Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone! Welcome back for another visit to my humble blog, where I talk about whatever is front and center in my mind at the moment.
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group question for February 2024 is: What turns you off when visiting an author’s website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author’s books? Constant mention of books?
I have been a web developer, and have run this blog in one form or another, since 1999. Therefore on the topic of what makes a good website, I have Opinions.
In order from most-worst to least-worst, these are the things which will most turn me off about an author’s website:
- Not having a website. If you are an author who publishes, then you need a website of your own. Full stop. Social media is good for boosting your signal, but social media platforms are ephemeral and, as we have seen with Twitter (and, increasingly, Facebook), vulnerable to the whims of the petulant billionaire manbabies who run them. Any author who wants readers to be able to find them needs their own website which will be the final source of truth for any information about their person and writing.
- Unusable/unreadable website. Bad font and color choices, broken images, broken links, background scripts which consume so many resources that the page never loads, or a browser freezes or crashes. So much style that there is no room for substance. As a corollary, websites which look okay on a computer but which are completely unusable on mobile. Smart phones have been around for decades now, and having a website which can’t be accessed or read on a mobile device is immediately cutting out at least 50% of your viewing audience.
- Website full of ads. Nothing wrong with bringing in some passive incomes from Third-party ads or affiliate links or the like. Displaying third-party ads on your website is fine, as long as they don’t consume so much real estate or so many resources that they become unusable. Also if your site doesn’t show more real content than ads by at least two orders of magnitude, then you are actually running a clickbait site with a thin veneer authorial intent.
- What is this website even for? If you are an author with a professional author’s website, and on that website the information about you as an author and the works you have written and published is difficult to find, then I as a user will give up after about 30 seconds. Take my blog for instance. I have not published much, but right up at the top is the PUBLISHED WORKS AND LITERARY MATTERS link, front and center. If I ever become a Famous Author, my readers will immediately know where to go to see the complete list of my published works.
Other than that, the things which turn me off of a website are all content-related, like gatekeeping fandoms, displaying a world-view which would cause me to insta-block them on social media, or complaining about evolving tastes and reading habits without also putting in the effort to learn to navigate the increasingly diverse and fragmented pool of potential readers. An author’s website is their personal space where they can post whatever they want. If their content turns me off, I’ll go elsewhere.
And that’s all I got to say about that. How about y’all’z opinions? What makes for a good or bad web browsing experience?
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