Stay Away from the Bells and Whistles!

Just a quick tip today for authors who still haven’t built their websites yet …

It may be tempting to have your author web site be flashy and dramatic with music and moving words and such. But avoid the temptation!

The problems with sites like that are many. Here are just a few of the reasons why a functional website is better for an author than a flashy website:

  1. Animated effects can be unnecessary or distracting, keeping people from doing what you want them to do on your website … learn about you and your book!
  2. The more graphics on a page, the slower the page is to load. Some people (especially younger ones) have no patience for slow-loading pages.
  3. All the bells and whistles can make it harder for people to understand what’s on your site or how to find what they’re looking for. Lisa Firke, a website designer specializing in children’s author sites, has this to say: ” Think of it this way: as a writer you work hard to make your meanings clear and valuable. Your website should reflect the same kind of care.”
  4. Some people have strong feelings about music playing  when they get to a site. For instance, I am blogging right now with a sleeping baby next to me. If I were to be surfing the net right now, and ended up on a site where music started blaring as soon as I arrived, what do you think I would do? That’s right — leave the site and not go back. Even if it’s a small percentage of people that would have such a strong reaction, do you really want to risk losing anyone?
  5. Don’t forget about Search Engine Optimization! That’s probably the way you’ll get the most visitors to your website, and yet a site that’s full of flashy images will not be ranked highly by Google, Yahoo, etc… All they can read is text, and if your site has very little text, your placement on the search engines will suffer.

Obviously, authors want their site to look fresh and interesting. But there are ways to do that while still having a functional website that doesn’t turn people away.