So, I've been redesigning my web site since Monday because frankly, it sort of sucked and didn't work before. It's been a mixed experience...I'm savvy enough to understand things like FTP and setting my template options in Wordpress, but I'm having to learn yet more CSS by the seat of my pants. I hate CSS.
Perversely, even if I had a web designer on call (and could afford him/her/it), I'd probably still be sitting here messing with the values in my stylesheet. (Oh! See what I did there, with jargon?) I'm sort of a control freak about my site. Sort of = very.
Anyway, we (and by we I mean "Nathan Bransford and me") all know that web sites for authors are important. If you're querying you need, at minimum, a bio page and a short blurb to show potential publishing types that you're not a freak who likes to bite the heads off of small woodland creatures. Or, if that's your platform, that you are.
Simple, but personalized, is my advice if you're an aspiring author building a site. You need a bio, something about your work, an excerpt (but if it's unpublished, don't post it anywhere but your personal site), and maybe one or two "human interest" pages, such as "In addition to being an author, I am an avid pastry chef/SCA member/foot fetishist." Personally, I have a widget that lets me stream my Flickr page onto my site, so unsuspecting surfers get to look at my photography of spooky places and/or my cats. Something to show your sparkling personality. If you don't have that, well, I hope your excerpt is really good.
Don't put music on your page. Seriously. This is the worst thing in the world for a professional site. The keyword here is professional. No typos, no neon text on black backgrounds, try to keep the cutesy graphics to a minimum (or a none.) If you're gobsmacked at the thought of trying to do this yourself, you should be able to hire a totally decent web designer and get a site running for about a thousand dollars. If you're gobsmacked by paying a thousand dollars, welcome to the wonderful world of CSS.
Now that I've fulfilled my quota of one serious post per annum, I'm off to finish my site.