Create a Writer Website
If you create a writer website, they will come… or so they say. If you're a writer and want people to find you, part one is creating a website that will draw visitors and potential clients. Part two is publicizing your website- but that will be a separate hub!
Creating a writer website is as simple as collecting all of the information about yourself and your writing and putting it on a webpage. Luckily, you don't have to be a computer programming genius to create a webpage. Many hosting sites provide simple to use cut-and-paste modules that allow anyone (at least those who know how to type) the ability to create a home page for their website, usually in less than an hour. Of course you may wish to have more than one page, which of course, will take a little more time. More pages will allow you to separate your resume, links to your work, your rates, and other information you may want to share with potential clients.
Hint: If you can create a hub, you should be able to also use a cut-and-paste template on a hosting site, since the two are very similar!
Create a Writer Website
The first thing you will need to do is to find a hosting site for your website. You can either do a web search for "free websites" or look to other well-known hosting sites. Personally, I use Homestead.com because their templates are the cut-and-paste variety I spoke of. Using Homestead isn't free, but their monthly rates are below $10 per month for a single website. If you want to add more items to your website, such as a storefront for selling e-books, you can add it later on for an additional fee. You can also sell a few items on your website (without paying for a storefront) by using their PayPal buttons for free. (Disclaimer: I don't work for Homestead!).
Things to Look for in a Hosting Site
- Easy to Use Templates - you can usually take a "test drive" of the site before you join/sign up and see if they offer a template you like.
- Option to upgrade your website in the future
- Option for storefront or shopping cart, should you have books or e-books to sell
- Online chat or customer service available to help you with your website if you should have a problem
- Ability to add HTML to your website. You may want this in the future as it allows you to add sponsors or advertisers to your website, which can generate income. For example, I also sell photos, so I have HTML code that directs them to my stock photo portfolio on my website, and gives potential clients a preview of my work.
- Budget-friendly hosting - most writers aren't wealthy, so look for hosting sites that offer the most bang for your buck if you choose the paid hosting route. There are many reputable hosting sites that charge less than $15 per month for a website that has more than adequate bandwidth for creating a writer website.
Choosing What to Share
Once you've decided on a host, and they have the templates that you want to use, it is time to start putting the items on your website. Some items you want to consider having on your website include:
- Recent accomplishments or awards
- Writer rates (i.e. cost per page or per word, rate for ad
copy or rate for writing PR faxes). This usually looks best when you create a separate page for rates, instead of including it on your front/home page.
- Links to work online
- Examples of your work (not entire articles, just a few paragraphs- followed by a link if they're available in their entirety online)
- Your photo – if you don't already have a professional photo, now would be a good time to get one. You can get one done inexpensively at Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, or other similar photography studio.
Tips to Get You Started
Here are a few things that will help you get started creating your webpage:
- Put your name at the top of your pages, followed by your specialty as a tag line beneath (i.e. writer, author, researcher, editor, etc.)
- Add links to your work (less than 10 links on your front/home page keeps it neat). If you have a lot of work to share in various genres, consider creating a separate page for all of those links.
- Adding your photo and short bio on the homepage gives a potential client a quick synopsis of who you are.
- Use a light-colored template whenever possible. Unless you're a mystery or horror writer, darker pages are kind of depressing for potential clients and may turn them off.
- Keep clutter to a minimum. Don't put a lot of advertising on your homepage, as it detracts from what you're really trying to sell - YOU! One or two ads at the very bottom, if they are small, is okay (i.e. offering PayPal as a way for clients to pay you is a good example).
- When you're creating your website, try to think like a potential client would. If you were hiring a writer, what would you like to know about them before you contact them?
- Don't forget to include your contact information! You should always include an email address on your home page (create a professional one, preferably like YOURNAME.COM). Avoid using strange email addresses such as sexysusie123 unless you're a romance or erotica writer! Whether you choose to provide your actual phone number or address is up to you. For confidentiality reasons, many authors don't; it is purely a matter of choice.
- Use 10 or 12 point fonts. When writing blocks of text, use Ariel or Times New Roman- it is easier for potential clients to read.
- Include social networking buttons only if you post professional information on those networking sites. Many authors/writers create a second, separate social networking account (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) so they can keep private information private.
I've included some links to author/writer websites below. You can use these for inspiration and give you an idea of what you may want to include on your own website! Some of the links below are for professional authors, others are just writers for hire, like yours truly.