Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004
As a writer I found one of my favorite writers: (Paulo Coelho) has a site that could inspire anyone who wants to create a more humanistic presence on the Web.
Being a writer, when I was asked to do some research into what makes a good website, of course I straightaway went to check out all of my favorite authors. After sifting through a few standard sites I remembered to look at one of my all time respected writers-Paulo Coelho. Judging by how many books he has sold he is obviously a lot of people's favorite, and his website is exactly what you'd want to keep the fans happy.
If any of you are familiar with Coelho's work you will know how prolific he has become all over the world. People love the simplicity of his stories about the spiritual quests of all people and the idea that the magical happens in everybody's lives, even the so-called 'ordinary, normal' person. He to me comes across as a perfect example of the power of human connection, his books having affected millions across all national boundaries. As an Internet writer, to me he symbolizes the possibilities lying in the future of the Web. Like a good book, the Internet too can cross all imagined ideas of separation bringing people from all walks of life together in the context of positive thought and action.
Coelho's website's homepage starts off with a simple black screen, and a large photo of the man smiling-a very humanistic approach to this new medium. It then has many different sections as well as links to relevant sites, even his own web log (on-line journal) entitled, " Warrior of the Light Online". I think I could spend innumerable hours reading over his personal thoughts and pieces of information he has integrated from elsewhere. Having this added website of an on-line diary gives the site even more humanistic qualities, as any person can truly connect with Coelho's innermost feelings and thoughts.
The sections on the main site are separated into categories like: Biography, Paulo Coelho Institute, Photo Gallery, Road to Santiago, Agenda, Books, Editions, Free downloads, Meditation, TV on-line (videos), Warrior of Light, To journalists, FAQ, Message for the author, and Recommend this site. We are talking about a very extensive and well thought out site. Any type of individual or business, especially writers, could learn a lot from this example.
Just to touch on a few aspects of the site's categories I'll focus on the one's I had a good look at. The biography was excellent, an extremely in-depth look at Coelho's life from childhood until present day. No holes barred, he's not ashamed to tell of all his low points as well as the usual list of one's achievements. It is very honest, he tells of how his parents institutionalized him several times thinking he was crazy, as well as stories of being tortured as a political prisoner and of his 'dark' experiences with drugs and black magic. This humanistic perspective gives the site a much more personal feel as well as eliciting reactions in readers, much more powerful than a bland website that solely focuses on a writer's books and how to purchase them.
The photo gallery is another dimension I have not witnessed on many other sites. He again gives vision to his whole life with photos included from areas entitled, Childhood, Transition, The crazy years, 2000/2001, 2002, and Today. You see, this website isn't just a shop front or a facade for a business. It gives the individual an opportunity to share his identity with the whole world, a courageous act only taken by people who aren't afraid to put themselves on the line, sharing their spirits with all of humanity. This is the key to why the website is so powerful, one needs to take risks to achieve success in life.
I could write extensively on the other categories of the site but I think you could just go and check them out yourself. Me telling you what is a good website isn't going to teach you much, you've got to experience things for yourself to truly gain the knowledge you are looking for. Maybe you'll be so inspired, one day it'll be your website I'm writing about!
About the Author
By Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer is a novice in the computer world hoping to inform others like him that the Internet is nothing to fear.