This is the second of our three part series on Author websites. In the first post we examined some technical terms related to website creation and hosting. In this one, we will flex our creative muscles.
Now, that you know what a domain and a server is, and what are the other things that technically make a website, let’s look at what your website should look like.
This very famous acronym translates as “Keep it Simple, Stupid”. No, you are not the stupid! Simplicity is better than complexity. Don’t overwhelm the visitors with Flash, and hundreds of images.
There are many stylish and “clean” templates available. Think make-up. It can enhance a woman’s beauty or it can be completely overdone and actually detract.
Visitors should enjoy the content of your site and not laugh at the weird dog, cat or uncle images.
Mobile friendly design
iPads, tablets and smartphones are changing life and the internet. How many people do you know whose Desktop PC is still their only, or even main, internet access point? Your website should cater for these mobile devices.
The Maintenance Factor
Content Management Systems (CMS) make is easy to add or modify the content yourself without having to know the technicalities or to depend on your website developer. So, you should try to set up your website with one of them, instead of static HTML files. There are many Content Management Systems (CMS) out there. The most well-known must be WordPress. It provides all the tools you need to create a professional and attractive website from scratch. Obviously this is not the only CMS available. Joomla and Drupal are two other well-known examples.
Small is Beautiful
An apartment has much less maintenance that a house with a yard and it is much more accessible. The latter has its charm, when it comes to residing at a place, but with your website, you want an apartment, not a multi-acred property. If a website is too big it becomes cumbersome and difficult to navigate.
We have found that a website with 5-8 pages is sufficient. Make sure that the pages are not cluttered. Keep it closely related to your work as an author. This is not the place for pictures of the kids, spouses or adopted dog from Patagonia.
The exception to this is the blog. Your blog, which should be updated regularly, will stretch into many pages over time! And that is a good thing. You should strive to keep the content fresh. If you are a fiction author and are struggling with ideas for your blog, check out our earlier post suggesting topics fiction writer can blog on.
A Few Must Haves
While you want to keep your website small and uncluttered, don’t forget to include the following:
- Your photo with a short “about you” piece.
- A clear and easy readable list of your books. Make sure to add descriptions, excerpts and links to off-site reviews.
- Links for buying and pre-ordering. Please make this easy and clear. Clients do not want to play hide-and-seek with the download links.
- Your Blog
- Links to your favorite books and authors
- A prominent way to contact you
What makes the iPhone so popular is its simplicity and ease of use. It’s like you just know what “button” to press. Keep this in mind when you create your website. Rather keep it understated. If you do not trust us on this, have a look at http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com/
The InstaScribe crew would love to see your websites. Let us know. We might even link to you, if it is a beautiful website! And do leave a comment if you have some advice to add for authors creating websites.