How can you build a website that will delight your
readers and clients?
The basis for your website:you're a writer.
Okay. We've just established that you can tap out a sentence on the keyboard.
But millions of people can write. They write shopping lists. They write absence excuse notes for teachers. They
write reports and minutes of meetings and scribbled notes to stick on the fridge: "Gone to the mall. Back about
So what makes you a Writer with a capital "W"?
You've studied the craft. You have books and magazines on how to write. You
subscribe to a Writer's Centre newsletter. You've been to workshops... and you wouldn't mind earning a living
from writing. That sounds reasonable. But you need to do more than study the craft. (That just makes you a
Writers WRITE. If you're a Writer, then we can assume that you're not only
continually developing your skills, but also putting them into practice.
That still sounds like you? Yes? Great!
But... WHAT do you write? Fiction? Non-fiction? Stories for kids? Advertising
material? Newsletters? Or do you now use your writing skills to help others, as a copywriter or a ghostwriter?
Do you run a critique service? There are an incredible number of writing hats you can wear. (I've worn a number
of them myself... children's writer; romance writer; crime writer; article writer; ghostwriter and
If you want to make money writing, and especially if you want to make money or
sell more books through establishing a presence on the Internet, you have to let people know what you write.
Your website should make this clear upfront.
If you write fiction, then let your home page on your website show this
clearly. Post samples of your fiction; excerpts from your book(s) and a bio about yourself as a fiction writer.
If you're looking for work as a ghostwriter, then post samples of your work and obtain testimonials from
satisfied clients. Develop a newsletter or tipsheet that passes on useful or interesting information to your
In short: SHOW THEM WHO YOU ARE!
Here's a 7-point checklist to help you:
- Create a website to promote yourself as a writer.
- Decide on the primary purpose of your website: to promote your fiction
and give fans information about you, or to sell your services as a writer. (You can diversify later if you
wear more than one hat. You can create a new website for each one, or create a subdomain. If that sounds
like gobbledegook, don't worry. All will be revealed.) For now, choose a focus for this, your first
- Make sure your home page 'shows people who you are' - they should be able
to tell at a glance what your website is all about.
- Decide how you can promote yourself in the world of e-publishing. You can
promote yourself and your writing through your website copy, through an ezine, through free downloads,
through mini-courses and through e-books.
- Spend time surfing the Web to find out which sites are going to be most
useful to you as a writer. There are hundreds of sites for writers and marketers, with more popping up
every day. Bookmark the ones that promise to give you inspiration that will speed you along the path to
- Write articles on your area of interest. If you love writing fiction,
share a few tips that might help new writers. If you're whiz at creating advertising copy, tell others how
to do it. Publish these tips in your own ezine or submit articles to other websites and ezines. Make sure
you attach a signature box that points back to your website. (Don't know what a signature box is? You'll
find out later. For now, think of it as a mini-bio.)
- Contact your favourite websites to see if they'd like to exchange links
with your site. Keep in mind that for them to be willing to do this, your site will have to be relevant and
offer tips or interesting content to their visitors.
As you explore other sites for writers, you'll find lots of ideas about what
can help you succeed on your chosen path. Be open to all kinds of suggestions; be willing to try new
Soon, thousands of readers and clients will know just who you are and what you
do. And that's gotta help your sales!
(c) copyright Marg McAlister