Sunday, September 11, 2011

Author Websites--Why do you go?

I'm going to do a website upgrade soon and I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want done. I like my website design/template, so it's not a case of wanting a completely new look. But aside from maintenance and upgrades, which the site desperately needs, I'm looking at what I can do to improve the visitor experience.

But what do people want when they visit an author's website? Why do you go? I know when I go it's usually for one of three reasons: 1) I've read a book for the first time by an author and I want to know more about what they write; 2) I've read a book in a series and I want to find out how many others are in the series and what the order to buy them is; 3) I want to know when the author has another book coming out, particularly if it's in a series I'm reading. Anyway you slice it, I'm looking for information on books. It should be easy to find and when I get there I like to see a blurb, so I know what the story is about and maybe the possibility of an excerpt.

There are many ways to present your books, but which is the most convenient for a visitor? Some authors will group their series together if they have that many published. Others put all their books on one page and you simply scroll down and down and down to check out each one. Still other authors put the cover up and then you click on the cover to lead you to another window with all the information you need.

Then there is the home page. I know I don't like busy. I also don't like colors that are hard on the eyes. I think it's useful to see what authors are up to and it's great to have new releases and upcoming releases advertised on that home page, but what else? I know some authors put up RSS feeds, Twitter, and newsletter buttons. It's all about getting readership and I get that sort of...though the introvert in me simply wants to go back into my cave and write and not deal with all this social media. ( :

So I guess I'm putting it out there to readers and authors alike. What author websites do you like and think exemplify what a site should do? What advice would you give as far as the layout for a bookshelf page? What should and shouldn't be on the home page (if there are any rules)?

Thanks for your help!


Josie said...


When I look at an author's website, I like something new and constantly updated. I assume the author will promote his/her books, and that's OK, but I also want something of interest to me as a person/reader, whether it be a recipe, a funny read, or a money-saving tip.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Hi Josie, Thanks for the comment. That sounds like you visit an author's website for purposes other than finding out about an author's books. That's good to know. ( :