Your website is your online office. Any time you even approach an editor or another prospective client, your website is the first thing they’ll see — the place where they’ll decide whether or not they want to work with you. The grand majority of your marketing materials will have your website listed, so it’s time to make sure your website is worthy of all that attention.
A Heavy-Duty Review of Your Website
This checklist can make a review of your website a little easier. It may also be worth the time to ask a friend or colleague to go over the list and review your website for you — I know it’s hard to be critical of a site that you have had years to get comfortable with.
- Do you have your own URL, like yourname.com, or are you using a free website provider like WordPress or Blogspot? If it’s the second, it’s time to move on to your own domain. Clients simply consider free websites to be less professional.
- Does your website include contact information, clips and information about your writing services?
- Does your website include content entirely unrelated to your writing career, such as information about your family? It’s best to have a website devoted to your professional work, and establish a secondary personal site. The only exception is if the content directly relates to your USP — if you write about fly fishing, it’s cool to have a blog or other parts of your site devoted to fly fishing.
- Do you run widgets or ads for anything other than your own writing services? While there are differing opinions on this one, it’s generally a bad idea to run ads on your professional site, especially AdSense. AdSense will actually pop up ads for other freelance writers, losing you business.
- Is it easy to find information on your website? The easiest test of how navigable your website is simple: ask someone else to try and find certain piees of information. If they can’t find it, it’s time to improve the site.
- Is your site easy to read? Colors and fonts can make a site harder to read and you want your clients to be able to easily see everything you post.
- Does your website reflect your USP? It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming element, but if you’re targeting particular clients or projects, your ability to complete those projects should be immediately obvious from your website.
- Is your name anywhere on your website? You’d think this is a no-brainer, but I’ve seen a surprising number of websites where the freelance writer in question has entirely forgotten to refer to herself by name anywhere on the site.
Don’t Have a Website Yet?
If you don’t already have a website, now is the time to change that fact. I know that one of the big problems for most writers is that they don’t feel up to the technical aspects — and the expense of hiring someone else to do it doesn’t make the situation any more comfortable. I’d like to recommend a particularly easy solution: you can get a website set up, complete with a WordPress backend, for $39. When you add in the cost of the domain name and hosting, you’ll come in at a total of $120 — which is a great deal for a fully functional website that you’ll be able to update with no technical know-how. It’ll even look professional.
We freelance writers can get away with going to work in our pajamas. The counterbalance to our working apparel is that our websites have to look polished and professional at all times.
Not quite sure about how your website stacks up? Post a link in the comments and we can share feedback about all of our sites.
Just joining us? Check out where we started with Setting Your Goals!