In 2014, Buzzfeed released an article of the “20 Hilariously Terrible Corporate Websites,” and Game of Throne’s author, George R. R Martin cracked the number 3 spot. A screenshot of the best-selling author’s old webpage (like 90s old?) blended in with many of the other contenders on the list. Buzzfeed followed up the picture with a comment that this webpage is “before it got all fancy last year,” so I’ve decided to investigate, and kids, not much has really changed.
Above is Martin’s previous website (note the “last updated 2005) and I’ve concluded that the author’s favourite colour must be purple. Despite the slightly distracting background, there’s a giant picture of Martin taking up most of the left hand part of the page, which serves its purpose of telling the reader who the website is about. This is just in case you missed the five times that it’s written on the homepage.
Excusing the graphics of early 2000s, the links at the top of the page where they are easily seen and accessible is a positive to this otherwise atrocious webpage. Using the GOT house banners is a great way to keep the theme of his most popular books front and center for fans that would looking for more information on the author.
Fast forward to 2017, and George R. R Martin’s page looks extremely different, but the same somehow…? We’ve abandoned the giant picture and only have the name once in big print at the top left hand side, which is a much more conventional take on a personal website. Still, this website does not scream 2017 best-selling author with a net worth of $50 million. There is a lack of sophistication to the website that should be present for someone who sells millions of copies and has a very successful television show based off his work. All the elements of a good website are there: accessible tabs, informational sidebars, an appropriate theme; however, there is still a lack-luster effect, which may be do to the expectations that the GOT show exceeds.
Is it the author’s job to keep up with the franchise and continue expanding the brand in this way? Should George R. R Martin have to change a simplistic preference for a landing page to meet these expectations? These questions must be taken into consideration when creating a personal website and that the choices we make don’t just reflect ourselves personally, but in a business/promotional way as well.