It makes them more likely to spend their money. Post review snippets on the site with the book. Again, reviews are third-party perception and can be the difference between someone clicking away from your website and buying your book.
That’s it this time around. Thank you so much and let us know of any questions in the comments below.