Website Story

We started this training on the Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website by comparing your website to a house. Let’s take a minute and go back to that analogy.

Picture yourself walking down a sunlit street, looking up a slight hill at a beautiful home. The front yard has several large, mature trees. There’s a magnificent flower bed to the left of the home, and there are flowering plants and vibrant shrubbery lining the walkway to the front door.

The view from the street is creating a story in your mind about the house and the people living inside it.

Your website does the same thing.

What story do you want your site to tell visitors about you and your books?

I’m not going to get into branding, type fonts and color selection in this post. What we are going to get into is being clear on what you want your site visitors to think about you and your books when they visit your site.

Do you write cozy mysteries featuring a pastry chef? Is that obvious to site visitors without going to your book page?

Maybe you write historical romance that takes place in Ireland. Better yet, maybe you write multiple series, but they all feature glamorous locations around the world.

Can you begin to picture the different ways these websites might present themselves to readers?

As authors, we want our sites to attract readers who enjoy reading the type of books we write, right?

In a world where 55% of website visitors click away in less than 15 seconds, you want to let them know immediately if your books are a good fit for their reading preferences.


A great tagline combined with the right images can tell a story in less than a few seconds.

Here are a few of my favorite taglines, ranging from the clever to the short and simple that I’ve seen over the past few months:

Author Liz Magavuro (The Pawsitively Organic Mysteries)

Healthy, Animal Friendly . . . and a Little Deadly

Elizabeth Edmondson writes historical fiction, but her two-word tagline refers to her work as:

Vintage Fiction

Barbara Freethy is more to the point with hers, but it quickly tells site visitors what she writes:

Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Suspense

JF Penn is equally short and accurate with hers, which simply says:

Thriller Author

In each of these examples, it’s easy for readers to know what the author writes within seconds of arriving on the website.

So what does your website tell visitors about you and your books? Can a potential reader figure out what you write within 15 seconds? If not, they may be gone.

This post concludes the Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website series. If you missed any of the lessons, you can find them here:

Lesson 1:  Why you Should Have a Separate Webpage for Each of Your Books.

Lesson 2: The Four Most Important Elements for your About Page

Lesson 3:  Making the Most of your Contact Page

Lesson 4: Using your Website to Build Your Email List

Lesson 5:  The importance of fresh content on your site

Lesson 6:  Telling the story of you and your books (this post)

If you’d like to download the entire series as an e-book, that will be available soon. You can signup to receive a free copy the minute it becomes available by clicking the button below.

Yes, I want the ebook!

Creative Commons image by Hans