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