More Web Advice For Writers

September 12th, 2006 · 7 Comments
by Booksquare

Music notes, variousLet us start the day by returning to a topic near and dear to everyone’s heart: your website. For reasons that shall remain private, we have been doing a worldwide tour of author websites for the past several weeks, and can say that there’s something rotten in the state of websites.

First, the tough love. To those authors who insist upon adding a musical interlude to the web experience, stop. Read carefully: your taste in music sucks. There is absolutely no song that you can include as part of your web experience that will sound good to anyone, including you. If we want to hear music, we will go ahead and play the song of our choice. We don’t want to hear yours. Ever.

This public service announcement has been sponsored by each and every person who has ever suffered an unwanted bad music experience on a website.

Now on to your parenting skills. You have your first website, and it is a lot of work. Sort of like a practice website — you know that with the next, you will be much better. The HTML will go on without poking delicate design. You will remember that websites eat a lot, and you will necessarily lose precious sleep, especially during those crucial first months. When the second site comes around, you breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve done this before. You know exactly how to proceed.

So you go forth and lavish love and attention on this second site. You’ve discovered that this site, whom you’ve affectionately nicknamed “Your Little Blog”, is easy to maintain. Still eats a lot, but it’s not like you have to figure out the recipe before cooking. Before long, your first site, that poor innocent lost on the web, is all but forgotten. It’s still wearing a two-year old bio!

A website is a blog is a website. Rather than leaving a dusty, abandoned website with a shiny link to your blog — which gets updated more often than some people eat — dump the old site and move your blog right in. Use the pages feature of your blogging software to create static pages for things like your life story and books (have we mentioned that WordPress is lovely at this stage of life?). Plug in those other features you deem necessary, find a very nice outfit for the thing, or, better, hire someone to give you just the right look for your site.

And acknowledge that you can have the best of all worlds: a website that is regularly updated. You love blogging. It’s easy and you don’t have to know much more than how to work a word processor to add stuff to the Internet. It’s lovely. Voila! You have a website, you have a blog, and you don’t look like you’ve left that poor innocent first site out there alone.

You can thank us later.

[tags]authors, publishing, blogs, websites[/tags]

File Under: Back To Basics · Marketing For Introverts

7 responses so far ↓

  • Mia Zachary // Sep 13, 2006 at 7:29 am

    And then there are those of us who have strong perfectionist streaks (ie neuroses) and who know that everything you ever say in cyberspace stays there _forever_.

    Therefore we sweat every sentence of every entry in an effort to sound intelligent and witty and then we decide that blogging is hard work and we don’t really like it much, so we back off from every day to three times a week to Fridays only.

    But in the meantime our sweet little firstborn website always looks pretty and only needs our attention once or twice a month. (I did however update my resume and bio!)

  • Karen // Sep 13, 2006 at 9:54 am

    What do you think about the Flash stuff. It drives me crazy and makes me want to immediately click off the site, but more and more people seem to have it.

  • David Thayer // Sep 13, 2006 at 10:10 am

    Your advice doesn’t include The Clash or Blondie, does it?

  • David Thayer // Sep 13, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Oh and Elvis Costello.

  • Booksquare // Sep 13, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Ah, Karen, the Flash issue is a post unto itself. When done well and appropriately, Flash can be very cool. Most people don’t do Flash well or appropriately. Hence, those will Flash intros are often overlooked by the all-powerful Google — Google is blind, you know, so can’t see pretty pictures and lovely animation. If the Flash is not built out correctly, Google sees a whole lot of nuthin’ (note to the architects of America: pretty much all of your websites are invisible to potential customers).

    And, of course, Flash intros are only interesting the first time. Unless you’re changing the animation on a daily basis, nobody is going to sit patiently through your cuteness again.

    Okay, I was so going to put together a list of acceptable music. The Clash are always welcome. Elvis C is generally a good choice (Elvis P, no), but he did have a few weak periods that should be avoided. Blondie in moderation. Varnaline always. Good Bob Dylan. Pretty much anything by the Pogues exept the songs that make me cry. Big Star is generally fine, the Who are iffy as are the Rolling Stones. Hmm, I’m currently in the midst of a Talking Heads appreciation, but not that stupid song about the cute baby. Regina Spektor can be fun, but is not to everyone’s taste. I heard a really interesting new band yesterday, but don’t know their name. They’d be good, too.

    See, music is hard, but the above should serve as good guidelines.

  • David Thayer // Sep 13, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Are you asking yourself “is this my beautiful blog?”

  • kirkb // Sep 14, 2006 at 8:59 am

    I would just stick with the songs that make her cry. That pretty much ends every discussion.