I recently had the pleasure of taking part in the Wednesday evening #BookMarketingChat hosted by BadRedhead Media. Our topic was easy updates to refresh your author website. To prepare for the chat, I visited the sites of several writers, including those who have left comments here in the past. I figured I would snoop around and find out what kind of slips the average writer is making with this vital part of their online platform.
My verdict? As a community, we need to pull our socks up if we want to show our readers we value their website visits and respect their time. I saw too many websites that were dated in design, neglected in content, or both.
According to a Stanford University study, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website design. Readers will lose trust in your professionalism and the quality of your work if you can’t present a reasonably spiffy website to the world.
I realize not everyone can afford professional website design (although, naturally, in my line of work I do feel it’s a great investment). However, you can avoid some of the worst mistakes which drag down the effectiveness of your website.
Since it’s October and Halloween is fast approaching, here are the 30 website mistakes I consider the scariest, in terms of turning your reader off. I’ll start with the ones I saw on multiple websites that are easiest to fix.
No website is perfect and you shouldn’t tear your hair out trying to get there. I’m aware of a couple of glitches on my own website, and I review it constantly!
However, the above are all avoidable errors and I found them in a few minutes, just by visiting a handful of sites. An outdated, neglected website or blog is the equivalent of owning a retail store with dirty windows, peeling paint, and dusty stock.
It’s true that website design is a matter of personal taste, but your readers will notice (even on a subconscious level) if your website looks like it was designed in 2008. Take the time to review your site and be sure that everything there is an intentional choice, not a default from your theme, dead widget, or leftover clutter from your former enthusiasm.
Then, come up with a schedule for keeping it fresh, and avoid scaring your ideal reader away.
Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels as well as Indie With Ease, which helps self-published authors conquer stress. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running.
Get more tips on purposeful productivity for writers and a free mini-course, Focus for Writers, at https://www.paulinewiles.com/writers
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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