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What do readers most want from an author website?
In the comments section of that Dear Author post, hardly anyone talked about blogs (except to say they don't like the blog to BE there in place of a website). Most of the things people focused on were pretty straightforward:
- Have a clean, user friendly design (No flash, autoplay music, etc.)
- Make your books easy to find and buy.
- Make series lists and backlist titles available and clear so that people know the order of your books.
- Keep things updated.
- Provide a Current Release and a Coming Soon page.
- Have an FAQ and Contact page.
Basically people want to be able to find information easily and quickly. Period. If they have to hunt for your book information, you've lost them.
One of the commenters, KKJ, offered this list of those she thinks have good websites:
These are good examples and I recommend checking them out. (And interestingly, many of these don't have blogs at all, but simply a news page.) But this left me wondering, beyond these basics, what makes an author website stand out? What do readers want to see when they go to an author website?
So I'm asking you guys...what kinds of things do you want on your favorite author's website?
Do you want a newsletter option?
Do you prefer to have a news page separate from a blog?
Do you want "extras"?
If so, what kind of extras do you like--playlists, cut scenes, stories about how the stories came to be, interesting research tidbits, downloadable bookmarks, videos, live chats?
What would make you come back beyond just looking up the next release?
And I'm sure there are more questions I'm forgetting, but I really want to hear from y'all. So I'd love for everyone to let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on all these things.