No matter what kind of writing you do, a website designed to market you and your writing talent is essential. Having an online presence makes it possible for potential clients – editors, agents, publishers, corporations, non-profits, and others you may not have even thought of – to find you. Once there, they can also move ahead to assess your fit for their needs. Being able to take that step – researching your experience and skills – now, rather than later, significantly improves the odds of your being considered for some work. A functional website is a key part of that income-generating process.
But all websites are not created equal. To emulate writers making a solid six-figure living, be sure your website has the following.
Clean design. I could go into a huge discussion about branding here, but I won’t. The key is that you need to come up with a “look” for your marketing materials that ties everything together nicely. These elements could include a color scheme, a logo, and a particular font. But there should be plenty of space on your website that does not include writing or graphic elements. It’s just easier on the eyes and looks more upscale.
Easy-to-follow information. When editors or publishers visit your website it’s because they want to learn more about you. Don’t make it more difficult to track down information about your background and the types of writing you do. Use a navigation bar and clearly marked tabs to lead visitors where you want them to go.
Photo of you. One thing you’ll notice about many highly-paid writers is that they aren’t afraid to post a photo of themselves front-and-center. They want editors to get to know them, and part of that process includes seeing what they look like. If you don’t have a photo of yourself you like, have a nice, professional one taken.
Examples of a wide range of your work. You may write frequently on a particular topic, whether it’s pregnancy, or mergers and acquisitions, or technology, and it’s great to demonstrate to editors that you have this background. But if there are other topics you also write about, or want to write more about, you should also feature them to catch an editor’s eye. Showing the breadth of your work may help expand the number of opportunities you are presented.
Contact information. After reading through your site, visitors should be impressed and eager to hire you. So make it extremely easy for them to get in touch. List your phone number and have a link to your email, so clients can make contact right away.
Conversely, avoid the following, lest your credibility be damaged.
Unprofessional photos. You want a nice photo of yourself, but you in your bikini or Speedo holding a drink on a Caribbean beach is not a good image for you. Nor is a photo that is so dark that you can’t be seen, or one that is low resolution or jagged.
Ads. Yes, your website exists to bring in business for you, but keep the focus on you and not a slew of other products your web visitors might also be interested in. Steer clear of banner ads and Google AdSense for this, your “brochure,” site listing all your qualifications.
Take another look at your current website, or start plans for your first one, to make sure it reflects the successful writer you aspire to be. For inspiration, look at the sites of other well-known writers.
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