October 19, 2014

Seven Boss Ways to Improve Your New Writing Website

make money freelance wriitng

Take your freelance writing site to new levels.

I recently wrote an article about the importance of building a brand for writers, inspired by my good friend and mentor (whether she realizes she mentors me or not), Laura Spencer of Writing Thoughts. One of the best ways to begin building brand awareness is to start a writer’s website. You can offer writing advice to others, sell products and services, as well as have a little fun – you know, diversion from the everyday tasks involved in running your business.

Herein lies the rub – many new freelance writers, bloggers, journalists, and copywriters make some critical mistakes in setting up and running their sites that leave them frustrated and working at a capacity far beneath their potential.

Check out my tips for improving your new writing site that will help you reach your professional potential and your target market in ways that set you apart from the rest.

  1. Purchase Your Own Domain Name – If you want to blog as a hobby, or simply use your site as a public online journal, of sorts, you probably don’t need to buy your own domain. But – if you want others to see you as a professional [insert title], you’ll need to cough up the cash to do so. It doesn’t cost much and it protects your brand.
  2. Self-Hosting: The Serious Writer’s Choice – self-hosting affords you far more options for customization of your site. It announces your professional commitment as a freelancer and typically attracts more potential clients and engagement than the free hosting options do. If people are going to spend part of their budget on your professional services, they want to know you’re going to be around for a while. A self-hosted site implies that you’re serious about your career.
  3. Search Engine Submission – Submit your website to the various search engines as soon as it goes live. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have fairly easy ways to do this.
  4. White Space: Haute Couture of Great Content – There’s nothing worse than stumbling upon a website with seemingly never-ending text, even if the text has great information to offer. Remember, you’re writing for the Web, not for the Houston Chronicle or a glossy magazine. People like great content with text that’s separated by subtitles and white space.
  5. SEO Please – While great content represents the grail of the great website, it’s meaningless if people don’t know it exists (Think about the old riddle…”If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound?” – Um…no, it doesn’t unless you or I hear it – adorable forest dwelling animals excepted.) Learn basic SEO practices. You’ll be glad you did.
  6. Sharing and Subscribing – People Like Options Offer more than one way for readers to subscribe. You say tom-ay-toe, I say to-mah-toe. Some people prefer to subscribe via email, while others prefer RSS feeds. Give them the option. Provide social sharing options on each page and post and display them prominently. These represent major drivers of new traffic to your site. Ignore them at your peril.
  7. Self-Awareness and Self-Empowerment – Don’t copy someone else’s online persona. Hell, don’t even think about trying to emulate your online heroes who have already paid their dues and worked in the trenches. Do your own thing. Create an online personality as distinct as your face-to-face one. Study yourself and your talents. Ask trusted friends and mentors to tell you where you excel and where you need to improve. Don’t let your weaknesses get you down. When you become aware of them and accept them, they empower you.

By no means do these tips represent the “be all, end all” of website awesomeness or building your brand. There’s so much more to it. I’ll write about the finer points in future posts, but for now, these do represent the basics – your homework, so to speak.

Give us some of your glitter: Do you have additional tips to offer for website improvement? Tell us about your own challenges and victories, so we can all sparkle together.

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. Wow!

    Thanks for your kind words Samantha. :) You have some solid advice here and new writers would do well to pay attention.
    Laura Spencer recently posted..Should You Be the Negative Writer?My Profile

    • Thanks, Laura! It’s such an honor to have you stop by and take the time to comment. I truly appreciate all the advice you’ve given me in the past and still give me. :-) You’re such an inspiration and have so much experience to offer both newbie and veteran freelancers. XO

  2. Yes be sure to use the right tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Anayltics – both are FREE. And learn from me – check them regularly. (You skip a week and things could be missing like a sitemap) Also keep up to date on all the changes Google implements, as they have been fast and furious. Keeping up to date will help your site to get great rankings and it does take TIME. Too many people think it will happen in months, it may take a year or two depending on the competition. IF you see the competition is HIGH in the Google ad words tool for keywords – have patience. Please do tell where I can improve. Love to hear about it. Thanks Samantha!
    Lisa recently posted..Is Your Web Traffic Going The Right Way?My Profile

    • Lisa,

      You’ve added some sound advice for sure! I invite all my readers to check out Lisa’s website for down-to-earth, easy to understand information about the various social media platforms, analytics, Google PANDA updates, and more. She’s got the latest scoop on all of it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. It’s always such a pleasure to see your beautiful face in our comment section. XO

  3. Incredibly useful information! There’s so much to learn and compare. I guess the answer to someone’s questions and doubts will emerge as long as you keep digging into yourself while observing how others do it. It’s easy to be entangled into a web presence that resembles something already seen. It’s even easier to blog with no purpose in mind.
    If someone is serious, your tips are invaluable!

    • Thank you so much, Magda. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head here when you list the pitfalls of emulating someone else and not forming your own brand — a brand with a purpose in mind. You’re on your way to true success, Magda, just keep on plugging away. Don’t get discouraged. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

      XO

  4. Like a boss! If writer’s would have a boss wouldn’t that be their editor? So wouldn’t like an editor be more correct? Sorry just trolling! I really loved the post. Writing is really not an inborn talent, much less is managing a blog. You should have the passion and the will to strive forward to success if you do want to be a successful blogger.

    • LOL! Not all editors can edit #likeaboss. My partner, Amy Shoultz, Ph.D. (aka The Prof) and I became attached to the #likeaboss hashtag and all it implies early in the year. Ever since, we incorporate it in many ways…but it will eventually get pushed to second place by the next #BOSS catch phrase we see or hear and we’ll start in with the new cool. ;-) Thanks for stopping by and “pretend trolling” on my site. I agree with you about writing to some extent. Anyone can (and should) learn how to write a mechanically correct, well organized, and informative essay or article. It’s important for communication and expression as well as good business. That said, there is a critical aspect of writing that is indeed in place at birth. These writers can write interesting, compelling prose well before they have a good grasp on the mechanics of punctuation, capitalization, active voice, and other things your English Composition 101 professor taught you. There’s more to it than that, but you get my drift.

      XO

  5. Sharing and subscribing is probably the one I love the most. Thanks for sharing these 7 tips with all of us!

  6. These are perfect tips, all to be paid attention to behind the scenes and socially speaking. I know when I hit any writer’s site, the first thing I do is start reading. So to add to your tips, I’d say the consistency and quality of the content is important–and it’s not something every writer has from the moment they start writing. So patience as you build on it is a side tip.
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Friday Spotlight: Samantha GluckMy Profile

    • I love that addition, Shakirah! You’re so right — consistency and quality do matter very much. And I agree that many writers do not have that at the start. We’re all in this together and it’s a process that everyone must go through in order to get to the good stuff — the icing, so to speak. It seems that we enjoy some icing for a bit, then have to go to the learning curve again. It’s ongoing and it’s amazing.

      You’re definitely enjoying the icing, Shakirah!

  7. Wonderful boss moves. I like the last one, because it is all about being unique and original online. Sure, there will be similar things we enjoy, but putting that unique spin makes it all the better. Truly wonderful job here you are doing with the site.

    • Thanks Kim. I have to say that I absolutely adore your domain name — “kimbundance”. It totally rocks. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and give us some glitter. I’m all sparkling now with Kimbundance! Hope to connect with you here and elsewhere around the virtual world. XO

  8. Great and helpful tips Samantha! I would just like to give “caution” to self-hosted blogs, while it appear to be so advantageous, there lies a danger to be hacked too like what happened to “digital inspiration”. Lucky for him that he have all the back-up, but all pictures must be inserted manually after his data were hacked and erased.

    For blogger blog, you are not allowed to access the “main control” so that’s why customization is up to template tweaking, but it safer in some way.

    White Space – I love this new term, in my case, it’s about customizing your post body like bullet represented by image markers… I hate catching information in an ocean of text too :)

    Overall – such a good read Samantha and I registered here :)
    primeaque recently posted..Write Really Really Fast – An Effective Writing ExerciseMy Profile

    • Thanks Prime! My developer installed a plugin on my site called Login LockDown to make the site more secure and, so far, it’s worked great. I don’t know why anyone would want to hack my little site anyway. My medical site, Medtopicwriter, is locked down as well. The plugin shows all login attempt activity and all IP addresses, etc., and other info that is really meaningless to me, but means a lot to my web developer. LOL

      Yes, white space is very important on the web. If I’m reading a book offline, no white space necessary, but online it makes a site look clean and crisp — more inviting.

      Thanks for registering, Prime!

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