The 5 Most Hated Author Website Features

Want visitors to leave your website immediately? Want to not sell a lot of books? Want your author website to be a complete flop?

Of course, I’m sort of kidding here. But the fact is that there are some tried-and-true mistakes that authors often make when building a website. I seem to tell my clients (sometimes until I’m blue in the face) about why they shouldn’t make them, but they don’t always listen.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 things that are most likely to make someone leave a website, courtesy of Internet & Marketing Report.

1. Autoplay audio/video. Ah. There’s nothing that people love quite as much as arriving at a new website and immediately having something blaring at them through the speaker that they didn’t think to turn off. Seriously. Is there a better way to convince people to just hit the “back” button?

2. Stock photos. We’ve seen them a thousand times. The two smiling businesspeople shaking hands at a conference table. The woman jumping for joy on the beach. People aren’t stupid. They know you paid a dollar to buy that image. Stay away from those stock photos and use actual pictures.

3. No direction. What do you want your visitors to do when they arrive? Give you their email address? Buy the book? Unless you clearly point them towards what you want them to do, they’re going to feel frustrated. No direction at all, and they’ll just leave. Too many directions and they’ll get lost. Pick one or two and stick with them.

4. Absent contact info. Sure, you’re just an author. You don’t have a fancy office or an 800 number. But at least make it easy for people to contact you, be it via email or a contact form. Don’t make them work hard to find you.

5. Content overload. Keep your text short and sweet. Break it up into short paragraphs and/or bullets. Make sure your site passes the “blink test” — whether a user can orient himself in three seconds or less.

Follow these directions and you should be able to keep your website visitors just a little bit happier. Well, at least less unhappy…