I’ve helped build websites for hundreds of authors. I’ve seen the best and the worst. And while I could list a whole lot more than 20 “don’ts” here, I’m going to limit the damage to just the most egregious errors.
Without further ado … 20 things not to do with your author website:
1. Incorporate a blog … and then never update it.
2. Create a Flash-only homepage that isn’t viewable on a mobile device.
3. Make it difficult to actually buy the book.
4. Talk too much about yourself.
5. Have audio that plays as soon as someone arrives (talk about a way to get people to leave!)
6. Promote the book instead of what people will actually get out of the book.
7. Not have a place where readers can submit questions or comments.
8. Use the site like a portfolio that’s never updated.
9. Have a site navigation that is complicated or changes from page to page.
10. Not make it clear upon arrival what your genre/subject matter is.
11. Go too image-heavy in the design. (This can seriously increase load time and hurt search engine optimization.)
12. Go too text-heavy in the design. (Sure, this sounds contradictory, but it needs to be a balance.)
13. Not have a way to collect email addresses. This is a marketing no-no!
14. Keep the site design the same for decades. Seriously.
15. Forget to integrate social media buttons, widgets, etc…
16. Name the site after the first book … and then publish another book. Oops!
17. Not optimize the site for keywords.
18. Design a site that in no way resembles the book cover.
19. Not include downloadable photos, press releases, etc… for the media.
20. Put the most important information on the homepage and only the homepage. (A large percentage of visitors will never see your homepage!)
Okay, I’m out. I’m sure I could come up with 20 more, but now I punt to you. What are the mistakes you often see on author sites? Share them with me!