Today's post is more of a question. I'm thinking about authors' websites today. By this I don't mean simple blogs. I mean sites made up of various pages, preferably having their own domain. I think these are becoming a necessity for novelists, especially ones trying to reach an audience. I say this because, as a reader, I like to browse the websites of my favorite authors, and I'm always disappointed to learn that the author does not have one. I'm also a bit disappointed whenever the domain "authorname.com" is owned by a fan or fan club, and is "unofficial."
I like a pleasing, modern and easy-to-navigate design, with multiple pages. I dislike when the website is made up of one page, or when it looks like it might have been created in the 90s, or has not been updated in three years. I don't like ads, though links to the author's books on Amazon (or other seller) are appropriate. I don't mind political issues being raised, if they seem to genuinely matter to the author, but I'm annoyed by partisan politics and I don't want to see the name of any politician! Seriously, I don't know why an author would want to risk alienating about half of their prospective readers, anyway.
I want to find interesting things to read on these websites. A short, fun-to-read bio. Pictures. A list of books or stories with a teaser, and maybe a link, for each. Maybe even a sample chapter, or a sample story. Advice for new writers. A list of their favorite books. And a blog, of course.
Anyway, I'm very curious to hear from other writers on this subject. Do you have a website? If so, did you purchase your domain? Did you make it yourself? Give us the link! Also, are websites a necessity, in your view?
How should they be designed, and what do you think they should (or should not) include?