This week, while speaking with an upcoming author, she asked me what the standard is for a good website. The answer to that, I believe, is fairly subjective and varies according to your audience. What does not vary is the answer to these 2 questions:
Are customers glad they looked you up?
Do they want to come back/recommend your site to others as a resource?
Both answers should be a resounding YES, but what you put up on your site to make people say that is the subjective part.
Who is your audience and what do they value? To create a fan base, you need to know the answer to this question and supply it as an ongoing resource on your website.
My all-time favorite site to use as an example for knowing who their audience is and what they value is http://www.despair.com/. Another is http://www.freerice.com/. Despair is a retail site and Free Rice is a charity site and after visiting once, nearly all of their target audience is likely to return.
Exercise: Of the following bestselling book series, which author do you think is magnifying their popularity with their online presence? Remember, I'm not typing this question for my health. This is for you! Take 5 minutes right, click on each link and vote on which one you think is most effective for the author/most visited. For extra credit, tell me why you think it is the strongest!
http://www.darrenshan.com/index.html (Some of you may want to skip clicking on this one as it is a YA Horror series)
And yes, that last one is a curve ball, and does not belong to a bestselling author. But can anyone tell me why I put it in there anyway?
Please leave all responses as comments and I look forward to reading them!