With all the work I have coming out of my ears as a writer/editor, the last thing I need to spend time on (what little spare I have) is creating a website promoting my editorial services.
I am often buried with assignments. It’s not feast or famine. It’s either feast or feast, or “feast or adequate,” and all without a website that promotes I’m a writer. (I actually do NOT want it to be “feast or feast” all the time, and to prevent that, I turn down work and/or par back on seeking work from the Elance site.)
“You’re a writer and you need a website!”
Recently my brother and mother kept pushing that I should have my own website because I’m a writer. My brother is a chemist and has no experience in the world of journalism. My mother does not use computers. Yet they kept pushing the idea, perhaps because it’s the “in” thing to do: “All professionals need to have a website to promote their business!”
A writer should not be burdened with the stress of having to 1) create a website, 2) worry that it’s attractive and appealing to visitors, 3) maintain and update it. This is stressful and time consuming.
A writer can get clients without having a website, and here’s how:
#1. Slam a successful content site with your well-written SEO articles. And stick with it. The more high quality SEO articles of much-searched-for information you put up, the more click revenue you’ll generate. This will take time, but it’s one avenue of income that will pay off for persistent entrepreneurs.
#2. Interview experts for your articles when the topics are beyond your area of expertise. I have acquired three editorial clients as a result of this. The first expert source was so impressed with an article I wrote, in which he was quoted, that he has given me a lot of work for HIS site since, and has even told me, “There’s no end in sight.”
The second client is a colleague of this first client, who referred him to me. As for the third client, I was scanning a medical site for the latest research and spotted a report that quoted him.
The topic fascinated me and I decided to contact this surgeon to see if he’d like to be an expert source for an article I wanted to write on the topic. I sent him an online article that I’d written on the topic so he could have an idea of my writing. Next thing I know, he’s asking if I was available to write and edit for his site.
#3. Send out e-mail blasts. I’ve sent out a ton of these to court reporting firms, and as a result, have an ongoing pool of court reporters whose litigation transcripts I proofread (though it’s not writing, it’s something that many writers will do for income, and proofreading is a break from the drain that endless writing can create). A few of my court reporters are referrals from other ones.
I also advise hitting up print magazines with queries or sending in completed manuscripts if the magazine accepts them. I have regular writing gigs with two print magazines (one of them I edit also; I started as only a writer, but because I always made deadlines, the former editor recommended me to the publisher when she decided to step down). And that’s my next advice: ALWAYS MAKE DEADLINES. Editors absolutely hate when writers miss deadlines. You will be a first choice for additional gigs if you have a reputation of always making deadlines.
#4. Register with Elance and start placing proposals for job postings. An impressive Elance profile can serve as your “website” once it has client feedback and ratings (an objective opinion of you, rather than your website’s subjective claims!)
#5. Start a blog and choose a topic that interests a lot of people. It will take time to start generating income, but remember, if some “SAHM” can rake in a lot of money blogging, why can’t you, a professional writer?
Ask yourself, what point would a website serve, when there are thousands of writer websites already out there? It’s not as easy as putting up a website and then sitting back waiting for a stream of people to knock on your door with assignments. It won’t happen that way. You have to go out and get the work.
The absence of a website for a writer will NOT make you look unprofessional or not qualified or in some way negative to a prospective client. Regarding that print magazine that I edit, when a new writer shows interest and includes their website in their e-mail, I rarely visit the website unless they tell me to go there to view their writing samples.
However, if their e-mail has writing samples, why visit their website? If I like the samples, that’s all I need. If I don’t like the samples, why go to the website?
If a prospective client for ME likes the samples I send out (sometimes I’ll provide links), that person is not going to think, “But she doesn’t have a website so I won’t hire her.”
Suppose a personal trainer wants a writer for his new website. Is he going to spend an inordinate amount of time perusing dozens and dozens of writer websites for a suitable contractor? Or is he going to spend 10 minutes registering with Elance and posting a job for a fitness writer, and then sit back and wait for the proposals to come in? Which would take him a lot less time?