A quality website is a crucial aspect of any online business in the digital age. It will help you gain credibility in your niche and help more prospective customers find you and the amazing products or services that you offer. As writers, our sites give us a great way to display our best work to potential clients and readers. But there are many ways we can be distracted when building a website, especially if the majority of our focus is on the important work (which is the writing itself). So let’s take a few moments today to look at some common website mistakes for writers to avoid.
Mistake #1: Over-Diversifying
This is the biggest mistake I made throughout the early stages of my freelance writing career and, to be honest, I still find myself struggling to avoid making it again and again. When you want new clients, it’s easy to try to sell them on your experience in their topic area. If you’re anything like me, you’ll advertise that you’re capable of writing on “nearly any topic out there.”
While this is probably true, I’ve found that it is really helpful to narrow down the topics you want to write about to areas that you’re really interested in and knowledgeable about. Over time, you’ll find that it’s easy to maintain motivation and a productive workflow if you’re truly passionate about the informational resources and/or articles you’re creating.
Mistake #2: Lack of Mobile Optimization
The evidence is clear that a significant percentage of your readers will be viewing your website on a mobile device these days. Therefore, having a website that isn’t optimized for mobile devices is a big mistake. These mobile users are even more likely to leave your website within seconds if they don’t see something that captures (and ideally holds) their attention.
Personally, I use the website builder that’s included in the Wealthy Affiliate platform to create new websites and I use WordPress to update and maintain them. However, (as you probably know) there are numerous simple website builders out there that make it easy to build and optimize content for mobile, desktops, and tablets. These include Wix, Squarespace, and so many more.
Mistake #3: Photo Quality, Size, and Amount
Quality photos can add great value to your website, both visually and in terms of search engine optimization. However, it’s you writing that’s the real product/service that you’re trying to sell. So, while photos add value, those that aren’t of great quality, are too large, and that get in the way of visitors actually being able to read your content will actually detract from the real purpose of your website.
Take the extra time to find and/or take high-quality photos. Make sure they aren’t filling up an entire page or overtaking written content. And make sure that there aren’t too many photos in your blog so that readers are actually distracted or interrupted from reading your great work.
Mistake #4: Failure to Include Social Links
As much as I don’t often want to admit it, we’re living in a social media-driven world. Clients will most likely want to look at you social media accounts before they work with you. This is a good way to teach clients more about yourself and to allow them a sneak peek into what makes you the person you are. It’s also a great way to put a human face to the work you do and, in doing so, earn additional client trust.
Rather than shying away from social media, you can use it to your benefit as a writer. Some techniques include sharing quotes from books or poems you’ve written or from other writers, sharing some of your favorite books, or sharing tips or advice on writing with followers. If you don’t want to do this via your existing social media accounts, you can always create a new business account that you can optimize to find new writing clients and readers.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to grow a social media following that you can convert into actual business leads, I suggest you reach out to @katiejtoday, Host and Producer of the Wander Well Podcast. Katie was instrumental in helping me understand social media and grow my followership and she’s always looking for new people to collaborate with!
Keep This In Mind
When creating your website, it’s really important to first define your ideal client and you ideal purpose for having a website in the first place. Are you just in need of a place to display your content portfolio? Are you looking for freelance clients? If so, what specific topics are you looking to write about?
Or maybe you’re just interested in promoting and selling books, essays, or poetry you’ve already written. A functional website clearly states what you offer within the first 30 seconds a new user lands on your home page. If this is confusing, your bounce rate is likely to be high and users that might actually be interested in your services or products will navigate away before they have a chance to really learn how you can help them.
Be clear and consistent in your messaging. Display your best writing. Make it easy to navigate. Give visitors an easy way to learn about who you are and what makes you an authority in your areas of expertise. And, last but not least, make sure interested clients can easily find a way to contact you when they decide they want to work with you!
How’s Your Website Looking?
If you’ve recently created a new website, or you’re in the process of creating one, I’d love to hear how things are going. I’m always looking for new ways to improve my craft and I also love to connect with others creating an income online and seeking a location-independent lifestyle.
Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond as soon as possible.
I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.
Build Your Dream!