Last week, I kicked off a fun contest — my webmaster David Robert Hogg offered to do a free writer website review for one lucky reader of this blog.
And we all got lucky — he actually chose two winners and provided 20 minutes of detailed critique of each. This video is packed with insights about design, usability, and how to set up your site to rank well on search engines.
Thanks to all the writers who entered and shared their questions about how to improve their writer websites.
Congrats to Heather Tucker of Cloggie Central and to Tom Bentley of TomBentley.com, who won the prize! Below you can check out David’s critique of their writer websites.
Can’t see that? Try clicking this link.
I had a few thoughts of my own, beyond what David goes into in the video:
Cloggie Central: Heather, I searched and searched but could not learn your last name from your site. That doesn’t present you professionally. I finally figured it out by clicking your email link (which was very difficult to find — it should be in your sidebar and visible at all times, on every page).
If your email address didn’t happen to have it, I would be unable to learn your whole name. I see David found your full name credited on photos in the blogroll…so why the mystery? I would imagine you’re sending quite a few possible clients away from the site due to this problem.
I totally agree with David that a tagline for your blog is essential, so people instantly know what the site is about.
This site has a dual nature in that it’s promoting your blog about Holland, but it’s also trying to sell your writing and photography services. I wonder if your tagline might help you swing it more toward getting hired with something like, “An expat travel writer/photographer in Holland” — or something that puts the emphasis on the fact that you are a pro writer.
Tom Bentley: I’d just say I’m not a fan of the dual/left-hand column layout you have going on — see if you can get it down to one right-hand column, which is where most people expect to see the sidebar. As David says, simplifying will help here.
I think David didn’t mention it, but getting the .wordpress out of your URL would make you look more like a serious writer pro. It doesn’t cost much, and if you won’t invest that little, it makes prospects wonder how serious you are.
I’m really down on writers using a quote from a famous writer as their tagline. You’re the writer here! It feels like you can’t think of anything good to tell us about who you are.
Like Heather’s site, The Write Word has a dual nature — you’re trying to get hired, and you also seem to be trying to build a writer blog. If it were me I’d write a landing page for the home that’s about your writing services, instead of having the blog be the home page.
Members of Freelance Writers Den can get feedback on their writer websites as part of their membership. Learn more now: