By Carol Tice
I’ve got a bone to pick today with writer Web sites. I look at a lot of them for my mentees, and over time I’ve found many of them have the same problem.
That’s right. You go to a writer’s Web site and they’ve got a bio, and maybe a photo…and then there’s either a vague list of places they’ve written for, or there’s a bibliography-type list of the titles and markets of previous published articles, like for a college paper or something. Or just a list of places they’ve been published.
And no links I can click on to read the stories.
So I have a question for new writers: Why do you think people are coming to your writer Web site? Hint: It’s not to read about how you were staffer for three years at the Podunk Daily News five years ago.
Visitors want to read your clips so they can decide whether to hire you.
I’ve heard every excuse for why writers don’t have clips on their site.
1. “None of my clips are currently available online.” Then get a few of them turned into PDFs and linked to your site. Yes, I do mean pay a pro to do it if you don’t know how to format and code that yourself. Your site is a complete waste without clips.
2. “I ended on a bad note with that editor, so I’m afraid to post my stuff with them.” Get over it. Nobody’s going to quiz you about how it worked out with that rag. They just want see if your writing is compelling and/or shows familiarity with the topic they want you to write about.
3. “I can’t decide which ones to put up.” Pick a dozen of your favorites on a variety of topics you’d like to get additional gigs writing about, and start there.
4. “I don’t have my site up yet.” Then put links to clips in your LinkedIn profile, and use that as your portfolio until you can get your writer website built.
5. “Well, once I start doing that I’ll have to keep updating it when I have new articles published.” Yes, indeed, you will. I try to update my “favorites” area of my site daily, or at least weekly, with something new to keep its rankings up and to make the clips prospects see as fresh as possible when they visit.
6. “I’m too shy to brag about myself by putting clips on my site.” Aw, honey. Let me send you a hug…and then buck up and put your clips on there. You want to make a living at this, right?
7. “I just can’t seem to get around to it.” In this Internet age, there is simply nothing more important you can do to market your writing than to get a decent set of your clips linked and organized in a single spot. It just says, “This writer is a pro.” No links says you’re not.
This post originally appeared on the WM Freelance Writer’s Connection.
Photo via Flickr user Franklin Park Library