The Top 5 Author Website Mistakes

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Here are five things not to do with your author website.

This is a must read if you don’t yet have a website because these tips will save you a lot of heartache in the future.

If you already have a website read with caution.

Website Mistake #1 – Focusing on Design Over Content

If you want someone to visit your website, it must be the most interesting thing on the Internet – for that person at that time.

Your website design is like the frame around a picture. Many authors spend more time on the wrapping paper than they do on the present. The design makes little difference regarding how successful your site is. You may disagree but Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson, is with me on this.

Website Mistake #2 – Focusing on the Author over the Reader

Yes, yes, you’re a big famous author. But people still don’t care about you. They care about themselves. Think that is selfish? Take the plank out of your own eye before you can point the finger. If you offer something of value, your readers will want to come back. Photos of your kids will not bring them back.

If you focus on your readers they will love you.

If the goal of your website is to stroke your own ego, then it will never succeed.

Website Mistake #3 – Hiring Your Brother-in-Law

Many authors get a friend or relative to build their website. In all of the consultations I have done at writers conferences, I have yet to  meet an author who is happy with this arrangement. Why? Because your friend offered to do a one time favor for you when what you really need is ongoing support.  The exception to this rule is when the web guy is also the husband. I have seen that work.

The story is usually the same: Your brother-in-law has some fancy website software and promises to keep it up to date. The problem is, your brother in law has no idea how often you want to update the website. Since it’s a free project, it becomes a low priority and the author spends years frustrated about her “free” website. This puts a strain on the relationship. Often the cost of a free website is a relationship.

With most free web guys, updating your website becomes as important as cleaning the garage. It will get done next week. Promise.

Website Mistake #4 – Building it Yourself

Some authors spend hundreds of dollars to buy Dreamweaver and build their website themselves. The problem is most authors have no idea about how to build a website. They don’t know about search engine optimization or how to integrate a blog.

The result? They have a Blogspot blog and an ugly site.

Building your own site does allow you to update it yourself but there is a better way.

Website Mistake #5 – Out of date

If you can’t edit your website it will always be out of date – unless you have a budget to hire someone to update it for you. But is it really worth $60 to make a minor update? Begging your brother in law to update your site for free is an exercise in frustration. If you pay someone to build you a site, make sure you get a site you can easily update yourself.

My Recommendation

Hire a company to build you a WordPress website. Wordpress is also easy to search engine optimize and can look very sharp. You can also get WordPress custom designed for between $1500-$7000. You can get bids from hundreds of WordPress developers on elance.com. My company, Author Media, also builds WordPress websites for authors.

If you are on a tight budget I recommend AuthorWebsites.com.  It costs $30 a month and comes with templates built specifically for authors.

What do you think?

  • Do you agree?
  • Are you happy with your website? Why or why not?
  • What do you look for in an author website?