The Business of Being a Writer by Jane FriedmanBy Jane Friedman, Publishing Consultant, author of The Business of Being a Writer

Whether you’re an emerging author or one that is well-established, it can be challenging to figure out what belongs on your website’s homepage and what to say about yourself on the front door to your online presence.

Knowing how to craft your homepage starts with knowledge of two things:

  • clarity about your readership or audience—or who you’re addressing
  • a focused and clear message you want to get across to that audience

If you don’t know your readership that well or your message is fuzzy, that will likely be reflected on your homepage. Since visitors to your site may not linger for more than 7 seconds at your site, it’s important to focus on what visitors should remember about you (or your work) after they leave. This requires careful consideration of your homepage copy and accompanying visuals; together, they should convey the most important aspects of your work (or your “brand”, if you want to think of it that way—but you don’t have to).

Here are the key elements of any author homepage that need to distill your message and appeal to your readership.

  1. Clear identity
  2. Your latest book or books
  3. Links to social media sites where you’re active
  4. Email newsletter sign-up

Note what I haven’t recommended so far: a welcome message

For novelists, usually welcome messages on the homepage take up space and don’t say anything meaningful. However, such messages tend to be popular when you’re an online entrepreneur and need to state upfront what you offer a potential client or customer.


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Thank you to Jane Friedman for permission to republish this article excerpt. Related: “3 Reasons Why a Facebook Page Can’t Replace an Author Website.” Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.”