StATS: Using a web site to promote your book (May 10, 2006)

Someone on the MedStats email discussion group asked about how you use a web page to provide things like

supplemental chapters, expanded tables of critical values, practice tests, case studies etc.

Gee, what a coincidence. That's what I am hoping to do at my Stats: Statistical Evidence in Medical Trials web page.

I said that  my employer has generously provided me with space for a web site, and you should check with your employer also. A subweb at your employers web site will carry some restrictions, and some employers might impose only some trivial restrictions (e.g., no links to pornographic sites) or they may be excessively restrictive (e.g., no commentary about anything remotely controversial). I've only had one time when the powers that be asked me to change something on my web site, and that suggestion was actually perfectly reasonable. Some places would want to tinker with your web pages to insure that certain corporate style standards are followed. Be sure you know what you are getting into. In addition, see if your publisher can offer space at their web site.

I also made some general recommendations about commercial vendors:

1. Do not try to save some money by allowing ads on your web site. That would be counterproductive in the long run. Ads make you look unprofessional and will keep some visitors from regularly visiting and bookmarking your site. I include a lot of links on my web pages, but I think long and hard before I link to a site that has any advertising.

2. Choose a host that allows you to use your own domain name. You will get more visitors if your main page is rather than Choose a name that is reasonably short and easy to spell, especially when you are talking to someone over the phone. Avoid special symbols if you can. Sadly, my employer switched from a nice easy name,, to something more difficult, I understand why they did it, but I find the former name to be much easier to give to someone in casual conversation.

3. Estimate the size of your web site in advance, and think about little things like search capabilities, ability to create a blog, automatic submission of your site to major search engines, creation of special email accounts, simplified web templates, etc. that you may or may not want. Decide all of this in advance, as it will influence how much you will have to pay.

4. Don't use pop-up windows, frames, or animation on your web pages.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Statistical evidence.