In our latest post, we shared three out of six steps many of the most engaging effective author websites have in common. In part two, we provide three more. I’d love to hear your ideas about what we missed!
4) Hosting a Dynamic Blog: Websites with a built in blog get 55 percent more traffic than websites without a blog. While that’s a compelling argument to have a blog our recommendation is to only maintain one if it’s updated at a minimum once a week—if not more. A good blog should offer a steady flow of insight into the author’s activities, thoughts, and ideas.
- Author and NYT journalist Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code) blogs frequently on his site. In fact, his blog is front and center: it’s the main feature on the homepage. In addition to its frequency, Coyle integrates pictures and videos and has catchy post titles—“How to Spark Motivation? (Step One: Shut Your Mouth)”; “A Two-Minute Video That Might Change the Way Your Kid Thinks”; and “Best Parenting Tip Ever.”
- Dan Ariely, (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions) an author and professor, posts his “Ask Ariely” Q&A column from the Wall Street Journal to his blog. The questions are varied and Ariely’s responses are brief and interesting (he incorporates plenty of behavioral science research into his answers). The bottom line: Ariely blogs prolifically about his field of interest and expertise making the blog a must-read.
5) Having a “Rockstar” Testimonial: It’s always better to have other people talk about how great you are and author Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) hit the jackpot on this front. His homepage features a video clip of U2 front man Bono recommending Florida’s bestselling book to a panel that includes President Clinton. An endorsement from Bono? This is out of reach for most mere mortals but that shouldn’t discourage you from creating a page to highlight all the good things reviewers, experts, and others have said about your work.
6) Thinking Beyond Your Book: It’s important to have a “Books” page to showcase your backlist because every time you publish something new your other titles may get a boost. But non-fiction authors should think beyond their books and provide supplementary materials and information such as factsheets, tips, and guides. For this we like Jonathan Haidt’s (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom) website. He has interesting and useful information sprinkled throughout the site but the “Beyond the Book” section includes extra material, including how to learn about your strengths; a list of Haidt’s favorite reading related to each chapter in The Happiness Hypothesis; and videos that illustrate principles in the book.
These are a few ideas to encourage you to think creatively about your website. Remember: small, incremental changes over time will yield big results in time. You don’t have to launch your website and perfect everything at once. Start small and build your site and presence over time.