December 30, 2023 in Blogs

Avoid These Common Issues to Create an Author Website That Shines

By Lisa Snyder

As an author stepping into the digital realm, your website is your online home—a space where readers, publishers, and enthusiasts come to explore your work, connect with your ideas, and engage with your content. However, creating a compelling website involves more than just a visually appealing layout and some engaging text. It's about steering clear of common pitfalls that can impede your online presence. Here's a rundown of key mistakes to avoid when crafting your author website:

1. Undefined Audience and Purpose

One of the cardinal mistakes authors make is not defining their target audience. Understanding who you want to connect with helps tailor your content, voice, and design to resonate with your readers. Equally important is clarifying the purpose of your site—whether it's to showcase your portfolio, sell books, or engage in discussions. This clarity guides every aspect of your website's creation.

2. Neglecting Website Maintenance

A well-oiled website requires regular check-ups. Overlooking routine checks on essential functionalities like navigation menus, contact forms, and responsiveness on various devices can lead to a frustrating user experience. Periodically inspect your site to ensure everything functions smoothly and displays properly, especially for smaller device sizes.

Ignoring technical aspects like updating software, ensuring color contrast for readability, using oversized images that can slow down your site, adding alternative text (aka alt text) for images (critical for accessibility), and having an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate (for security) can jeopardize your site's functionality, accessibility, and trustworthiness.

3. Outdated and Irrelevant Information

Leaving outdated or incorrect information displayed on your website creates an unprofessional impression. Whether it's old event details, expired book release dates, or discontinued services, ensure your content stays up-to-date. Regularly review and refresh your website's content to reflect your current endeavors and accomplishments.

Incorporating social media links is excellent for engagement, but showcasing irrelevant or inactive profiles can dilute your online presence. Carefully curate and display only active and relevant social media handles to maintain consistency across platforms.

Using website templates can be a time-saver, but failing to remove placeholder content can diminish the professionalism of your site. Customizing templates to align with your brand and removing generic placeholders enhances the uniqueness of your online presence.

4. Domain Ownership

Allowing someone else to own and control your domain name can be risky. Ensure you retain ownership and control of your domain name to prevent potential issues in the future.

By sidestepping these common mistakes, you pave the way for a professional, engaging, and effective author website. Take the time to understand your audience, regularly maintain your site, keep content current, pay attention to technical details, and ensure your online presence aligns with your brand and goals. 

Remember, your website is an evolving platform to showcase your journey as an author. Continuously reassess, adapt, and improve to make it a true reflection of your literary prowess and personality.

Submitted by Lisa B. Snyder, Silver Hoop Edge 

More than a decade ago, Lisa Snyder switched out of an 18-year career in the health insurance industry, where she worked closely with small business owners. Her expertise evolved toward assisting professionals in starting, enhancing, and managing their web presence. Lisa Snyder, founder of Silver Hoop Edge (https://silverhoopedge.com/), is passionate about exploring effective ways to use WordPress for the continual enhancement/growth of her clients' websites.

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