I received a very interesting e-mail the other day. It came from an extremely talented writer who wrote something that went like this:
“On the advice of a “career coach,” effective immediately, I am closing my website. At this point in my writing career, it's money better spent elsewhere.”
I was stunned. How can a legitimate “career coach” advocate closing a website – especially when a website is a powerful weapon in every writer’s arsenal.
As I pondered what she’d written, I could think of the top reasons why EVERY writer needs a website. Here they are:
1. Your website builds credibility.
Having a website presence places you as an expert in your field. A writer who takes the time to write and maintain a website is a writer who takes their career seriously. Not only that, having a web address on your business cards looks impressive....
2. Your website is a wonderful place to house your clips.
Every query you send out can provide your URL along with links to your clips. Face it... a website is like an interactive billboard advertising your writing services. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, plus it provides more information about you and your writing than any query could possibly hold.
3. Owning a website makes applying for writing jobs a breeze.
Keep an updated resume on your site. When you query online publications, place the resume URL in your query. Also include your home page. Then your site will do most of the work for you.
4. Keeping a separate page on your website for various resumes gives your assignment searches flexibility.
Create one URL for your resume that focuses on your article writing abilities. Create another one for your fiction pursuits. Maybe you want one web page solely for your copywriting achievements. Each page can hold links for corresponding clips. Creating multiple resume pages focuses your querying efforts like a laser.
5. Owning a website is inexpensive.
You can easily find a reliable hosting company for as little as five bucks a month. Plus, the cost of owning it gets lower when you consider that the cost is tax deductible (if you use it solely for business purposes).
6. You can sell writing projects on your web page.
Once you have a nice flow of traffic visiting your site, you can diversify your income by writing booklets, articles, reports, books... and selling them. You can even sell e-books and forgo effort of packaging items, or running to the post office.
7. Maintaining a website creates a hub where clients, other writers, and potential customers can congregate and “meet” you.
When you have a website, I’m sure you’ll create an e-mail link on every page so visitors can contact you. Answer every e-mail you receive. You’ll make invaluable contacts, you’ll network with other writers, but most of all... you’ll make friends.
Writing can be a lonely profession. But not so when you have your own “cheerleading section.”
8. A website may make you newsworthy.
And when your name is in front of your potential customers on a regular basis, you’re more apt to obtain their writing assignments. What’s newsworthy? The answer to that question is only limited by your imagination. Make your site the best source of information your clients need and you’ll find yourself newsworthy.
9. If you want to write books, using your website to create a message board, “e-mail list” or e-mag may make finding a publisher easier.
Showing a potential publisher that you’ve taken the time to create an audience for your subject, showing them that you’ve got a few thousand potential readers waiting for your messages on a regular basis just may tip the scales in your favor when it comes to considering your proposal.
10. Owning a website and attracting traffic towards it is a big step in acquiring a readership.
Fiction writers will find attracting a readership invaluable. Post chapter samples of your newest project online. Request feedback. REALLY get to know your audience. You’ll be surprised how your perception of who will read your work differs from reality.
When you know your audience, inside and out, you can tailor what you write to fit their needs. Then everyone’s the winner. The reader receives something they need. You’ll sell you’re writing.
11. You can anticipate the questions potential customers will ask and provide answers on a FAQ page.
You’ll save a ton of time if you don’t have to repeat the answer to the same questions over and over.
12. You can stay in contact with your readers.
Have an area where readers/clients/visitors can sign up for updates, news, etc. Then keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
13. You may acquire international clients.
I live in Minnesota. I’ve written articles for people in Europe. Folks from Africa have purchased my books. I work with copywriting clients nation-wide. I never would have met these people without my website.
14. You can convey the image you want to project on your website.
Want to look like a small company? Fine. Create a page that makes you look warm, cozy, and local. If you want to compete with the “big guys” make your page slick, professional, and concise. It’s completely up to you.
As you can see, these are some very compelling reasons to own a website. Besides, your competition probably already has a website and is landing e-assignments. If you want to compete effectively, set up your own website also.
Creating and maintaining a website is a powerful way to reach many people, potential clients who are increasingly online for just a little investment. Your competition already knows this. You should too.
So, research and study your competitors and strive to continually improve and write better than they do. But most of all, squeeze everything you can out of every dime you put into your promotion efforts. Also, creating professional relationships with other writers and industry stakeholders is key to success as a writer in this digital age.
Ultimately, a website enables you to create a very nice impression with every one of your readers and partners. While writing is a solitary profession, the interaction with people I’ve met through my website has become an unexpected delight as I make my way through this crazy profession.