5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Creating an Author Website

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Many authors believe that they need a website to promote their books, but only a few of them really know what makes a website an effective marketing tool. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings and mistakes.

While mistakes are a good sign that you are trying something new, they only serve you if you learn from them. What’s even better is learning from  the costly, time-consuming mistakes of others.

In this short article, you will explore five of the most common mistakes authors make in their attempts to create a website – and what you can do to avoid them. 

1. Failing to set a goal for the website. 

What do you expect to gain from having a website? Engagement? Book sales? Prestige? Authority? Many authors skip this crucial first step and excitedly dive into website features and functions. Without a clear understanding of your goal and objectives for your website, it will be difficult to come up with a compelling, cohesive message. 

So, how do you set up a goal for your website? Start by defining your ideal visitor. Who do you want to attract using your website? How do you make the content of your website worthy of their attention? What are the next steps you want them to take? Answering these questions can help you clearly define your goal for your website and measure its success down the road. 

2. Choosing a shared hosting. 

Ever been offered a really cheap website hosting package? Take a look at the hosting provider and ask if it’s a dedicated server or a cloud server. The likely answer is it’s a “shared hosting” package. You don’t need a solid technical background to understand what “shared hosting” means. Simply put, it refers to one server hosting multiple websites. And that’s a red flag. 

Why? Many websites have been hacked because of this low-cost web hosting option. If you share a server with other random websites, you have no control over the behavior of other website owners/admins and what they publish online. This puts you on the risk of getting penalized for potential violations they might commit. If they did something wrong, your website can be also taken down without notice or explanation. 

3. Not getting an “https” or an SSL certificate. 

If you visit the websites of big companies, you will notice an “https” and a padlock icon near the website address bar. If you click the icon, that will show the SSL certificate. Non-techie authors might easily ignore this important bit of information, but you know better. 

Why does SSL matter? Secure Sockets Layer or SSL ensures a secure environment for both users (website visitors) and you (website admin) as it protects sensitive data like credit card details and login credentials. It uses encryption to transmit information privately, protecting you and your site users from phishing, data breaches and other threats. 

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4. Not setting up an email subscription.

Check any famous author’s website and see if there is an option to join a mailing list. You will likely see one instantly because they make it easy for visitors to find. So why do so many new authors leave this out on their websites? It boils down to lack of resources and unclear website goals. 

When you ask users to subscribe, you need to prepare to offer them relevant information in the future. That may be in the form of a newsletter, new (book) releases, promotions, book signing event invitations, and more. Keep this in mind the next time you hire a marketing firm to create your website for you. 

5. Not implementing a responsive design

These days, we use multiple devices and screen sizes to access any website. That’s why it can be frustrating to navigate a website that does not display its content well on mobile devices. Why does it matter to have a responsive site? As a user, you expect it, so assume that your site visitors expect it, too. 

Responsive websites offer a great browsing experience whatever device you use to view them. This makes you, your visitors, and search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) happy. So the next time you hire a website designer, ask if he/she knows how to make your website look good on any device. 

Now that you know five of the biggest website mistakes to avoid, you are ready to get started building a great author website. Contact us today and find out more about creating the author website that works for you (not against you).