This article was originally published in Ampersand & La Perluète, the Quebec national newsletter for editors and writers of the Editors’ Association of Canada.
Here’s a quick summary. The full version is below.
2. Establishes your expertise
3. Potential clients can reach you anytime, 24/7
4. You can educate your clients on your services easily
5. Showcases your talent (online portfolio) and establishes credibility
6. Helps you reach a global audience (time zones can work to your advantage for rush jobs)
7. Cuts down on phone calls, emails from clients (FAQ)
8. Allows clients to pay you online (e.g. PayPal)
9. Be a credible industry source of information
10. Your competitor already has one!
10 Reasons Writers Need a Website
What’s the worst thing that could happen if a client types your name into a search engine (and believe me, sooner or later, one of them will!)? What would they find?
- Scenario 1: Nothing.
- Scenario 2: That racy Facebook photo your friend tagged you in (you did remember to edit your privacy options, right?).
- Scenario 3: Your competition.
This may be even worse than the first two scenarios Editors are friendly and collaborative, for the most part, but does that mean that you should be giving away your business to your colleagues? Because if you don’t have a website, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Having an online presence is an absolute necessity in today’s business world. You may not be interested in looking up people or businesses online, but your clients are. If feast or famine is getting tiresome, then it’s time to get yourself a website.
Still not convinced? Read on…
1. Credibility and professionalism
When it comes to doing business, nothing sparks fear in clients as much as the dreaded “@videotron.ca” and “@gmail.com” (or ye-gads, “@hotmail.com”) email addresses.
What does this say to them?
a) You can’t afford a professional email address.
b) You’re not a full-time professional and you’re probably living it up in Bouvet Island (yeah, where?).
c) You don’t care about branding – so how will you care for your client’s business?
Having your own website tells your clients that you are credible and professional—an expert who cares about your image and reputation. A solid internet presence will translate to: you’re a professional who can be trusted.
2. Websites never sleep
Even though it may be time for siesta, your website will be hard at work educating your clients. Clients can browse your site in their own time and check you out. This is a great benefit for those who are curious but don’t want to commit to a phone call yet.
3. Educating clients
Proofreading? Editing? Rewriting? Let’s face it, it can wear you down repeating the same information over and over again. Why not simply create a page on your site that deals with your most frequently asked questions? Make sure your clients have access to the information they need to make up their minds.
4. Showcasing your portfolio
You’ve done the work, so get the credit. Show your clients what you’re able to do. The format doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it’s accessible. An online portfolio is a powerful instrument for persuasion and can help establish your expertise.
A website is a powerful ingredient in a successful marketing strategy. Since you’re not living it up in Bouvet Island, set yourself apart from amateurs and show your professionalism. Brand your website and streamline your look with business cards, brochures, templates, and your site.
The website will be your client’s first impression of you: if it looks like it was designed by our neighbour’s cousin’s son from his basement back in the 1990s, it’s time to invest some hard-earned money into a new, modern design. It’s actually better to have no site at all than one that makes you look bad.
6. International exposure
If you are actually living in Bouvet Island (but you’re a bona fide writer), you can still get business from Canada. On the other side, a client who lives in the far reaches of nowhere but has internet access can still hire you for the job.
A website is the best way to reach a global audience. Time zones can work to your advantage: whip out your sundial and bump up your rush rates for Europe.
7. Show me the money
The cheque is in the mail? Sure. Get paid faster – and in full. Offer PayPal as a payment option on your website. It’s not all that complicated to do, and it’s easy for customers to remember how to pay you. How easy is that?
8. Market yourself and establish your expertise
If you have expertise, let it show. Content is the new black. Keep ’em coming back for more: provide tips, advice, industry news, and more, and change the content often.
Integrate email marketing into your marketing plan and you’ll stay at the top of their minds. They could be on your site in a matter of seconds.
Set up analytics for some basic market research and you’ll even know exactly how many seconds. Fun stuff!
9. Use the power (of technology)
New generations demand new technologies. Still emailing files? Get Dropbox, Drive, or set up a secure FTP site for your clients. They’ll appreciate you not hogging their email systems with that 100-page manuscript you’ve just edited for them.
Send your clients information about your services, your testimonials, your process, or your list of previous projects with a single click of a mouse with a link to the cloud.
10. Your competitor has one
You need to stay competitive. ‘Nuff said.