Many writers underestimate the power of a website with their own name on it. Having a personal website is like having a business card in the world of online writing.
Nothing else can provide information about you to clients seeking your services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of having an online writers portfolio is usually under fifteen dollars a month and well worth the investment. One writing job a month could easily pay for this type of advertising.
If you are unsure how to start your own website check with your Internet provider first. Most ISPs provide their subscribers with a certain amount of free web space and a unique website address. The tools that you need to create your website are usually provided free of charge as well. Be prepared to spend at least an hour or more creating your introductory web page and a half hour for each additional page, depending on your level of expertise. Luckily, most software that you will need to create your site is very user friendly and anyone should be able to create a professional looking site.
What should you have on your website? There are a few things that are a must on your website which include your resume, writing sample, and the type of work that you do. The best place to display the type of work that you do is on the header or top of the web page. An example of this would read: John Doe – Writer, Researcher and Editor. This clearly identifies what types of work you do as well as providing search engines with enough pertinent information to list you in searches. The second thing you will want to have on your site is your resume. Create your resume on a blank page using a color and font that is easy to look at. Many writers use either a white or cream colored page that can easily be downloaded or printed out on a client’s computer. The same goes for writing samples that you may have. Writers may opt to show only parts of articles on their website in order to protect the content. In this day and age of technology it is not unusual to have your online work plagiarized. Provide links to your online articles if you don’t want to show lengthy samples of your work.
Think carefully about how your website will look. Writers will want to have their website look professional and not tacky. A few things to avoid when creating your website are counters, non-relevant advertising and graphics that require the reader to download plug-ins. It is frustrating for a potential client to have to download plug-ins or be blinded by blinking text. The client may go in search of another writer that has a more user friendly website.
Other items that you should include in the creating of your writer’s website are a fax number, phone number and email address. A potential client will want to know how to contact you for your services. If you don’t already have a fax number either get an Internet fax number which is offered free by many online phone businesses or spend the extra cash to put in a second phone line at your home. Listing your phone number can be tricky, especially if you run your business from your home. Your website could get the attention of international clients and they may contact you at all hours of the day or night. A professional email address is a must, don’t use a Yahoo or Hotmail address on your writer’s website. Use your full name or your business name for the address and forgo using any nicknames. Remember, you want your website to be professional and convey the message that you are a serious writer.
Writers that have a nice personal photo may opt to have this on their resume page. Clients sometimes are curious about the people that are working for them and having a normal looking personal photo may make a client feel more comfortable with hiring you. Writers that are also photographers may want to have some of their photos as samples on their website. Show your photos on a separate page from your resume and watermark them to protect your work.
Once you have completed your website check it in your own browser to make sure that it looks the way you want it to. Check your text to make sure there are no grammatical errors. Make any changes to your website prior to uploading or submitting it for publication. As your client list and business grows be sure to update your website to reflect any new writing samples, photos or information about you such as your fax, email address and phone number. A writer’s website is one of the best ways to advertise your services and the small amount of effort it takes to create one is well worth the investment.
Charlotte Gerber is a writer, researcher, photographer and is a familiar voice on ipods with her voice over talents. She writes on a variety of topics including parenting, self-help and travel. Her photographs have appeared in many ezines and regional travel magazines. Charlotte has a B.S. in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire State College. Charlotte Gerber may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org