Websites and Individuality

by Genevieve Fosa

There are a few websites where I like to keep a fairly constant finger, plus my novel writing, which is one of the reasons for all the online publicity that I am beginning to do. Beating my own drum is never easy. Especially when I was carefully taught to keep it hidden at all times. No, you don’t want to appear to be talking yourself up, it is considered bad manners. You want to praise the other person. You want to be doing things that make him feel good. But, nobody is interested in how great you would like people to believe you are. You see, after a very short while, it all rings false.

Best type of advertising…

Perhaps, the best sort of advertising is exactly what we were taught; make the other person feel good. Make him feel good about himself for choosing you to do whatever it is you want him to pay you to do. It means that you must first of all make your potential client for your services, or reader of that wonderful opus you are in the midst of writing, feel as though you believe he is a wonderful person. You are delighted that he has come by, and do come back again, even if you do choose someone else to write your book for you.

The people who owned those mom and pop businesses back in the 1940s and 50s understood this principle. If you didn’t feel welcome in their store, you wouldn’t be likely to go back, and they knew it. The old saying; the customer is always right was a byword of that era.

How does one stand out from the crowd?

How does this translate to today’s world, where everybody is hawking their wares online, and everybody tends to do it the same way everyone else does? People searching online go from one website to the next and see essentially the same things on display — over and over again. Yes, every webmaster who wants to be found in the major web browsers is ruled by Google’s criteria. And, advertisers do tell us that certain things must be prominently on display in your website.

All of this apparently leaves very little room for individuality, for anything that would make your website stand out from all the others. And yet, as writers, we are supposed to be original. It isn’t as though we are in the business of selling widgets that are very much like somebody else’ widgets. We are attempting to entice people to read what we have written. And really, nobody can write quite the same story that someone else has written. Our stories reflect our unique point of view.

Shouldn’t our websites do reflect that uniqueness as well? I would like to get a discussion up, where people can offer their ideas for making writers websites feel original and appealing and reflect what you, the individual, have to offer.

So how about it? What are some ways you make your website unique? Any suggestions for other authors?