If you’re an author and you want to build an online presence, creating an author website is imperative. However, whether people will like your author website or not is an entirely different issue. If you want to avoid creating your own website only for it to be panned by visitors, here are 5 things you need to avoid:
1. Cluttered layout
Technically, this is something that people will dislike on any page, so if you want people to regularly visit your author website, make sure the layout is streamlined and clutter free. Avoid having banners or pop-ups, especially if they are not related to the website’s content (this means avoiding free web hosting services that pepper its sites with pop up ads). You should include images in a website, but avoid using them in a way that they detract from the text. Remember: you’re an author, not a photographer.
2. Hard selling
It’s expected that an author’s website exists to promote his or her books, but there is a right way to go about it. Write features on your books, and then provide links to where readers can get them at the end of the text; even within the body of your piece of content can work. Don’t take the route of intentionally inserting over the top Call to Actions everywhere on the text, as that will turn people off (and worse, search engines could flag your website for backlink spamming).
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3. Unresponsive layout
The days when everybody accessed the Internet through a single platform with a limited variety of screen resolutions is long gone. Now, people can access the Internet not just from a desktop, but also from smartphones, tablets, and even wearables like Google Glass. If your layout is designed only for desktop resolutions, you’ll probably ruin the experience for people using devices with smaller screens. So, when designing your author website, make sure you use a dynamic layout that adjusts according to the screen size.
4. Slow loading speeds
If you dump a lot of images and videos on your site and pick a cheap webhost with limited bandwidth, chances are your author website will lag horribly on people’s devices, especially those who are browsing on mobile. Avoid this as much as possible. People on the Internet are generally impatient, and will hate sites that take a few seconds too long to load. If you’re not tech savvy enough, you can get a knowledgeable friend to take a good look on your site and see if there’s room for optimization. Or you can hire a web developer if you have the budget for it.
5. Petty controversial posts
Don’t be negative. There is such a thing as bad publicity. Sure, if you write lengthy unnecessary rants on your website and pick fights with other authors and famous people, people will take notice and visit your website, but are the people who visit going to become fans? Maybe some of them. But the rest will probably be turned off at your attitude and never visit again. They probably won’t even buy your books.