Why Freelance Writers Need a Website?
The other day a writer I frequently work with asked me if she needs a website to grow her profile as a freelancer. She started writing a year back and has only a few clips to showcase her work. Even so, I replied without any hesitation, yes, you do. The fact of the matter is that every writer, beginner or experienced, needs to have some online presence and a website is the best option.
I haven’t come across a serious writer who doesn’t have his/her own website. The sooner you have an online presence, the better it is. Locking your name as the URL address before your namesake grabs it is the first reason I can think of, but there are several other reasons why you need to have a website:
Whether you are just starting over or in the process of finishing your novel, prospective clients, publishers need to find out more about you. More often than not, a query letter or a letter of introduction might lead to the editor to look for your website to find our more before deciding to give you the go-ahead for the project. It just makes you look like a serious contender. searching you on social media platforms
Showcase your writing
A blog on your website is a perfect place for you to showcase your writing capability, especially if you are just getting started and don’t have many clips to show. You could be writing about anything, your recent vacation to the book review of the latest book you finished reading, the point is that it becomes a home for your writing and will play a crucial role in helping you stand out from the other writers. Of course, it is also an opportunity to showcase your knowledge about your niche, if you are planning to focus on one particular area.
Build an email list
A website helps you to build an email list that you can use to interact with your readers directly. You can send a newsletter and build a following and even come up with an online course. This is also important if you have a plan on being a published author sometime in the future. Your email list can play a crucial role in the marketing of that. Even if you plan to grow your business, the chances are that it will require some online presence.
Imagine the editor of your dream publication, or a client may find you if you have some online presence. Not too long back, the marketing director of a major telco got in touch with me. And guess how he found me. Through LinkedIn. After going through my profile, he wanted to see my work samples, and instead of sending me a note, he just went to my website and, after going through my work, sent me a note right away. It led to a $1000 retainer for more than a year. Let me be honest here. This is not a regular occurrence, but it does happen.
If you get Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website, it helps in increasing your ranking on Google search engine that can potentially help you get new clients. Supposing you are one of the few travel writers in Indonesia and somebody is looking for one and searches travel writer + Indonesia and bingo, your name crops up, and if all the other boxes check out, you might get the assignment.
Build Your Personal Brand
A website is the first step in building your personal brand, which you are sure to need at some point in your life. You can have a podcast or a YouTube channel, and you will need your own website to promote it.
You are just taken more seriously once you have your own website. There is no doubt about this. A potential client or the editor needs to trust you, and your online presence shows that you take your work and your profile as a writer very seriously. Your website is the first step in establishing credibility. Your portfolio and the testimonials, if any, will do the rest.
Static or Dynamic
Once you have decided to go for a website, it is time to decide whether to go for a static website or a dynamic one. The primary difference between the two is that the static one is not regularly updated, and it doesn’t have a blog. For instance, my firm’s website, Deepworkz Media Services, is a static one while this one, www.gagandeepk.com, is dynamic and, as you can see, has a blog that is updated frequently.
A static webpage serves the essential purpose of having some presence on the internet, but a dynamic website takes it a step further and offers many more functionalities, including changing the content, having a blog, and so on. Possibly you can start with a static website and then graduate to a dynamic one once you are sure about what kind of presence you want to have on the internet.
Before you ask me about finances, let me say that it is not at all expensive to have your site. You can use WordPress or Blogspot to create a basic website. These platforms are very user-friendly, and you will be able to set it up in no time. I was using a WordPress free theme before I decided to go for a dynamic one about a year back.
Here are a few tips to help you set up a website:
- Try to get your name as a domain name. I tried to Gagandeep Kaur, but it was not available. It makes it easy for anybody trying to search you through a search engine.
- Initially, try to go for the minimum number of pages. Some believe that the more the number of pages, the better the impact, but I feel that it just adds to the clutter.
- The website should be clean and organized. It should make it easy for the editor or the client to access your portfolio or work samples.
- Go through the websites of the writers you admire to see how they do it. Don’t copy, but it should give you a fair idea of what to include and what to leave out.
- Try to maintain the same tone throughout the website.
- Don’t forget to include an email sign up or a subscriber page. That way, you can send regular updates, among other things.
Don’t think too much. Make your writer’s website a priority to grow your profile and client base.
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