Why You Should Care

  • Homepage is still important
  • First impression for people Googling you.

Why You Should Listen to Us

  • Thomas’s company Author Media has built over 100 author websites.

Common Mistakes Authors Make With Their Homepage

Mistake #1 Welcome letter

  • No one reads these. It makes your website look dated.
  • Tend to be a symptom of not knowing what to do with your homepage.
  • Shocking Broca, first line of your novel, first line of your website, same thing …

 

Mistake #2 Cramming content above the fold.

  • There is no fold.
  • In professional web design, this is how we can tell if someone has not been keeping up to date.

 

Mistake #3 Desktop First Design

  • Websites are built with computers.
  • The temptation is to design the homepage for computers.
  • Most visitors will be on a mobile device.  
  • Mobile can’t be an afterthought. It must be your first thought.

 

Mistake #4 Focusing on the author.

  • No one wants to read your bio on the homepage.
  • That is what about pages are for. And even then … boredom is not your friend. This is your second chapter …
  • The purpose of your headshot on the homepage is to help people know they are at the right place. And give them a connection. We connect with people. It’s the way we’re wired.

 

Mistake #5 No clear next step

  • 90% of the time the next step should be to either: join your email list or buy your book.
  • In one sentence  answer the question: “What do I want people to do on my website?”
  • Don’t use the word “browse” in your answer.
  • The purpose of my website is to __________________________________

 

Mistake #6 Sliders

  • The purpose of sliders is to let your boss put his pet project “above the fold” without having to worry about anyone ever seeing it.
  • Sliders only work if everyone reads at the same pace.
  • Sliders break the mobile experience
  • Good place to hide a dead body.

 

Mistake #7 Paragraph Text

  • Homepages are for headlines and images
  • You have seven seconds …
  • Gross Anatomy once again
  • Exception: If your homepage is a blog, you can have one paragraph of text per post.

 

Mistake #8 No Clickable Book Cover

  • People want to be able to buy your book right away, it might be the only reason they came to your site.

 

Mistake #9 No Sign-Up Form

  • Email is one of the most effective ways to sell books. One of?
  • Always be growing your list.
  • Scavenger hunts

 

Mistake #10 Ugly Design

  • You are not a designer.
  • An ugly website reduces your credibility.
  • Either stay close to the theme or hire a professional. Don’t do it yourself unless you can explain the difference between hexadecimal, RGB and cmyk and when and where to use which one in design.  
  • No one has the guts to tell you your website is ugly.
  • The easiest way to have a passable design is to stick with white and black. Let the color come from your photos.
  • Good design will not make your site. But bad design can break it.

 

The key to a good homepage:

  • Put yourself in your reader’s shoes.
  • Answer these two questions:
    • Where am I?
    • Where do I go from here?

 

Apology

  • We had a snafu with our RSS feed that caused some people to download old episodes. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Sponsor:

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