“What makes for a good author Web site?” prospective clients often ask me.
There are the obvious elements: A good author website should be like a grand hotel room. The location of every amenity and necessity should be obvious and easy to find. It should be engaging for book buyers and media friendly–a one-stop go-to spot that can give reporters and producers all the information they need. Elegant design and a little razzle dazzle never hurts either.
But what about the soul of a good author Web site? That’s what really differentiates sites once you get beyond the basics. And that’s a much more difficult quality to articulate.
For insight into the matter, I turned to a gym buddy of mine, Pharame, who’s known throughout the health club I frequent as an expert on the human soul. He’s also a testimony to the fortune of good genes and the wisdom of a good workout routine – at 64, he sports a body that most 24-year-olds would die for.
Since Pharame’s not a Web guy, I asked him a general question that I knew would be within his bailiwick: “Why are we here?”
He laughed, slapped me on the back in a friendly gesture that nonetheless knocked the wind out of me, then boomed, “Stevie! You are born naked and you die naked. In between, it’s YOUR story. So tell it WELL.”
No one ever nailed it better.
A good author Web site IS your story.
And telling it WELL is about using technology, words, and images to have a conversation with your site visitors. It’s about voice–talking “to,” rather than “at,” your audience, just as you would in a good radio interview. It’s about intimacy–revealing what motivates you and what makes you tick as a writer. It’s about credibility–conveying your authority while keeping your ego in check. And it’s about humility–respecting your viewers’ time and being grateful for the fact that there are hundreds of millions of Web sites they could be visiting, but they’ve chosen to point their browser to yours.
Pharame knows what he’s talking about: It’s YOUR story. Tell it well