One of the characteristics of being a freelance writer is the freedom to write for anyone. Having one’s byline on different websites fills your heart with a sense of accomplishment. However, when it comes to getting new clients, this method spreads your brand thin. They see you all over the place without a permanent identity.
At this age and time, when Google is not just a noun but also a verb, it pays to have a website. Yes, even freelance writers and independent authors need an online presence.
Here are the reasons why:
1. A website makes you look professional and stand out.
A freelance writer or an independent author should be like an entrepreneur (and I always call it “author-preneur”). Having a website is like opening your business’ front door. Freelance writers may not have a physical office building but a web page serves as a writer’s virtual office space.
Let’s face it, you cannot expect everybody to take your freelance writing business seriously if you don’t have an office or a website.
Another issue about having a website is the domain name. Although any freelance writer or author could set up a website for free, the domain name will be like yourname.website.com. Not only is it long, it also gives an impression that you have not invested enough on your brand.
If you want your website to be more professional, invest on a domain name like yourname.com. (or .net, .org, .co, etc.) Paying for a domain name lasts for a year or even more and make sure you pay the dues annually so others may not get it once it becomes available in the domain name market.
And since your name becomes the domain name of your website, somehow it automatically becomes the brand. It now gives you and your freelance writing business a face, something that will differentiate you from the others.
2. It also serves as a portfolio.
Also, blogs integrated into a website can serve as writing samples. So there’s no need for you to provide written samples when clients request for it. Encourage web traffic by having them visit your website instead.
Also, remember that a blog is different from a website. Blogs cannot stand as a website. Blogs are dynamic and keep on changing once updated. There are clients who want to see a static page that sums up your works. They don’t have time to read your blogs one by one just to know you.
3. Your online presence serves as your marketing tool.
Even established authors need to market their own books. They don’t rely on their publishers to do the marketing. So they use their website as a marketing tool to reach a wide-range of audience. Also, people tend to remember the title and the author but not the publisher, so the tendency is to Google the title or the author. How could a prospective reader find you if you don’t have a website?
Websites allow you to sell your books, give it away for free, or announce a promotion. With different e-commerce features, having these can be programmed into your website. Or you could just link them back to another website like Amazon if you don’t know how to set-up a web store .
Create a website that expresses something about who you are that won’t fit into the template available to you on a social networking site. – Jaron Lanier
4. A website serves as your permanent place where people can find you online.
Consider your website as your home where you can entertain your visitors and readers. It is also a good way for potential readers and agents to find you. You can turn a casual web visitor to a loyal fan with your website. Write blog posts that attract readers like reviews, interesting facts about your books, etc. Don’t rely on the power of social media. Yes, social media are also good platforms, but you have no control over the social networking site. So it is better to gain social media following through your blogs and website.
5. A website shows your personality.
A downside of having your own website is having the time to maintain it like adding a new blog, updating the calendar, etc. Don’t leave your website unattended. Update it regularly.
If you don’t invest time and effort in building your online presence, how do you expect your clients to value your work as a writer? How can you demand a high rate for writing when they don’t see you practice what you do? Having a decent online presence and a decent following may get you better rates for your work.
6. Websites are easy to set up these days.
Basically, a writer’s web page has three important elements: About, Contact, and the blog. You can easily set up one with WordPress, a blog site that I stumbled upon back in 2012. With so many themes to choose from, designing one comes easy. I set up this site in a day or two (choosing the theme, customizing it, adding the necessary plug-ins, constructing the menu, etc.).
As I’ve mentioned before, investing on a website will pay off. Let your social networking accounts boost your online presence, and your potential readers and clients will find you settled and ready. But before I go, I would like to thank 3w Corner for hosting this site.
For those here in the Philippines, go and check out Technomancer, a web design and development company that also hosts and provides customized business solutions, and IT business process outsourcing for small and medium enterprises.
Let me know what you think about this article or if I missed anything here. I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you are interested in freelancing, productivity, work from home, and creative writing, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe.