The most important thing writers can do these days to up their ante is to have a web presence. Readers three time zones away need to be able to find you, and find you easily.
Keeping this in mind as I started my business, I was eager to get quotes from web designers. In the budding stage, I didn’t have a lot of startup capital, and the quotes I received from the designers were a little pricy (to the tune of four figures). I didn’t feel comfortable spending that much outright, and I was looking for an excuse to set up shop on my own, so that’s exactly what I did. I found a reasonable hosting service that included a free domain name, bought a WordPress publishing platform (called Thesis, and it comes highly recommended) and I was all set.
SEO is Important
Second, Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is very important. SEO is the degree to which your code and content are organized and optimized for both search engines and people. Once your site is up and running, SEO will help you get to the top of the browser search.
Next, check out websites of authors you admire – what about the site do you like? For me, it was the punchy pink of Rosemary Daniell’s site (author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (And Sisterhood) can Change Women’s Lives). I wanted something that set me apart. My business cards are green, so I decided to continue the color scheme and use an assortment of green shades. After all, green symbolizes growth and rebirth. As an assistant tailored to creatives, I wanted a little personality to shine through. (Isn’t that what my clients are paying me for?) Of course, if you prefer a clean site layout, that’s ok too. Just make sure you have something that sets you apart, or people won’t come back.
Content is Key–and King
Now, to the nitty-gritty – content. Your site should have at least a bio, writing samples, and contact information. Another page to consider is a blog. A blog is a great way to promote yourself, network, and get noticed. If you choose to do so, the payoff is pretty fantastic. You’ll show up higher in search engines (the SEO I mentioned earlier), receive comments from people you didn’t even know were looking at your site, and have the opportunity to impress people with your latest thoughts. Lastly, add a links or resource page. That way, you can swap links with other writers you admire, which will once again lead to greater traffic and a higher Google search rank.
Want to bolster your web presence even more? Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networking sites to your advantage to put your name out. Sure, face-to-face meetings are beneficial too, but in this web-dependent day and age, your self-marketing is adequate at best without a website, which leads to an entirely different problem – the importance of not being earnest enough.
Want to see the original article? Go to the Georgia Writer’s Association website here.