Website – you need one!

Late last year, I took on writing about arts and entertainment in Key West for a weekly newspaper. It is more time consuming than I imagined and has slowed the writing on my mystery series. The journalism is still interesting to me, after all these years, and while it is only part time, I am amazed at the talent of people on this small island.

However (ain’t there always a however?), part of my amazement is that there are artists and entertainers out there that either don’t have a website or have a poorly designed and/or written website.

The web has no borders. I check my website stats about once a week and it surprises me where some of the hits come from. I realize that many of those hits are people wanting to know more about Key West than me, but they found me. If only a small percentage take time to read the home page and maybe even another small percentage continue on, I may have made a sale or got someone interested in my books. Maybe interested enough to come back and spend more time searching through my site.

I have books to sell, artists have their art and singer/songwriters have their music. Why miss web sales by not having a website? Or maybe worse, a website that is too difficult to traverse or presented poorly? Today, with so many people out there with the ability to help with creating websites (I think they teach it in first grade), the cost can be minimal and the benefits priceless.

Add, for a writer, that eBooks are the new sellers, why wouldn’t a writer have a website that shows off his or her work? Mine offers sample chapters, a lot of photos of me at readings, book signing and events in Key West. Readers like to get to know writers and what better way than to offer photos. At events, I take photos of the people there and tell them their picture will be on my website within the week. Do you think they check that out? Do you think they’ll tell their friends to check out the photo?

Bookstores that I’ve signed in have mentioned that people came in looking for my book because they saw a photo of a signing. Think I’ll be invited back when the new book arrives?

If you are in the arts, get a website. If you have one, ask someone that will be honest with you to go through it and tell you what he/she thinks. Make the needed adjustments, if the person suggests them. Ask for more than one opinion.

If, for some unknown reason, you cannot find anyone to help you, contact me and I’ll pass along the info on who does my website. Obviously, I like the people that do it and they’re hundreds of miles away. Do it, do it right and reap the rewards!

www.michaelhaskins.net

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