In doing my weekly browsing of any and all articles, blog posts, etc… related to author websites, I came across a HUGE number of pieces this week having to do with the website for author Jennifer Egan. She’s covered in the New York Times. She’s reviewed by The Quincy Review. In short, she’s everywhere. And good for her!
Doesn’t every author wish they were getting a plug in the NY Times? I can’t even imagine what her site traffic (and book sales!) look like this past week.
So I’m going to jump on the Jennifer Egan bandwagon today and discuss — in my humble opinion — what has made her site the hottest topic of conversation in the literary world.
Her website design is really unique. Which is always a plus. The stripes of colors seem to really represent her personality. The way the letters of her name fall over the stripes is also pretty cool. It’s definitely different from any other author site.
Jennifer also has a lot of fun things elements throughout the site — from photos to videos. The site is more of a fun collection of pictures and words, instead of an information source.
But I’d venture to say that it’s her homepage that has really gotten the world buzzing. Everything else on the website could pretty much be replicated in a different design and no one would notice.
On Jennifer’s homepage is a curious series of places and dates. They’re scattered across the homepage in kind of a hodgepodge. And there’s hardly anything else (except a navigation, which isn’t all that prominent) that’s visible when you first arrive.
So, of course, you’re going to click on those dates/places to figure out what they are. And when you do, you get a story from Jennifer on how her experience in the time and place that you clicked on inspired her to write one of her stories. You then get to read the beginning of the story that her experience prompted her to write.
It’s a simple, yet brilliant, idea. The homepage entices you to figure out what those dates mean, and by clicking on them you get fun stories — that you can only find on the website — about what’s behind her writing.
I’d put good money on the fact that it’s this simple feature that made Jennifer the talk of the town. It just goes to show you what one creative idea can do for a website. Web design is important. But just as important is coming up with unique ideas for website content, usability and presentation. Find the right formula — as Jennifer did — and you’ll be a hit.
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