Many, many thanks to intrepid reporter and novelist Albert Tucher at the “scene of the crime” in New Brunswick, NJ…
The MWA-New York Chapter held its second satellite meeting at Tumulty’s Pub in New Brunswick, NJ, on Wednesday evening the 21st. Returning to the scene of my graduate work in the late 70s made me feel young again.
I connected or reconnected with friends including Jeff Markowitz, Peter Quirk, and Bruce Conord.
Mona DiPasquale (dipasqualedesign.net) spoke about websites for authors. I still don’t have this essential author’s tool, and the presentation was a confidence-builder that helped me inch closer to the goal. Here is a grab-bag of insights that stand out in my frantically scribbled notes.
Most ISPs offer free web development software, which is guaranteed compatible. The author has complete control, but can’t take the site to another host.
If you hire a web designer, get everything in writing and assume nothing–not even that you own your domain. No one can guarantee a high ranking in the search engines, so don’t believe such claims.
The average web surfer will wait 4.5 seconds for a site to load before losing patience. Avoid content that takes a long time to load, such as flash. The human eye naturally moves in an “E” or “F” pattern–accross, down, accross, down. Effective web pages guide the eye the way it wants to go anyway.
Buy not just the domain name you plan to use, but also every possible variation or mistake or misspelling you can think of.
Mona DiPasquale does not think much of blogs, which in her opinion don’t repay the time invested in them. She recommended the website of Joyce Carol Oates as an example of a well-designed site.
A good site has clear statements of the genre of the book and what it’s about at the top of the home page, a memorable domain name, sample pages, a mix of text and images, and contact info and a prominent “buy this book” button on every page.
I’ll be back as more occurs to me!
— Albert Tucher
Note from Elaine Ash:
There is one more thing to consider before setting up your own author’s website…The question to ask yourself is “Do I have time for this?” If a website or blog is going to steal precious time away from writing, then that’s a big consideration. The best tool in an unpublished writer’s kit is a well-crafted manuscript. Without that, you have zip. However, once published, no author should be without their own site. So it’s a tradeoff. Make the best pick for you.