This is my last blog post for the calendar year! And what a year it has been! We have built more than 50 new author sites, redesigned/rebuilt dozens of others, and added a variety of social networking assistance to our services.
A lot has changed in the world of author websites (and websites in general) as well this past year.
Here are five things that we’re doing differently now than we were a year ago.
1. Mobile, mobile, mobile. This wasn’t exactly a surprise, but it has been one of the biggest changes in the industry over the past 10 months: more than one quarter of website viewers today are accessing author websites on mobile phones or tablets. The latest trend is to build sites in “responsive design” — a design that can determine the type of device that a user is viewing the site on and adjust the layout to fit its specifications. If you have an author website that isn’t in responsive design — or doesn’t have a custom mobile version — you may be losing readers.
2. Homepage sliders. This was all the rage in 2013; homepages that have sliders that rotate. So your first screen might have a photo of you. The second might have your book cover and a brief blurb. The third might feature details about your upcoming events. See an example of a slider here: themanopauseman.com. Whereas Flash homepages were all the rage five years ago, sliders are now the hottest item in web design.
3. More social networking buttons. Remember when it was just Facebook and Twitter? Oh, how 2012. But seriously, an author’s series of social networking icons should include GoodReads, Pinterest, Google+ etc… Obviously, not every author is active on every social networking site. But it’s not uncommon to have up to 10 social networking icons at the top or bottom of an author website. The more, the merrier!
4. Videos galore. Videos have always been hot on the web. But never more so than this past year! Almost all of the new author websites that we’re building include a video of some kind smack dab on the homepage. Maybe it’s a book trailer. Maybe it’s an author interview. Maybe it’s a clip from a press appearance. Regardless, today’s authors are thinking outside the box and figuring out all the different ways to utilize video to promote their books.
5. Larger fonts. According to an article on Forbes, larger fonts are essential. Author websites are no exception. According to Forbes, “One major reason for this is the improved screen resolution and greater screen sizes of the computers and other devices now used; which makes the standard font sizes of yesteryear seem puny.” So, I guess size does matter…
What else have you found to be the biggest changes in web design in general (or author websites specifically) in the past year? Share them with us.
Happy New Year, all!