In the digital age, every author needs an online presence. This can manifest in a multitude of ways from social media, to simple newsletter landing pages to full websites. While not many websites offer discoverability for an author, it does offer fans a one-stop-shop for all things related to the author. These digital business cards can also serve a multitude of other purposes such as blogs, online retail, or additional book related content. But what is most important? With nearly twenty years of web design experience and two degrees in graphic design, I decided to the website of several authors at different spots in their authoring journey.
Pros: Straight forward goal to get visitor emails. Streamlined method to see books and buy on third party websites.
Cons: Some additional bells and whistles that serve no purpose. Overkill with the pop up. Merchandise link takes visitor offsite.
Pros: Great visuals on front page. Books are easy to discover. All essential information is easy to find.
Cons: Wasted space and required scrolling. Some information that doesn’t serve business goals. Blog link takes visitor offsite.
Pros: All relevant book information is discoverable.
Cons: Ads. Links take up 1/3 of the real estate. Unnecessary information on sidebar. Links aren’t easily identifiable. Books need buy links. Serves two audiences: authors & readers.
Pros: Books are listed along with buy links.
Cons: Uses non-standard HTML.Blog link takes visitor offsite. Serves two audiences: authors & readers. Uses iframes for blog.
Pros: Gives a good personality of author. Social media is easy to find.
Cons: Cluttered navigation column. Links are “out of reach” at top. Ads. Not providing “conversion” to purchase books.
Pros: All relevant information is available. Fast options for website conversions. Book content comes before author content for increased conversion.
Cons: Each page has too many call to actions. Colors could be jazzed up for more of a website identity.
The biggest question to ask when critiquing the website is “What is the purpose?” For many people, the ego is standing in the way of their website being an effective marketing tool. What is your traffic? Where are people clicking? Quickly it becomes apparent that blogs and reviews of other books which were once the bread and butter of interactivity on a website have gone by the wayside. Using the website as a marketing tool requires a call-to-action, either converting into sales or obtaining information such as an email for continued connection to your patrons. When examining, take off the creative hat, and put on the business hat, because ultimately it is a business tool.