If you're going to be in business as a writer, you need your own website for exposure, professionalism, and credibility, to name a few. A website can draw traffic from unexpected places and be a cost effective way to generate sales for your writing project, whether it's a book, or editing service. Follow these steps to get nudged in the right direction.
1. Know what service or product to market. Many writers don't create a website because they simply don't know what direction to go in. Pinpoint exactly what it is you're going to sell and make your plan from that. Don't let multiple choices pull you in a thousand directions. Be precise. Are you a screenplay critic, or editor? Are you a novelist, or a poet? Are you going to be a full service writer that tries his hand at any freelance work you can get your hands on? Answer these questions first, and then go to the next step.
2. Research the websites that are most effective. Figure out the layout that will best represent your author site to others. I've seen a simple business card layout that's been effective at showing professionalism and fancy flash sites that entice folks to buy. I prefer a simple content website. Find a layout that works best for you. If I would've researched more in the beginning, I wouldn't have changed the layout 4 times before getting one that functions best. I started with a strange looking graphic, then used an odd colored template which wasn't effective because, when I copied and pasted articles on the website, I had to always edit the color of the font and size to work with the odd colors. I've learned many tough lessons along the way. A basic white, clean looking website is usually best for most cases.
3. Use the right tools for the right job. Find an easy to learn website builder program and do the work yourself. In the beginning you can hire someone to do the job for you like I did. The problem I ran into was I couldn't always get my website updated in a timely fashion. I didn't have the expensive program to edit it myself, and the work didn't transfer over well with what I had to work with. I looked at several programs and found Print Shop Web Designer (Site Spinner), to be the easiest to use. I rebuilt the website with that program and in a couple minutes time, I can edit and publish extremely easy. Don't let the fear of code or web designing scare you. I can simply double click on text, and edit, then save and upload. Unless you have the funds to hire a full time I. T. person, you will need to learn how yourself. I don't have to know code. Although I've learned much about html, it's not necessary. Programs today are very user friendly. I purchased the program I use on clearance at Staples for $14.90. You can buy Site Spinner for $50.00 at Virtual Mechanics website and http://download.com is a good place to look at web design programs. Some are even a free download. Others are trial versions. See just how easy it can be.
4. Do the work and follow through until it's complete. The most difficult task is keeping focused if the mind is untrained. Often times I have several projects in the works at the same time. If I didn't get focused on one single thing and see it through to the end, I'd never accomplish anything. Distractions are everywhere. Set goals to have it done by a specific date and write down your goals. The power of a written dated goal is phenomenal.
What I try to get across to people is that you can have a lifestyle and not just make a living as a writer. Get past the fear and the rest is cake.
Copyright 2008 AJ Dowell.
AJ Dowell is the owner of several business's and publishes a free newsletter available from his website at http://linksforwriters.com/
Writer Resources such as office supplies, novel software, writing classes, web hosting, and more are available at Links for Writers.
AJ helps people become independently wealthy with the help of his mentors and website http://www.dowellandassociates.com/
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