If you are a writer and want to take yourself seriously, having your own website is one of the best things you can do. Writers are always getting asked “Can you send me a link to your website?”, so if the answer is “no”, unfortunately there could be another writer not too far away waiting to take your role.
Why do I need a website?
No matter how smart you look, clients will always take you a lot more seriously when they see you have your own website. You’ll be able to create a clearer picture of yourself and your services by showing people rather than telling them. Plus, you’ll be able to add examples of your work so clients can see with their own eyes what you’ve been up to, rather than you having to reel all your jobs off for them.
Your clients are hunting for information about you and your work, they don’t have time to read every bit of detail, so you need to make sure they get to the facts super-fast. You’re a writer, so they’ll be expecting big things!
Where do you start?
I've had a lot of writers ask me how to start their website. My best recommendation is to purchase a domain name (see below), get a Hostgator account for the hosting and start a WordPress blog on it using the free Customizr theme. This is what I use and it works great. There are a lot of ways to customize your site so it looks different than everyone else's.
Some people recommend setting up a free site with Wix and others. I advise against it because the designs are limiting. You have full control over a paid WordPress site and most businesses prefer this platform for their site.
10 Top Tips for Creating a ‘Real’ Writer’s Website
1. It’s all in the name.
Giving your business a name will add a sense of professionalism. Once you have decided, think about creating a domain name, for example myword.com. This is a great way for people to start taking you seriously and will move you on from being a writer, to a professional that means business.
2. Stand out from the crowd.
With more and more writers coming on to the scene, you’ll want clients to be knocking on your door, first. Take a look at this site for lots of useful ways to help you boost your business online. They could help you elevate your ranking in as little as three weeks!
3. Facts first.
The main thing that people want to know is what is it that do and what is it that you can do for them. Then, if they’re interested, they’ll be keen to carry on.
4. Make them read not scan.
According to research, only 16% of people read web pages word-for-word, so make sure your most important information stands out. Use big, bold headlines to ensure nothing gets missed.
5. Show your passion for words.
It may sound obvious, but choose carefully the words you use to describe you and your business. You want potential clients to see your enthusiasm and love of writing shining through, so make sure everything you say has a confident feel to it.
6. It’s all about you.
People reading your website obviously know you’re a writer, as that’s why they’re there. But what other little nuggets of information can you give them about yourself? Have you worked in marketing, so you also know how to market yourself? Have you studied language, so you can offer some wonderful words in French or in Spanish as well? Maybe a brief mention about how you got in to writing - anything that can help the client get closer to you will always add another dimension to your website.
7. Added extras.
Obviously you can write, but what can you write? Don’t just assume everyone knows everything about you. Whether you’re a Social Media Saviour or you’re the Mother of Marketing, every extra detail about what you can do is going to add another string to your bow.
8. Beautiful design.
So, you’ve written your website and you’re good to go. Now all you have to do is decide what it’s going to look like. Go for a clean and simple design - anything cluttered is just going to clog up potential clients’ brains. Keep it simple with a lot of white space and let your ability do the talking. If you need a hand creating your site, there are some top website builders to help you every click of the way.
9. The proof is in the pudding.
Don’t just tell them, show them. It’s great to talk about all the things you’ve done and how you’ve created some award-winning work, but no one will believe you more than the person that’s seen it with their own eyes. Examples of great work are an essential part of selling yourself in. If you have a blog, let the world see it. Long copy, short copy, online, offline - be loud and proud about the work that you have done and your vibe will attract your tribe.
10. Call me!
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when designing their website is not to have their contact details up front. Everyone’s busy and having to scroll through your web pages to find a contact number or email is enough to make anyone switch off. You could also create a contact form on a relevant page of your website to encourage people to get in touch.
Keep it simple
To keep things simple, your website should have the following:
- Homepage: Invite people to take a look at what you have to offer.
- About page: Let people know what you’re about and why they should connect with you.
- Services page: Your full list of talents and experience.
- Clips page: The blogs you’ve done, testimonials, case studies and anything else that sells you.
- Contact Me page: The more ways you let people get in contact with you, the more chance they will get in touch. Leave your contact number, email and Linkedin details.
Search Engine Optimization is important for any website. It's how the search engines like Google bring your site to people. I've written up a free guide to help you with the basics of SEO.
As soon as your website is live, don’t be surprised if the phone starts to ring. More importantly, don’t be afraid of having too much attention. Take a look at my advice about being in high demand. It can be quite overwhelming knowing that all the hard work you have put in has finally paid off, so you want to use this to your advantage, rather than shy away from it.
At the end of the day, you’re a writer, so who better to sell themselves in than you?