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:
Five years ago, I took a crazy risk and opened a community for freelance writers, hoping I could get 100 people to sign up.
What happened? It turned out people were starved for freelance writing help.
Today, the Den turns 5 years old — and it has over 1,200 members. When I say I couldn’t have done it without you, my great readers, I’m really not kidding.
Great community can’t be created by my answering every forum question. It’s created by everyone in the community coming together to pool their knowledge and share best practices. The Denizens are what make the Den the truly awesome resource it has become today.
I’m grateful for everyone who’s come together to make Freelance Writers Den great — so grateful that I’ve got five different goodies for you as part of our Den 5th anniversary celebration:
Every week, I meet writers who are taking their first plunge into freelance marketing. Maybe they’ve grown tired of applying for UpWork gigs they don’t get, scanning Craigslist ads for hours, or of getting $10 a post from a content mill.
To me, this is an exciting moment, when writers realize they’re in business — and running a business means you do proactive marketing. Passively trolling online ads that are each going to get 1,000 responses isn’t your ticket to high earnings.
This is all good, but often, when you first start active marketing, it can be discouraging. Early results may not be stellar. There’s a decent bit to know to win at pitching your writing services.
While some writers make phone calls or do in-person networking, the majority send marketing or pitch emails. For publications, we send queries.
And most of these pitches don’t get results. Why? Here are my top five probable reasons freelance marketing is ineffective, based on my experience reviewing hundreds of pitch letters over the years:
If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.
I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.
I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.
If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.
All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:
No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, I’m here to make it a festive season for you.
Since I celebrate Hanukkah — which this year, starts tonight — I’ve decide to create my own online festival of light for writers, by bringing you a series of free offers and super-cheap discount deals. There will be a different offer each day!
Hanukkah is a festival of light and miracles…of the freedom to worship as you choose, a theme that’s more relevant than ever this year. Of believing you can banish the darkness, even when all seems hopeless. I’m hoping to enlighten some writers and bring them some serious help over next 8 days. Because when you go from earning peanuts to earning real money…it truly is like a miracle. Right?
While I’m announcing this 8 Crazy Nights extravaganza here on a blog post, if you’re not a subscriber to this blog, you won’t see most of the rest of these offers. They’ll only be going out on email. So if you’re not a subscriber, you might want to sign up now.
Ready? Let’s get rolling…
I’d only been a freelance writer for a couple of months when I scored a regular gig with a large web design firm.
The pay was decent, I loved the assignments, and the editor was a breeze to work with. It seemed like my fledgling career was ready to take flight.
Then my son got sick.
Because of a chronic medical condition, we need to check on him every two hours at night when he’s ill. My husband couldn’t cover, so I was on duty for the entire ordeal. All alone. Seven Days. No sleep.
Of course, this was when my client called with an emergency assignment. The previous writer had flaked, and he needed me to step in and write two pages of automotive content ASAP. Against all logic, I took the job.
Unfortunately, my fatigue got the best of me. My writing was garbled, and I made mistakes that could have led to a lawsuit.
To say my editor was pissed would be an understatement. I was on the way out the door.
I turned to the Freelance Writers Den for advice on what to do about it and how I could save what I felt was a floundering career. I got some great tips and loads of supportive sympathy. I came up with a plan to win my client’s trust back.
Here’s how it went: