Okay, so, I bashed my home page in the last post. Now, I’m rolling my eyes over everything that I — note that I said “I” not my Web designer — did wrong with the most important page on my Website: The Bookshelf. This page should be simple, right? You display all your covers with links for readers to order books. Done deal.
I’ve learned, on my site, it’s too simple! Because, that’s all I’m offering.
Basically, in the great Cyberspace Super Mall, all I’m doing is standing before a kiosk holding up my covers and meekly saying, “Care for a sample?” The sample being a first chapter and some review quotes. I’m learning that only a handful of people fly by slowly enough to even notice the sample I’m offering.
I’ll address “getting their attention” later, but for now, let’s stick with why my bookshelf page doesn’t work even when I do get the cyber shopper to stop and come inside. Here’s how it looks at the time I wrote this blog:
Like I’ve said before, my Website is very pretty. Kudos to the designer for the look of the page. The things that make it ineffective are all on me.
Mistakes Internet marketers have pointed out:
1) Wasted Real Estate. Too much space is wasted on white space and the pretty gray script.
2) Too Many Book Covers. Not Enough Text. Rather than having all my book covers on one page, I should break them into several pages. I should do one page for each trilogy, one for my backlist titles, and one for my newest release. That way, as you click on each page, all the covers are “above the fold.”
Looking at this page, I bet you can’t even tell what the newest release is. (Psst, it’s Unforgettable. Down on the last row. The row that’s “below the fold” if you were opening this page in a browser window.)
3) It’s Not Personal. No, not the criticism. My page! I need to have blurbs and text about the books along with the covers. I’m not talking about just the slick blurbs copied from the back cover. I’m talking about something personal about me, the writing of the book, what inspired the story, why the characters touched me. I need to tell readers why I love each story.
4) It’s Too Quiet. They’re telling me to put the personal information in text AND audio, video form. My one booktrailer is great, but it’s not the sort of personal, “author having a conversation with her readers” approach they’re talking about. Why text and video form? Everyone assimilates information in a different way. Some people like to read it while others like to hear it or see it. I need to meet all of those needs.
What can you take away from this?
Go through the same process I’m going through: look at your Website from the perspective of a first-time visitor who happened upon it by the mysteries of Google. If you knew nothing about this author or the books, how quickly and easily would you know what this author writes? What are their books about? And, who’s their publisher?
Good Luck and Happy Travels through Ceyberspace!
Other Post on this Topic:
I wrote this blog post months ago, and boy have I come a long way since this! I now have a wonderful newsletter service — Mad Mimi — which I love. (Don’t forget to subscribe.) It’s very affordable, starting with FREE, and does everything I need. I’ve also mastered Facebook and Twitter, so click on the links to check out my pages there. Most importantly, I have a spiffy new Website at JulieOrtolon.com.
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