It’s not an option. If you’re a writer, you must have a writing website. That goes for wannabe content writers and international best-selling novelists.
And before you get all hot-and-bothered about the tech involved in a website, you need to know this: your site doesn’t need lots of bells and whistles. It does, however, need to be professional-looking, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly.
I took forever to put up my first writing website. It was years ago before there were WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web building platforms that are available today and the tech element dragged me down. I took an eight week course in Dreamweaver in order to build my site. Then I spent hours getting all the coding right.
(Aside: that’s one reason why I’m an advocate of platforms you can manage easily so that loading up a page is not a chore. Here’s one of my favorite web platforms.)
I didn’t realize that a website is an organism that should continue to grow each week and month. I thought I had to have a “perfect” website” which I’d launch and leave be. All that monumental effort was well-intentioned, but misled.
Months later, after all that work, I had a six page website to show for my efforts. Fortunately, those first six pages were the among most important ones to have on my writing website.
If you’re a writer, then the purpose of your writing website is twofold: use your website to sell your content and services and use your website to connect with readers, editors, and brands.
Six key pages allow you to do that. Start with these six. Then continue to add pages at the rate that’s best for you.
Your homepage’s job is to tell the visitor that she is in the right place to get answers and then guide her to other content on the site. You can accomplish that with an engaging headline, descriptive introductory text, and clear navigation.
Write a headline that explains your writing services your target reader and why your site is different, better, or unique from other writing sites.
Use introductory text that expands on your headline and gives an overview of your writing services, available content, and products. Give a short description that explains the different sections of your site. What are your target reader’s main pain points or key interests? Perhaps your target reader is looking for content writing services … writing tips … links to resources. Highlight solutions and answers in your introductory text.
Since your website homepage content acts like the hub of a wheel, use it to guide readers to those other spokes on the wheel – other content on your site – in a variety of ways. Offer clear navigation so readers don’t get confused. Weave your website’s top keywords into homepage content and build in links to the most-trafficked second level pages. Include a search box so readers can find content they need.
Your bio page, also called your About page, is one of the most-visited pages on your site, whether you’re a blogger or an international thriller novelist. Readers want to know who you are.
It’s tempting to launch into your life story from the top of your bio page. Resist! Instead, tell your visitor who you help and what you do to help them. Ask yourself this question: if your reader could only know one or two things about what she can get from you, what would those be? Here’s a helpful template to use:
I’m [your name] and I am a [your title/ vocation] who works with [your target market/ ideal client] helping them [how you serve].
Then tell your story. Why do you do what you do?
Once you’ve earned the reader’s trust by sharing who you help, how you help them, and why you help them, you can share more personal information: your writing credits, a few details about your family, and a photo.
This is the place for links to your books (if you’re an author) and a list of your services (if you’re a content writer, copywriter, or editor.) You can also structure this page as an online portfolio with links to your published clips.
Why is this page important on your writing website? Because you want to sell your products and services.
If you’re a solopreneuer, an entrepreneur, a nonprofit, or a small business you should be creating content regularly to showcase your expertise or showcase your product. Maybe you write a blog, publish a weekly newsletter, record a podcast, or create YouTube videos. The platform you choose – blog, newsletter, video, or podcast – matters much less than the fact that you produce content that’s valuable to your reader. And the frequency – daily, weekly, monthly – matters less than the fact that you produce content on a consistent schedule. No matter kind of content you create, this page is the place to showcase it by linking to it.
Surprised that this page is essential for your writing website? Keep in mind what's key to online visibility these days: content.
Your content and its keywords helps to build traffic to your site, which in turns build visibility. Further, when you write valuable content that gives readers information about your niche, then you establish yourself as a credible source. When it comes time to buy a product or service, you’ll be positioned as a provider to meet that need. Finally, a good content page always includes a lead magnet with an opt in so you can gather new email subscribers, who become your most enthusiastic fans. You’ll stay in contact with them regularly as you release new content and offer promotions for your products and services.
A good Contact page makes it easy for readers to find you. Remember the two purposes of your writing website: you want to sell your products and services and you want to interact with your readers. Your Contact page lets fans interact with you.
Use this page to briefly summarize what you do and explain how readers can connect with you. If your website platform allows you to use a Contact form, insert it. Otherwise, give readers multiple ways to connect with you: your phone number, a link to your email address, and your social media channels. Indicate the response time they should expect.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions are a list of questions and corresponding answers that address basic issues about your writing process, your writing services, or your writing projects. This is an opportunity for you to give your reader a quick synopsis of what you do in a way he can understand easily.
Online Portfolio: As you accumulate clips, you may want to add a dedicated Online Portfolio page. You can link to your Portfolio from your Books page and your Services page. Organize your Portfolio page by topic niche or by type of project.
Media: If you’ve been the subject of feature articles, reviews, videos, podcasts, or other media, you can feature them in links on a Media page. You can also include press releases and interview inquiries on your Media page.
Which additional pages do you think are important for a writing website? Share in the Comments.
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