7 Items Your Website Should Include

I know there are plenty of freelance writers out there without websites, but it’s one step that I consistently recommend that writers take if they’re serious about their work. Not only is a website a key marketing tool, but it can also streamline your querying process and help you save time. Even a free blog can help you improve your business.
Deciding the content for a site is often frustrating, so I’ve put together a list of things your website absolutely should include. This list is a starting point: add the information that you feel will help you land clients for your services.

  1. A writer’s resume: Your site should be able to point to individuals and companies that you’ve worked for in the past, although you do not need to display this information in a traditional resume format. Consider listing references or testimonials instead a blow-by-blow of your writing experience.
  2. Clips: I like using links to live articles, personally. To me, it shows that my past work was pleasing enough for my clients that they still have it up. However, it is acceptable to host your clips on your own site. Being able to link to these articles can make your querying process much easier: you don’t have to hunt for old files on your computer or cut and paste them into an email. Clients don’t have to take a chance on opening a file that may or may not be corrupted, either.
  3. Contact information: I’d recommend listing a couple of ways for a potential client to get in touch with you. You may rely on Skype for communication, but others might prefer to email you or use a traditional phone line. If you are concerned about putting too much information online — and plenty of us are — offer to provide it via email if a potential client will contact you in that manner.
  4. Services: While many freelance writers are willing to take on many different types of writing projects, most of us have a few specialties. Make it clear on your website what your preferred niches are. I don’t list prices for my services, however. I often find that a project can be much bigger than a client thinks, and if they already have a set price in mind, it can be harder to negotiate an appropriate fee.
  5. Book or project information: Not all writers have a book on sale or another project bringing in income (think e-books, teaching classes and opportunities along those lines), but if you do, make sure your website includes information about your projects — like links for buying your book.
  6. A short bio: A brief introduction and a photo make you more personable to a potential client. Most of us work primarily online, making it difficult to seal a deal in person. However, presenting ourselves online as a living human being can make our clients more likely to hire us. Keep the photo simple, though. Distracting backgrounds and such can make you seem less professional.
  7. Regular updates: Blogs are a great way to add new content to your website on a regular basis, but there are other options. Don’t let your site stagnate — add new projects, update old information and generally maintain your site. When I visit a site that is copyright 2000 or is otherwise dated, I assume that the owner of the site has essentially abandoned it. I move on, and quickly. Don’t lose clients by refusing to update your site.

5 Comments

  1. Christopher Humphries   •  

    The last one is the hardest for me. While I am not a writer (would like to be, yet on my own terms), the points seem applicable to other job titles as well (like a programmer or designer).

    Do you write your posts in advance and publish them one at a time? I have about 20 in MarsEdit to finish, yet they’ve been sitting there forever.

    Do you have any tips for keeping the posting going? I tend to have bursts of inspiration and passion, then it leaves. How can I keep it up, other than “just do it”?

  2. thursday   •     Author

    I still struggle with updates myself. I try to write ahead when I can — it does make life easier — but it doesn’t happen near as often as I’d like. I’ve blocked out a few minutes on my schedule each day which are devoted to updating my blog. I’ve found if I treat my website like just another client, I have a better chance of getting it done. I also plan out posts ahead of time. I maintain an editorial calendar for my blog, assign myself series and theme weeks and generally try to keep a little bit of consistent structure and style. I feel less like I’m starting from scratch every time I sit down that way.

    A blog or a website is a tangible commitment to your business. Thinking of it those terms is, for some of us, a better motivation that considering it a creative outlet or a place to connect people. A post is a way of showing yourself that today you did something to grow your business and reach your goals.

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  4. babs m   •  

    Thank you for these very good tips! I was pleased to find I’ve covered most of these on my site! But I still need to update with newer publishing credits… too many hats at the moment!!

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