Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking. If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG. The awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!
February 7 question: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of the author's books? Constant mention of books?
I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to author websites and blogs. People in glass houses and all that.
This site, for example, started out as a mommy blog back in the day (like, 2009), and has slowly morphed into a blog + pages for my author life as I started to build something you might call an actual author life.
It's a bit of a Frankenstein's monster now, made out of pieces of other things, put together by someone who's not particularly skilled at that.
I'm well aware of the flaws in my own site.
I have great plans for migrating to another platform because Blogger has been falling apart for years, but there's a lot of decisions to make and tons of actual work to that, so it keeps getting bumped down the to-do list. That constant balance of time-energy-money. Migration takes a lot of resources…even just figuring out what to pack and take with you versus what to let go.
So, I definitely bear all that in mind when I am tempted to pass judgment on what someone else has managed to do in this crazy endeavor we call building a writing life.
So, with all that as caveat, here are my three main pet peeves on author websites:
- Pop-ups: Modals demanding that I subscribe to a newsletter or click over to the latest publication. Especially if those cover the thing I came there to read and are difficult to get back out of. If I like what I see, I'll seek out your newsletter--put the link at the side or in an obvious menu, but don't pop it up on me just because I scroll down or try to navigate away--that feels scammy and pushy and guarantees I will not subscribe.
- No contact information: that's a basic on any website. People might want to reach out to you! Maybe invite you to be a part of an event. I've had it happen. I understand the desire for privacy, but it can cost you opportunities to be difficult to reach out to. You can use a form if you don't want to post an email address.
- Flashing or moving displays that can't be turned off: I don't see this so much anymore, but for a little while, it was quite the fashion to have a video play, or a carousel display on a website and I hate it. An interactive element for a purpose has its place, but on an author's website? Nope. I came here for the words, read with my eyeballs, at the pace I choose.
So there ya go, Samantha's two cents on author websites. How about you? What puts you off or pulls you in? What do you do for your own site, if you maintain one? I'd love to hear about in the comments!