Writer websites are a proven way to stand out from the crowd, and get new clients calling you.
But most freelance writers don’t have one. That may be because when many writers contemplate putting up a site, it raises the question: What should the name of my writer website be?
And its corollary: What should the tagline say?
It’s easy to get hung up on what to do for website branding. So many possibilities! Then, you stall out and don’t end up putting one up.
That’s not good.
Your writer website is a great opportunity to create a writing sample. If you want online clients, creating a fantastic writer website is a great way to show them you ‘get’ the internet.
There are definitely some key things to know about branding for writer websites. I’ve reviewed literally hundreds of writer sites over the years — and seen writers succeed and fail with their sites. Along the way, I’ve learned there are definitely types of branding that work for writer websites…and types that don’t.
What do you need to avoid, and what works great for branding writer websites? Let’s dig into the details.
I’m going to start with the top problems I’ve seen in writer-website branding. Then, I’ll give you four ways to do branding that all reliably work great for freelance writers.
Many freelance writers tell me they’ve never gotten a nibble off their writer websites. If this is you — or you have yet to put up a writer site — let’s fix some of the biggest problems right now.
See, there are some basic approaches, and some key phrases, that you really want to avoid on writer websites.
These blunders make you seem, variously:
- Uninterested in doing client work
Want to avoid all that and put together a writer website that presents you as a strong candidate for freelance jobs? Here are the moves to avoid:
Have you wondered if business-to-business, a/k/a B2B content marketing, might be your ticket to a bigger writing income?
I’m hearing this from a lot of writers in my community:
“I’ve decided on a writing niche — I’m going to write B2B.”
So. B2B is definitely an area with a lot of marketing money in it. That’s because the products and services sold to businesses can be expensive, from fancy copy machines to $10,000 consulting packages and up.
The more something costs, generally, the more elaborate and costly the marketing process is — and the more writers stand to make.
But there’s a problem: Simply saying you write B2B doesn’t get clients excited about hiring you. In fact, positioning yourself that way can send the very clients you want running for the exits.
Let me explain the one simple tweak to make to connect with great-paying B2B clients.
What would you do if a prospect asked to see your writing portfolio right now?
In the perfect world, you’d point them to a link that shows off your best work. Why? Every potential client wants to see samples of your writing to find out if you’re the right fit.
You’ve got an online writing portfolio, right?
If you’re laughing nervously now because you don’t, or you have one but you know it needs help, that’s OK. I’m going to show you how to create one.
Your writing portfolio is one of your most important marketing tools to attract and impress potential clients.
Point a prospect to your portfolio, and you want to capture their attention with an attractive and appealing design and great writing so they hire you.
If your writing portfolio is confusing or uninviting, the prospect might click away and never return. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some ways to design a dazzling online writing portfolio:
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: