If you’re a freelance writer, you probably, like some of your peers, don’t have a website. You may have considered getting one but always found a reason for not doing it.
Some writers mistakenly think there’s no need for a website. They can always find clients on job search sites. Maintaining one will consume their time, which should be devoted to income-generating writing instead. It will be an expense without an assured ROI. They’re on LinkedIn and Facebook anyway. They have their bylines on their articles posted on other sites.
Some of the above excuses may be true for the short-term, but if your goal is to establish yourself as a serious writer and build your credibility, nothing beats having your own website. The world turns to the internet for information, and while social media platforms are undeniably key sources, you don’t own them. You’re just one of the thousands of freelance writers on Twitter and Facebook.
On the other hand, having your own website gets your brand, which is your name, out on the web. Only you can claim ownership of it and are in charge of managing it. The popularity of social media sites depend on their users – where is MySpace now? – but the life and reliability of your website is controlled by only you.
That said, the question of when freelance writers need to think about setting up their own website begs to be answered.
One word: NOW.
A couple of deterrents to writers having their own website:
- The lack of skills and knowledge to create it.
- The cost of having it done for them by web developers.
Regarding the first, keep in mind that just as important as having a website is having one that is attractive and easy to navigate. The process can be complicated if you’re not an IT professional. Aside from having a site, you’ll have to look for a reputable web host. Trying to make one yourself may result in a sloppy creation, which will do more harm than help.
Regarding the second, it’s commonly assumed that a great website comes at a hefty cost. But diligent research will yield cheap web hosting companies that also offer a website builder feature for the not-so-tech-savvy, eliminating the need to hire two separate agencies.
If you’re a newbie or an aspiring freelance writer, you will benefit from having a website even if you don’t have published work yet. Write an exemplary bio in the “About Me” page that shows your enthusiasm, dedication, and professionalism. Offer the readers a glimpse into you as a person and an author. Tantalize them with upcoming work. Build the momentum so that when you have a finished product, you have already piqued their curiosity and it’s easier to get them to visit your website.
Your website is your identity, your home base, giving you a professional and authoritative presence where you can be found. Not having a website is akin to having a real-world business without a physical office and it hurts your credibility.
Your website is an integral part of your entire marketing and promotion strategy. As a writer, you want to attract readers, agents, and publishers. It’s also a medium for promoting a self-published book. Here, you can sell your books and post your articles, giving potential clients an idea of your work and your writing skills.
A website is a prime medium for increasing your exposure and enhancing your professional status, in addition to your social accounts whose links can be found on your site. It will have sections, like a blog where you can share informative posts or relevant experiences; your portfolio; and contact information. Think of it as your house, and social media as roads leading to and from it. With all the technology available online, writers not having a website today is an unforgivable sin.