The First (and Most Important) Step in Writing Your Professional Website
Hopefully you’ve spent this week moving your career noticeably forward. We started off talking about how to solidly improve your writing, followed by choosing your writing focus and then buying yourself a domain.
Today, we’ll go into what to put on your new (or future) domain. But first, I want to talk about the power of momentum.
Think about the last time you had a big family celebration and maybe ate a little more than you should have. The more you ate, the more sluggish you felt, right? Perhaps by the end of the meal, you wanted to lie down for a nap, or maybe slump in front of the TV.
Here’s why: Too much input. You can’t process it all at once. So, it slows you down.
On the flip side, when you do things that require output, they get easier the more you do them. The more you run, the faster you get. The more you tidy your house, the cleaner things stay. And so forth.
The same holds true for launching a writing business. Intake is important. So yeah, you’ve got to study and read a little bit. But output is what moves you forward.
That’s why today is all about writing your website. Even if you didn’t get a chance to buy your domain name like we talked about yesterday, you can still go ahead and write your site.
You may be wondering … am I really ready to write my professional writer’s website?
Well, if you’re serious about making money as a writer, then yeah. Yeah, you are.
And, you know what? Your first draft might stink. The whole website might stink. But you won’t know until you put it up there. Then you can improve, correct, and move forward — which is a whole lot better than standing still. (On the flip side, your first draft might ROCK, and it’ll launch your writing career faster than you ever dreamed possible!)
One trick I like to use is to write my own websites at a psychological distance. That’s where you write your site as you’d like it to read one year from today. Imagine a full year has gone by, and you’ve gained experience and made money as a writer. What would your website say?
If you’re unclear what to put on your site in the first place, read this article by AWAI President Rebecca Matter on how to plan your freelance website content in under an hour.
And don’t forget, you have access to all the information you could ever need to get your site started just by searching and reading AWAI’s free archive.
Right now, I invite you to write your homepage. Here’s an easy format to follow:
- Begin with a headline. Choose something captivating that grabs your reader’s attention. (Don’t cop out and use “Welcome.”)
- Follow with a line that tells the reader who you are and what you do. It’s your USP (unique selling proposition). Tell the reader what writing service you offer and how you deliver it. (E.g.: “I research and write case studies crafted with superior attention to detail.”)
- Follow with a few bullets that tell clients what benefit they’ll get. “Case studies help prospects see firsthand how your service can make a difference in their lives.”
- Finish with a call to action, whether that’s “Email me” or “Call me” or something else.
If you run into trouble, try this speed technique: Set your timer for 30 minutes and be determined to have something on the page by the time the buzzer dings. From there you can edit and revise. But at least you’ll have something to work with! (Did you do it? How did it go? Tell me about it here.)
Hopefully, you’ve got one leg up on your new writing opportunity. Take the time to put that homepage copy online, even if it’s the only page you get up all month. (You’ll need to get a web hosting plan if you haven’t yet, FYI. To choose, I recommend reading user reviews from a neutral source like PC Magazine.)
Tomorrow, we’ll do the final thing needed to establish you as a writer who can take on paid projects.