I have a love/hate relationship with audio and video on an author’s website. Multimedia can be a great asset on a website, but it can also be the thing that makes people leave the site the fastest. But more on that later.
First, here are some valuable ways that an author can choose to use audio or video on their website:
- A welcome message, like this one: markbraverman.org
- A book trailer, like these: lostinplainsight.net and maryhanlonstone.com
- Video of interviews/speaking engagements, like this one: mgaryneuman.com
- Podcasts or webinars, like this one: power4lifesite.com
- Reading book excerpts (I’m in the process of building a site in which the author will do just that)
There are many reasons why an author should have audio or video on their website. As you can see from the examples above, it’s a great way to add a multimedia element to your website, let your readers hear from you directly, or market your book or services (and get it on YouTube, too)!
Another huge benefit of having audio or video of yourself on the website is that it gives the media a chance to see how you present yourself. Let’s say someone from ABC is interested in interviewing you on the local morning show. They might be a little hesitant to ask you to come on the show just from your book. They’d need to be able to see that you speak well, look straight at the camera, have a little charisma, etc… If you let them see that you meet that criteria just by vising your website, you may have just sealed the deal for getting on their program. Which could lead to lots and lots of extra books sold.
But there’s one caveat in all this. Do NOT set up your website so that there’s audio or video that plays upon someone’s arrival. Make sure that you give people the option of playing something, rather than having it play without their consent. I’ve said this before, but these types of things are the NUMBER ONE reason why people decide to leave websites the moment they arrive. Someone might have a sleeping baby next to them. Or they may be surfing the web during their lunch break in a tight office cubicle. Either way, they are NOT going to want something loud blaring in everyone’s ears right when they get to your homepage. They’ll leave the site and probably never come back.
So, in summary, audio and video on an author website? GOOD. Audio and video playing automatically? BAD. Pretty simple, right?