≡ Menu

4 Web Pages Writers Must Have On Their Professional Websites

writers must have“You mean there are only 4 pages a writer must have on their website?”

I was talking with a freelance writer friend last week who said she was having trouble figuring out what content or pages she needed for her professional website.

As I listened to her I realized it wasn’t simply confusion over what she needed to post on her site that was getting her; she was in overwhelm at the whole idea of  putting up a website.

I know she’s not alone. I get a fair amount of email from writers pleading for help getting a website up. I also get email from those who paid a bunch to get a site up and now are stuck, not knowing how to fix it themselves – which is why I recommend WordPress, but that’s a whole other story.

And sure, what you put on the site, the content, is important, but for writers isn’t as likely to be overwhelming as the actual technology. Fortunately the technology of a website has gotten much simpler.

We aren’t born knowing how to build websites

First, let me say that none of us were born knowing how to build websites.

If you’re as old as I am, the web didn’t exist for much of your adult life; if you’re younger as this woman is, you may be comfortable getting around the ‘net, working with social media and using various software packages, but have no idea how to build a website.

Not only that, you’re scared to hire someone because of your lack of knowledge.

My point is it’s totally okay not to know how to do it.

Here’s what I suggested

Take a deep breath, maybe two.

Write down what you want your site to accomplish. Chances are it will be something like “I want potential customers to be able to find me on the web.”

Now imagine a potential editor or client coming to your site. What would they want to know?

  • They’d want to know about you as a writer because they’re thinking about hiring you or someone like you.
  • They’d want some background – some hint about how you came to writing.
  • They’d want , to see some credits if you have them. If you don’t, write some samples, which they will also want to see.
  • The want to see at least a couple of samples so they can judge if your style seems to fit with what they have in mind.
  • Finally, they want to be able to contact you as easily and efficiently as possible.

All that can be done in four or five ‘pages’ on a website. Background, credits, links to samples and contact information – that’s four pages.

The home or front page should probably give an overview of the kind of writing you want to do. At AnneWayman.com I’m focusing on ghostwriting books. Cathy Miller opens with her philosophy and experience at SimplyStatedBusinessAt LoriWidmer.com Lori gently admonishes potential customers to want more from their written communications, then shows how she can provide that. Sharon Hurley Hall gives her philosophy and shows what kinds of writing she specializes in for clients.

The About page is where you can tell your story – both how you came to write and some of the personal stuff you’re willing to share, like hobbies, marital status, etc. And it’s helpful to tell the story about how you came to love writing or the fact that you go surfing or that you love cats – a personal touch helps the person reading your site recognize you as a real person.

Your credit list, resume, or links to samples – this page is your demonstration that you can write by showing either who you’ve written for or links to samples you’ve put together for this purpose.

Your contact page – here goes your name, address, email and phone number. Okay, some don’t put their phone number on the web, although I’m not sure why. I have potential clients call me. I also have potential clients email me.  You can probably leave your address off too, although I don’t. At a minimum you need an email address that you monitor daily.

There you have, it. Four pages, home, about, credit list and contact, are all you really must have for your website to begin attracting clients for you. Okay, if you’re putting up samples you’ll have more than four pages – which is fine.

You won’t immediately have clients beating down your door, but you will find, over time, your site more than pays for itself.

You might find 6 Steps To Creating A Blog or Website helpful.

You might also enjoy 9 Tips for Starting a Profitable and Sustainable Freelance Writing Business.

Image created at wordle.net

Sharing this post with your network really helps get the word out about this article and site – Thanks!

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Rachel McCarthy

    I always get stumped when it comes to examples of my work.
    For example, I write for a trade magazine that is both print and digital, but is specifically accessible to industry pros only.
    On the other hand, I also have work in a digital magazine aimed at consumer (for general public; those who work in the industry get a physical copy of the magazine.) How do I get those pieces on my own blog/website?

    • Rachel, in the case of the trade magazine, ask the editor if you can link… often they will let you. If you get a no answer then just name the magazine and the title of the article. Most people will take your word for it.

  • My site is still unfinished. I love the layout but it’s not knowing how to fill up that space that’s driving me nuts. On my old layout I had samples but they were “older” so now I’m considering removing them and just listing credits and/or the kinds of writing I do. This is where I’m stumped. (And yes, that link goes to my “WIP” site.)

    • No reason older samples can’t go up… unless they sound dated. I like a combo of samples and credits when possible.

  • Susan Talbot

    I’m one of those who prefers simpler, cleaner websites, especially when they involve information gathering or just reading. Of course, those elaborate, graphics-loaded, multicolored sites are fun to look at but I find them annoying to navigate. They are also problematic for those with slower Internet connections or who may be using a smartphone or pad, especially older viewers or those with visual problems.

  • Although I do more than just writing, on my social media/writing site I do have an examples page where I show 4 articles with different styles and different topics. I felt it was important to show diversity.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..3 Reasons Why You Should And Shouldn’t Write Your Own ContentMy Profile

  • My first website had the ‘usual’ pages such as an About page, Writing Portfolio page, Blog and Contact page. Since I’ve learned more HTML, I use plugins and widgets and ‘tweak’ my website template to my liking. I’d like to learn more about web design so I can really customize my website. But my current template works for me. Clients like the clean lines and easy navigation. And it’s fun too!
    Amandah recently posted..Sink Your Teeth into Better Content Writing with the Vampires from True BloodMy Profile

  • Great post, Anne. I took my “samples” page down from my website and have just sent relevant examples to prospective clients by request, but you have me rethinking that strategy.
    Kimberly recently posted..How Will They Know that You’re Good Enough?My Profile

    • Kimberly, I suspect samples on a site do a whole bunch of good… people love to browse.

  • Thanks Anne, I’ve just set up a site and needed direction on what to add. I’m looking forward to getting it up and running. Thanks for the excellent tips!

  • Great tips, Anne. My first writer website had something like 6 pages: home, about, services, testimonials, samples and contact. Even though the design was distinctly underwhelming, I still got work through the site. Thanks for the shout-out, too. 🙂
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Why No-Paying Writing Work Is Better Than Low-Paying WorkMy Profile

    • Remember when we used to hand code html? And updating a site was awful? What a difference a decade or so makes!

  • Thanks for the link love, Anne. I have plans for updating my site, but the most common feedback I receive from prospects is they like the simple layout and my philosophy about business writing.

    So, you’re right (of course :-)), Anne. The website doesn’t have to have a lot of bells and whistles. In fact, my prospects and clients prefer the opposite. So, be yourself and Keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours. 😉 LOL! 😀
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Insight for Newbies Hiring a Business WriterMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »