The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point

Thursday, April 25, 2013

by Karen Cioffi

As an instructor of online classes that teach how to create and build an author and writer online presence, the most popular lesson, and the one that sparks the most questions, is how to create an effective author website.

While some marketers still lean toward the effectiveness of long copy, especially for sales pages, some heavy hitters like Mike Volpe of say, simple works best. And, as time passes, this "simple" strategy is gaining more and more ground.

Why is this so?

The answer is time.

Have you landed on pages, especially sales pages that go on, and on, and on? I have and it actually kind of annoys me. If it’s a product I’m interested in I’ll scroll down, skimming, looking for highlights and the price in particular.

Have you scrolled down these pages and not been able to find the price? As crazy as it sounds, there are landing pages out there that you have to click on the BUY button to find out how much the product you’re interested in costs. This takes additional time.

You and everyone else are strapped for time today. We live in a faster and faster and faster world, a world that never sleeps, and this causes us to work more and more and at a faster and faster pace. According to the latest statistics, you have around FIVE seconds to grab a visitor, to convince or motivate him to pause long enough to move past the title and read your first and, hopefully, your second paragraph.

Time matters. Give the reader what she wants up front. And, what does she want?

The visitor to your site wants to know who you are and what you have to offer. Again, give the reader what she wants.

Keep your site simple, easy to read, and with a clear and simple call-to-action. And, if you have a product or service for sale, make the cost visible. Don’t make your landing page a Hide and Seek game. The visitor won’t appreciate it.

Okay, now that that you have the reasons for keeping your site simple and your call-to-action simple, here is one reason marketers may use the Hide and Seek strategy.

There is a marketing philosophy that uses a succession of Yeses to trigger the mind of the potential client or customer, or motivate him, to say YES to the offer. According to pro marketer Clay Collins, this is considered "micro commitments" or the YES ladder. Each time the visitor responds to the request, the conversion possibility increases.

While this might be a useful strategy for high-end products, for lower-end products, like your books or products under $50, this strategy could backfire, especially with time factored in the equation. It’s not a good thing to make visitors jump through hoops to get the information they need.

So, bottom-line, keep your author website simple and to the point.


For guidance on setting up your author web site and so much more, join Karen Cioffi's class for writers. CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR-WRITER ONLINE PRESENCE: Website Creation to Beyond Book/Product Sales starts Monday, May 6, 2013. For details and enrollment, visit our classroom page.


Renee Roberson said...

Thank you, Karen. I put together a very simple author website when I first started freelancing using a website hosting service and recently changed up the template for a new look. I sometimes tell myself that I wish I had more money to get an elaborate site designed, but from the looks of this post what I have works just fine! Right now I have a landing page with a bio and separate pages for "About Me, "Publishing Experience," "Portfolio," "Blog," "Testimonials," "Consulting," and "Contact Me."

Margo Dill said...

I love ANYTHING that tells me to keep it simple. Thanks for the post, Karen.

Marcia Peterson said...

I have experienced what you described, scrolling and scrolling down the page to find the price of something, and having to resort to clicking the buy button to find out. Much better to keep it simple for your customer!

Karen Cioffi said...

Renee, it sounds like you have your website under control! And, yes, simple works best.

Karen Cioffi said...

LOL, Margo. I'm with you. I'm, glad simple is the way to go!

Karen Cioffi said...

MP, It's interesting that with all the information out there on the reasons not to create anxiety in the visitor, sites still play hide and seek with the price.

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