Click to enlarge. My first site, still kicking online, bless it.
Do you NEED a writer’s Web site?
The short answer is, yes, you do. I’ve told the story of my original Web site created in 1997 in conjunction with the writing of my book Making The Internet Work For Your Business (Allen & Unwin, 1998). I created the site over a three week period, using Microsoft Front Page. Due to the pressure of work, I didn’t do anything at all with the site for around four to five years. Finally, when I changed Internet service providers, I lost the hosting, and the site was dead. Sort of.
That site, bless it, is still kicking around. If you do a search on Angela Booth, it’s around the sixth link which shows up on the search engine results. Since I’m not paying for the hosting, the site shouldn’t show up, but it does – one of the mysteries of the online world. Like diamonds, the Internet is forever.
That site, while I was paying for hosting, got me a steady stream of clients and referrals over the years, and for not much labor at all. As I remember, I spent around ten hours creating it. (Web site creation was a pain for a newbie Webmaster in 1997.) It more than paid for itself, and always amazed me that so little effort could bring such great returns. It also made me feel guilty that I didn’t spend more time on it. Now, I wish I’d taken that site a lot more seriously. The search engine rankings benefit for a site created in 1997 are now huge. If that site were still live, I’d be hitting the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) regularly, which would be worth thousands of dollars in free advertising now… (sigh)
Anyway, to get back to Web sites and creating your own writer’s site. You NEED a site, simply because it’s easier to point people to an online address than it is to send out expensive packets of information.
When I recommend a site to freelancers I talk to, the answer is usually something like “I’m too busy/ when I get more time/ when I learn how to use the Internet for more than email and browsing”.
Amortize the creation and content
Then I read Chris Knight’s “Amortize Your Content Investments Over 36 Months”. He says:
I study publicly traded companies that specialize in content/publishing and recently Iâ€™ve noticed a trend that they previously thought that article content development costs should be expensed in the same year it was written; but today, the ROI evidence points to the fact that articles produce a very real tangible return for 3 or more years instead of the first year it was produced in.
It’s true. Consider my sweet little site that I tossed online in 1997. The benefits of that site paid off over several years, and I was too dumb to realize what a gold mine I’d created. I should have realized that if I added more material to the site, I could AMORTIZE the time and money over years.
I hope you’ll take the moral of this story to heart – create a site, it benefits you enormously in many ways. And when you’re thinking “I could be spending the time writing something that brings in money NOW”, amortize the time and energy. You’ll get a wonderful return on your investment over years to come. The time is not wasted. It’s a very wise investment in your future as a writer.
[tags]freelance writing, freelance writer, writer’s Web site[/tags]
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