All freelance writers should have their own web site or blog!
That’s a pretty strong statement; here’s why it’s true:
The people who will pay you for your writing are searching the web for writers.
There are exceptions, of course, but more and more editors, publishers, and people who need copywriting, speech writing, ghostwriting, ebook writing, and other kinds of both business and personal writing are looking for writers on the web. Here are four examples from my own experience.
- A man who wanted an allegory written found my website, called me and we got it done. I was well paid.
- The personal assistant of a women who is CEO of a large corporation contacted me to write her bosses book. I’m well paid for that one twotoo.
- An alternative health practitioner who speaks literally around the world has contracted with me to write his book with an eye toward both selling it to a trade publisher and selling it from the back of the room of his talks. One of these people is within easy driving distance, the one is half-way across the country from me, and the third is literally on the other coast. I would never have met them if it hadn’t been for my website.
- I also coach writers and all but one of my coaching clients has come to me via the web and lives far away from me.
You simply can’t afford not to take advantage of marketing yourself via the web. Fortunately, it’s easy and cheap to do these days. Here are the basic steps:
Your writing website or blog needs a host
A web host is where your web site is stored so can be found on the ‘net. I use BlueHost.com; they have a one click WordPress install that makes it sooooo easy. And there are tons of companies out there that provide similar service. Chances are you already have some web space with your Internet Service Provider; many of them, however, won’t let you use your own domain name without an extra fee, so do some checking.
1and1 and some others offer simple website builders along with their packages which may be a good way for you to go, at least at first.
Get your own domain name
Buying your own domain name costs $10 or less a year these days, and it’s worth every penny. You can use your own name, like I do (AnneWayman.com), and if it’s available. Or pick a phrase that’s related to the kind of writing you do and is easy to remember. I search for domain names at godaddy.com, but I buy them through BlueHost.com to keep everything in one place.
Keep your website or blog simple
Your site doesn’t have to be complex to do a good job showing off your talents. In fact, keep it simple. A home page, and a page or two of writing samples will do nicely. Those samples, by the way, can often be used instead of snail-mailing clips – just point the editor to your web site and you’re done.
And don’t forget to include contact information on your site!
Why a Blog Is A Better Bet
If I were starting from scratch today, I’d make even my most static and unchanging website a blog. I’d use WordPress, which is free and although it takes me more than the promised 5 minutes to install, it’s relatively easy to do even if you have minimal technical skills. If I were hiring a web designer I’d insist they use WordPress. Why a blog? Because you can update your site almost on the the fly. Once your WordPress blog is installed, you simply log into it’s dashboard and you can add a page or edit a page without having to wait for your original designer to do it.
Promote Yourself and Your Writing
Once your site is up, make sure your web address shows up on all your email, business cards, letterhead and anyplace else you can think of.
You’ll also need to submit your site to search engines-I use selfpromotion.com for this. It’s a bit arcane, but worth it. You can pay as little as $10 a year for the service and it will resubmit your site quarterly.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu