I’m Christine Rice, the author of Freelance Writing Guide, which is a helpful career guide that will inform you of the experiences I had, and what I learned, during my first year as a freelance writer. The purpose of the book is to educate you - someone who is considering becoming a freelance writer - on what you can expect in the beginning of your freelance writing career, so that you will have no questions or fear of the unknown.
The book is straightforward and realistic. It covers ghostwriting, article writing, book reviewing, book writing, self-publishing, traditional publishing (of books and magazine articles), business and finance topics, the lifestyle of a writer, income and types of pay, and many other topics. This is a resourceful book from an experienced freelance writer, written for writers who wish to develop a freelance writing career.
Here is an excerpt from Freelance Writing Guide: What to Expect in Your First Year as a Freelance Writer:
Chapter 8 - Manage a Website, Blog, or Both!
As a freelance writer in the 21st century, you will need a website, blog, or both. There are free ways to have a website or blog, so there is no reason not to. Generally speaking, websites are a way to market your product (your writing, or yourself—as a freelance writer). Blogs are a way to connect—share your thoughts and knowledge—with your readers. You can also have a website that has a blog as one of its pages if you prefer to be efficient. Let’s review aspects about websites and blogs separately.
A website is like a large advertisement for a product or service. You will need one if you are going to be a freelance writer. There are different ways that you can set up your website, as far as the approach and features you use.
A freelance writer’s website needs to catch visitors’ attentions on the very first page, also called the home page. On the home page, you should provide concise and direct statements about yourself and your services. Keep your future visitors in mind while you design it. In other words, pretend you are a visitor when you create your home page, and design and compose it in a way that would attract your attention and make you want to look into the website more.
Change the formatting depending on what best communicates the message you intend to give. It’s a good rule of thumb to make the most important words bold and the headings larger in size than the text below them. Use images, or preferably, develop a trademark image for your freelance writing business and put it on the home page. You can also upload a picture of yourself if you wish. But keep your home page simple. Too many images or different fonts can detract the visitors’ attentions away from your business purpose and also your website.
Other pages you can include on your website are: resume, services, writing samples, and links to your published writing. Include any other information or pages that will represent you as a professional freelance writer. Also, leave unnecessary information off your website. Less is more.
Make sure your resume is current, your links are working correctly, and the information is accurate on every page. Keep your website updated, and add new information periodically to ensure more traffic to your website.
Also make sure you are communicating the image you wish you portray. View your website through your visitors’ minds, so to speak. And don’t be afraid to “strut your stuff.” If you are a good writer, tell the world what makes you good. If you have additional skills and qualities—related to your writing career—include them.
Blogs are similar to websites, but they also have their differences. Blogs are more conversational, and therefore, considered as a more casual location for publishing. However, some websites are very casual, and some blogs are very professional, so it can go both ways. But, generally speaking, a blog is a collection of chronological posts that the blog owner makes individually, and visitors to the blog can read and comment on the posts.
A blog post typically communicates one main idea and provides details related to that idea. Blog posts are ideally short (300-500 words), so the writer needs to be concise with their message. This is done by using short words, sentences that are direct, and action verbs that speak to and draw in the readers.
Blogs are good marketing tools because you can have an “about me” page on them, where you can provide information about yourself as a writer or your writing business. You can provide links to your online writing profiles, so that visitors to your blog can check out other writing you’ve done. They will be more likely to do this if they like the writing style you’ve reflected in your blog posts. Therefore, it is commendable to publish your best writing in blog posts. People want to learn more about other people who communicate effectively, so if you do so in your blog posts, you will have more business.
Like websites, blogs should be updated regularly. The most successful blogs are ones where there are new posts at least every week (preferably every day). By posting on a regular basis you are giving your visitors, and especially your regular followers, exactly what they seek—interesting information from an interesting writer. The more often you post, the more followers and blog hits you’ll get.
Blogs and websites can be used to promote your writing services and published writing. Blogs can be a good way to interact with your readers on a more personal level, which also leads to having more readers.
Websites allow you to sell yourself as a professional writer. People searching the Web for freelance writers will find your website (more on search engine optimization in chapter 16), and if they become interested in you, they will contact you through your website. If you do not wish to have private clients, you can provide links to your published writing to earn money on the page views (more about getting paid in chapter 21).
Blogs and websites both have the ability to have advertisements on them and earn income from the ads. Check out Google AdSense to learn more about earning money from content and user-related ads on your website or blog, Google Affiliate for earning money from advertised products, and Amazon Associates for earning money from advertised Amazon.com products (more about getting paid through advertising in chapter 21).
All in all, blogs and websites are effective marketing tools that connect you to your readers and customers. Don’t abuse their marketing abilities—by using too many advertisements or big, flashy ads—or it could end up hindering your efforts. Instead, use ads moderately and wisely, and your viewers will thank you.
Christine Rice is a freelance writer, an editor, and a published author. She has been publishing her writing since 2007. She has four books published: Poetry for the Heart, Essays for the Soul, My Not-So-Ordinary Life, and Freelance Writing Guide. She is currently working on two books, and has plans for one other, which will be published in 2012 and 2013. She has been a freelance writer and editor since 2011. She spends her working time writing books, reading, writing book reviews, posting on her two blogs, editing, marketing, and networking. Her books are available for purchase at Lulu, Amazon, and Smashwords. You can find her at these places on the Web: Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads, professional website, and WordPress blog. She can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © Christine Rice