PR: What Not to Do: Having a Useless Website

Brigid Alverson has written a wonderful rant about what journalists want from publisher websites, and how many fail at the basics. Here’s what any publisher site should have, inspired by her list:

  • A page on each of your publications that contains the credits, a cover image (in a reusable form), the price, and the solicitation information. (Ideally, updated when you make changes.)
  • A working search engine and understandable navigation.
  • Contact information and basic company information. I like to know what someone’s official title is when crediting them, so a list of company officers and typical roles is helpful, too. (Is so-and-so the CEO or the President or the Editor-in-Chief? Marketing Director or Promotion Manager? etc.)

There’s lots more at Brigid’s post, which you should read. As she points out, “If I Google the title of your comic, your site should show up on the first page of results. It almost never does.” You need to beat the sites offering downloads and reviews and issues for sale with some good search engine optimization. And you get that by having a great website that lots of people find worthwhile to link to. Check out the sites for Oni Press or Top Shelf for good examples.

Also, when you redo your website, don’t break all of your previous links! If you aren’t going to keep the URLs, at least set up redirects. I’ve stopped linking to publisher sites in most of my reviews, for two reasons: 1) I’ve been burned in the past by publishers who change their links, requiring a bunch of rework on my part. 2) I only want to link to you if you provide something I don’t (and I cover the price, credits, and plot description). In most cases, that’s an online preview, which provides readers something useful and unique.

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