Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (known best for Eat, Pray, Love) has an amazing author website. And no, we didn’t build it.
But when I stumbled upon it today, I was immediately impressed by it. Why? Here are six reasons…
1. The font and logos at the top give it some personality. From the moment you arrive, you notice her name at the top and those cute little icons next to each tab in the navigation. Without having to use words to explain who Elizabeth is, the site gives you a sense of the books’ genre and Elizabeth’s writing style just from these simple images.
2. The slider on the homepage lets you see all her books immediately. Sliders are all the rage in today’s world of web design. Sometimes they’re overused, but this is definitely not one of those cases. When you land on the site’s homepage, you get little thumbnail images of each of her book covers, and clicking on one allows you to see a larger version of it, along with a description and a “learn more” links. This is a great way to feature multiple books without taking up a lot of real estate.
3. It’s easy to buy the book … in different formats and from different vendors. See the right hand column of the homepage? It highlights her most recent book (the one people are most likely to buy) and ways to purchase it in hardcover, paperbook or e-book format, from Amazon, B&N, iTunes and a wealth of other publishing companies. It even offers a bonus: a signed copy if you buy it directly from Two Buttons.
4. The “upcoming events” section is current. Admit it. You have trouble keeping your “upcoming events” section current. If I browsed most of the author websites I built over the last few years, I would be likely to find an upcoming events section with dates that have gone by. But Elizabeth (and her team, I assume) are keeping this up to date with events that are truly upcoming. This sends the message to readers that Elizabeth is paying attention to her site … and they should, too.
5. It highlights video. I wrote a post recently about how video is the future of the web. Author websites are no exception. On Elizabeth’s site, video is featured the site’s navigation. That’s where all her videos — promo trailers, interviews, etc… — are all housed.
6. It includes unique content. Elizabeth keeps a blog, which is great. In it, she covers current events, personal stories, and just general commentary that she’d like to share with readers. She also has a page on the site that she calls “Thoughts on Writing,” in which she shares some insight into what inspired her to write, the challenges she faced along the way, and what advice she would give to up-and-coming writers. All of thise content is unique to the site, and gives people who are fans of her books reason to visit the site and come back regularly.
Now, it’s true that Elizabeth is a bestselling author and probably has more time and money to dedicate to her site than many of you. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a lesson or two from what she’s doing right and replicate some of the same ideas on your own site.
And finally, hats off to Dave Cahill, by the way, of Rivernet Computers, who built this site for Elizabeth. Good work!