Years back, I did a post about great writer websites. It turned out to be one of my most popular ever.
But over time, websites change. So do best practices in website design (hello, mobile-responsive design!). Writers get staff writing jobs and shut their sites down. Links break.
And writers still need ideas, examples, and inspiration to create their writer website…so I’ve put together a sequel.
This time, I’ve collected a dozen different flavors of successful writer websites to show you. Got notes below for you about what I love about each (and what I’d tweak).
I’ve done a multi-hour training about writer website best practices inside Freelance Writers Den (and many of the sites you’ll see featured below are from current or former Den members who’ve taken advantage of that course). But to give you a super-quick overview, the important elements of a successful writer site include:
- Clean design — No flashing or rotating items, nor too many different colors or boxes.
- Easy to connect — Your email/phone are easily visible and links are clickable.
- Photo of you — This helps reassure people you’re not some Internet scam.
- Portfolio — The #1 thing prospects want to do on your site is read your clips.
- Testimonials — These are a huge factor in convincing prospects to contact you.
- Personality — Your writer website is a writing audition, and a chance to give prospects a sense of what it’d be like to work with you.
With that crash course in writer website design in mind, here are a dozen writer websites (in alphabetical order) that show the variety of approaches you can take to implement these fundamentals. As you’ll see, websites can always be improved, so I’ve got some wish-list tips on how even these could do better:
- Dale Cudmore — Dale is sending away the wrong sort of clients for his business, with a clear definition of his niche and a strong show of personality right in the introduction. He also puts his portfolio right on the home page. He’s got the contact form I believe no one wants to fill out, but all in all, a strong presentation with a clean look, nice friendly shot of him, and a great, simple blue-and-white color scheme.
- Cutthroat Copy — Jorden Roper throws a young, sassy blogger vibe in this vibrant, mobile-responsive site. Killer photos (helps if you look like a model)! She also sneaks in some good SEO with “Dallas freelance copywriter / blogger & writer in her home-page meta (the text that shows when you mouse over the tab in your browser). I’d like to know more on her About page about how she got into copywriting.
- Enlighten Writing — Mahesh Raj Mohan gets visitors oriented with his tagline, “Freelance writer and content marketing strategist in Portland,” and quickly defines his ideal clients as authors, marketing managers, and business owners. He does a nice job of weaving a story out of his resume on the About page, but I’d like to see his contacts less hidden away and the body-copy font on subpages a bit bigger.
- Jennifer Gregory — Way to state your niche — ‘The content marketing writer” — and wow prospects with a powerful ‘proof’ bar of past client logos. I’d flip her photo over so she’s facing her copy instead of away from it…but it’s a tiny thing. Nice use of mobile layout.
- Juliann Schaeffer — Den member Juliann goes for the topic SEO with ‘freelance health writer’ and a URL that’s got ‘health writer’ in it, too. Super-friendly, happy-but-professional photo just makes you want to give her a call. This one doesn’t have super-flashy design, but wins with a cute little logo that makes it feel pro, along with great head shots with the testimonials.
- Karen Smock — A member of the Den and Den 2X Income Accelerator, Karen’s site wins with great graphics that express the industries she knows, and a nice photo of her, plus basic city-focused SEO keywords in the tagline that’s always worked well for my writer website. Strongly orienting copy quickly lets visitors see if this is the writer for them. Nicely organized portfolio — this could only be better if testimonials had head shots instead of company logos.
- Lori Murray — I usually hate sites with a left-hand sidebar, which has been proven to not perform as well as a right-hand one (and with the age of mobile, not as well as no sidebar at all). But experienced pro Lori makes it work with a very simple contact sidebar and a home page that’s a visually grabby portfolio. What I’d change: “writing & communications” (her tagline) aren’t terms I believe prospects search on, as much as terms like “freelance writer” or “communications strategist.” A little refining might draw more leads. And how about some logos on that solid-gold client list! (Thanks to Den member Leslie Shortlidge for the referral to this snappy website.)
- Sarah Asp Olson — A Den and Den 2X grad, Sarah uses a top bar to keep contacts visible, and has a fab headshot and strong keywords prospects can see right off, along with a terrific set of past client logos providing social proof right above the fold. I’d add a little Home page copy to help folks navigate, if it were me, but her two big “Who I am” and “What I do” buttons help direct traffic.
- Silicon Valley Tech Writer — This site, from Den 2X member Millie Lapidario, is the first site built on SquareSpace that I’ve featured in these great-website lists (to my knowledge). Love the graphic at the top, sleek mobile layout, and short, punchy headlines. To top it off, she nabbed a highly SEO-friendly URL that’s just gotta bring traffic. I’m not usually a fan of writing your About page in the third person, as first makes more of a direct conversation with prospects, but if it’s working, it’s working.
- Sonia Quinones — This one gets my award for best copy headline: “Content that puts more money in your pocket.” I usually hate rotating graphics, but this one that serves up an array of portfolio samples is kind of fresh. Nice all-in-one home page with a testimonial at the bottom, too.
- Sylvie Tremblay — Another Den 2X member, Sylvie’s site grabs attention with a social-proof bar right where the experts say it should be — up at the top. With her tagline, “Freelance science & health journalist and copywriter,” she instantly helps visitors understand if she’s their writer. Great second shot of her on the About page, and nice contact bar on top from ManyContacts, a solution I hadn’t previously seen.
- That Copywriter Girl — You know I’m a sucker for a writer who’s gotten a cartoon done of themselves, and Den grad Mallory Hall rocks that approach here, along with a snappy branding URL. She even makes pink work, a color that I think usually says “unprofessional.” Her tagline, “freelance writer and blogger,” could probably be niched down a bit more to get her found more frequently on search. Body-copy font could be bigger, especially on subpages, but I’m picking a nit.
I hope these websites help you launch or improve your own site! If you’re looking for support getting up a quick website, you can check out my recommendations for that on the ‘Products I Love’ tab at the top of this blog, or join the Den and take the bootcamp Build a Writer Website That Works.