The groundhog day approach to the web site


websiteintroThere are says when I wake up and think, I’ve seen all this before.

A lot of those days involve the web site.

I see many authors’ web sites I like. The bad news is, if I’ve heard about the author, that means they’re well known enough to just possibly not really need a web site. The best of these sites have a charming yet professional bio, a display of book covers and blurbs, and a list of reviews and events.

That is to say, these sites take a minimal approach because, really, most readers will only find the site after they’re reading the author’s books.

My web site goes through stages. During stage one, it’s rather minimal because the sites of the most successful authors out there tend to set the stage for what a successful author’s web sit looks like.

Visitors arrive, take one look, and think, “this is a successful author.”

On the other hand, debut and other lesser known authors can’t get people to start reading their books if they take a minimal approach. Let’s say your name is J. K. Rowling and you wrote Harry Potter. If so, people will find your site because they’re using “Rowling” and “Harry Potter” as search terms.

If your name is Zeke Boswell and you wrote a book called The Bird Bath Blues, you can be sure of one thing. Nobody is using “Zeke Boswell” and “The Bird Bath Blues” as search terms. And, because they’re not, there’s a tendency to keep adding more and more stuff to the site with an ever-expanding list of key words until your site stats show people are actually visiting the site and staying long enough to read the stuff you put there.

Of course, as you add stuff, you remember adding stuff before. The web site is turning into the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” You realize that you started out with a spartan, professional web site at least a dozen times before and that over time you get adding this and adding that until it finally became a maze of pages, plots, links, pictures, and goodness knows what else.

There was so much goodness knows what else on it that has become a yard sale or a sleazy flea market.

So, you get ticked off and throw away 99% of the site and embarked on yet another fresh start.

You knew from watching Bill Murray going through the same day over and over, that the whole shebang was going to keep happening until you learned something very important.

Until then, the web site is going to look wonderful, but have no visitors and sell no books. That’s when the tinkering begins. Or, you can keep it like it is when you have it the way you like it and hope for the best. Easier said than done.

Now, if I can just resist the urge to tinker with the site for a while, maybe I can break the cycle.


A coming-of-age adventure for your Kindle

A coming-of-age adventure for your Kindle


10 responses

  1. Funny – today has been a “tinkering” day for me with my blog. I had an epiphany and thought I’d become an Amazon Associate and put Amazon widgets on my page to use to sell my books (two ways to earn – brilliant!). So I signed up, got my link, went to my blog, deleted the BookBuzzr widgets (so it wouldn’t become the sleazy flea market), pasted the Amazon link in, and…nothing. Did some research, found WordPress doesn’t allow ads, went back to BookBuzzr to redo my old widgets….Sigh. Time to stop tinkering.

    • Those of us who have WordPress blogs have multiple reasons to get jealous over the non-WordPress blogs that allow HTML widgets such as those from Amazon Associates. My site, fortunately, does allow those links. But still it works its way toward being a flea market over time.


  2. And…I SO identify with this blog, Malcolm! You made me laugh, and I needed that. Rhett