Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Depth

(This is a recycled post. An oldie, but a goodie!)

Let's talk about depth. When I say depth I am talking about pages on your website or blog in addition to your home page.


Why should we have depth?


Because there are critical pieces of information that should be easily accessible to readers. 

Critical information for an author includes:
  1. Contact Information. Please give people an easy way to find you. If for any reason an agent or someone who could help your career is looking for you, don't you want them to find you easily? And what about later when you are published? Shouldn't your readers have access to you? They want to be able to connect - online media makes this possible. Do your part - make it easy for them. Yes, usually they can click on your profile and get your email (if you have it listed) but that takes more work. A contact page including an email is better. Even better than that is a contact form so people can leave you messages directly from your site. (This is different than being able to comment because they can talk to you privately.)
  2. About Me Page. I don't have this info on my blog yet. I don't know why - maybe I haven't figured out who I am. Again, a blogger profile button can give this info, but a page dedicated to telling all about you is preferred. It's easy to find and is searchable. Include what you write and your FULL NAME or PEN NAME in a clear location. You'd be surprised how many people's blogs I visit that have their name hidden away. It's frustrating. Don't let your readers be frustrated!
  3. A Link to Your Books. This is mostly important if you're books are on sale or on the way to being on sale. Make it easy for people to buy your books. That's critical. Also important is letting people know what you write for easy identification. If someone sees your name and book title and synopsis a lot, they start to say, "Maybe I should read that..." If you are published, make sure you have your cover posted.  If you aren't published, you should have writing samples. This gives people pre-agent buzz (yes, it can happen) and gives agents and publishers easy access to your work. Many agents research your blog on a query. Make sure they can find your material. (Again, I haven't done it yet. Ooh, I'm a slacker!)
  4. Anything else you want people to get to easily. I want people to get to my blog critique info. Maybe you have appearances or events you want to notify people about. Or you offer editing services. Or you have good reviews of your books. Or you have won writing awards. Or you have a really popular blog post. Maybe its contests. Or photos. You get my drift.
One more thing - please make your navigation to these pages easy to see. Top of the page is best.

Any other things you want to see in on a separate page of a blog or website? Do you have depth?

46 comments:

ClareDugmoreWrites said...

Excellent examples of ways to add depth to your web page. :)

Joanna Marple said...

Thanks, Laura. I have been wondering about adding a couple of pages with the series I am doing this year on a weekly basis (a)illustrator interviews and b) around the world in 50 weeks), or maybe all my posts on endangered animals in one place. I am not sure if there can be too many pages though? Any thoughts?

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I've never figured out how to do tabs on Blogger - can you make that your T post? Also how to put links to your posts in your comment - there's an L post!

thehopefulromantic said...

You've nailed it in this post - making use of tabs/ pages is essential for making the blog easy to negotiate. That said , i am conscious of other areas that i need to improve on my site...but oh, to find the time!!

Leighcaron said...

Depth...great "d" word and Definitely I'll keep that in mind.

AlexJCavanaugh said...

My blog has depth! Just not my writing, which was my post today.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I'm so glad you mentioned No. 1 — so many times I have wanted to email a blogger and simply cannot find a good contact. I either resort to a Tweet or a DM, if they follow me. No. 3 seems obvious, but a few times I've had to search blogs for a link. It should be front and center, so people can easily find it.

Kimberlee Turley said...

I'm still on my waiting list to have my blog redone by a professional. Can't wait for it either because it's going to include almost all of these points.

Shannon said...

Another excellent post, Laura! I think the hardest part for me is writing the "About me" pages. Hate it!

Callie Leuck said...

I also often have the "how do I contact this person?" problem. I do have an "about me" page, a link to writing samples, a page of my favorite writing quotes, and just a random list of things I like. Some of those pages are a bit silly, but I think it helps give a reader a better idea of who I am. If I have more important items to share in pages one day, I might remove the silly things.

Gwen Tolios said...

Contact/Mission pages I find are helpful. And as I co-host an online accountability group, I have a page dedicated to that. Depending on the blog, a more info, or general information page is nice. And one where people can quickly find topics by choice. I find topic/word clouds in sidebars to be too messy and not aesthetically pleasing, so a table of contents page or a search bar

Laura Barnes said...

LauraBWriter.blogspot.com

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks, Clare!

Laura Barnes said...

I think you are ok having as many pages as you can fit in one line of your navigation bar. If it goes to two lines, it is too much. That's just my opinion though. :)

Laura Barnes said...

What great suggestions, but I already have both T and L done. Maybe I'll change my T post. I'm not sure if you'll read this follow up, but if you email me I'd be happy to tell you how to do both. LauraBWriter@gmail.com

Laura Barnes said...

Thank you! And did you notice how bad I am at following my own advice? LOL. Like you said, no time!

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks!

Laura Barnes said...

Insecure Writer's post day isn't it. I'm heading over to read...

Laura Barnes said...

ME TOO! When I'm looking for people to guest on my blog I have that problem. So frustrating!

Laura Barnes said...

How exciting! I can't wait to see it.

Laura Barnes said...

Yeah, did you notice I don't have one either? So hard to write. Maybe when I'm a "somebody" with an agent or a book deal it will be easier (though probably not!).

Laura Barnes said...

That's excellent thinking, in my opinion. The silly things are important too as long as people can get to the vital info easily and the silly stuff doesn't interfere. I have a Blog Awards page which isn't really vital, but they're important to me.

Laura Barnes said...

Don't get me started on word clouds. I'm often telling people when I do critiques that they have too many labels - I think that's the most general problem with them. If they have a real small amount of topics and they are alphabetical, it's much more useful, IMHO.

thehopefulromantic said...

Ha! No worries - we all do that to some extent :)

Claire Hennessy said...

I love all your blog tips - they have really helped me with my blog. Thanks :) (BTW I have gained 10 followers in 4 days! How fab is that?! And you have increased by over 20 haven't you? Yay! I can do !!! in comments, right?)

Laura Barnes said...

LOL! Yes, !!!! away!!!! That's totally fab. Glad I'm helping!!

Sylvia said...

Great tips!

Sylvia
http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks!

Ann Best said...

This IS a "goodie" post, Laura! I get so frustrated if, e.g., the blogger doesn't post his/her name. I also like to know in what part of the world the person lives. Why not? I don't see how it's "dangerous" to say what city/state or whatever you live in. Who's going to come after me? I ask my paranoid daughter. Contact Information. About Me page. I think I've got these in pretty good shape now.

Your blog is VERY accessible. Colorful. Interesting. And I love seeing your "real" face!

Laura Barnes said...

Thank you, Ann! I appreciate that. :)

Denise Covey said...

Laura, I'm continually amazed to see on some author blogs no easy link to buy books I know they've published. And those who won't show an email and waste our time as we try to search for it as we have an enquiry we don't want to post in comments, then there's those who don't allow comments...

Denise

Laura Barnes said...

I totally agree. I think it's just not really thinking about their blogs as a method of communicating. People need to step outside and view their site from other's persepectives.

Sari Webb said...

Good advice, Laura. The only thing I'd add is to make sure all these pages are updated fairly regularly (something I'm not very good at doing). Especially 'about' and writing info pages, they can get out of date, and if they haven't been updated in a year (or probably more in my case) they don't say a whole lot about the person anymore.

Laura Barnes said...

That's such an excellent comment that I had to stand up. I need to start saying that more often. Good, good point!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Laura. Good advice. Thank you!

Jessyferguson said...

Really good post. I just re-did my blogpost a few weeks ago adding some of this stuff. I have no idea if it made any difference but it sure is pretty. :)

Ishta Mercurio-Wentworth said...

I have been telling myself to do this for MONTHS. I just keep doing other things instead, but this weekend is a long weekend, so I will make sure to set aside time for it. It's an important feature to have, I know.

Thanks for the push in the right direction!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks to reading your critiques, I know do most of these things :) In the case of book reviewers, it's nice to see their review policy/guest post policy and index of reviews on separate pages.

Jamie Gibbs
Fellow A-Z Buddy
Mithril Wisdom

Laura Barnes said...

Anytime!

Laura Barnes said...

Good for you! Pretty is always awesome too.

Laura Barnes said...

Glad to give you the push you needed. Good luck!

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks, Jamie. :) And good point about book reviewers. Totally on the mark.

Kate said...

Hi, on the day I posted 'F' for fairies, I also made a wish and created an about me page. I havent finished it but the wish was that someone in the a to z challenge had blogged about writing an about me page. The fairy dust must have worked because someone left a comment and a link to your blog!

Kate N said...

I posted yesterday for the letter F is for fairies and I also made a wish on my about page that someone would blog about how to write an about me page - I was sent a link to your blog and my wish was answered! How lucky!

Laura Barnes said...

YAY! I love it when Fate steps in (another F word). Hope it answered what you wanted it to!

Alark Betty said...

Very informative post, Laura!

I benefited from it! Thanks!


http://betty-alark.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-type-of-character-are-youhanging.html

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