Get Your Writing Website Optimised

As a new or emerging writer, you should consider creating a readership or platform, to help you get published. It is a superb way of introducing agents and publishers to you and your material. If you can create a ‘platform’ of followers, readers and interest groups, you will be more valuable to a publisher one day.

iHubbub's editor Paula Wynne used her website business as a stepping stone to fulfilling her dream of becoming an author. 

Paula says 'When I realised the potential ‘platform’ I had right under my fingertips (as Co-Founder and Director of Remote Employment and iHubbub), I set up a website to showcase my work to both publishers and my potential readers.

I encourage all new writers, film makers and scribes to give this a go. Whether you are an established author promoting your books to a wider audience or a new writer peddling manuscripts to publishers and agents, having your own site will take your profile to the next level.

As a new or emerging writer, you should consider creating a readership or platform, to help you get published.

Similarly, student and amateur film makers or indeed any film makers will get noticed and build credibility by setting up a web presence. Adding all their film projects to a website and, with targeted optimisation, social interaction and publicity, their films will start to gain an audience of followers.

7 Top Tips For Creating A Writing Showcase

I'm going to share some of my top tips for writers to create a showcase of their material to potential agents and at the same time build a fan base of followers.

1. Research And Plan 

Research, brainstorm and plan your site before you dive off and start looking for website providers. As you would begin a novel or screenplay, start planning your site with a blank canvas.

* Setting short and long term goals and objectives for your site will steer you in the right direction. 

* Brainstorm all possible avenues of research and even consider earning a small revenue from your site.

* Analysing your strengths and weaknesses will help you recognise the opportunities that lie ahead of you, such as getting in front of an Agent and looking the business.

* Prepping up and setting objectives at this stage will pay off later on.

2. Build Your ‘Author’s Brand’. 

Essentially, you should create a recognisable and trusted ‘brand’ with style, layout and content.

* Decide your brand’s colours, themes, fonts, styles, layouts and design. 

* Keep it stylish and consistent across all pages, avoiding cheap clip art and flashy animation.

* Don’t just have an author’s profile, punch above your weight and look the business.

* Create an impression that is suitable for your book market and the position you want to fill within it. 

* Should your site look clean and smart? Or busy and full? Should it be young and modern or traditional and conventional? Do you want to portray an image of a writer, screenwriter or film maker? The look and feel of these options will be different so be guided by your target audience and aims and ambitions.

* The best looking sites are often clean and simple with a light and airy feel and a spacious design. Avoid heavy and dark backgrounds and overuse of flashy objects. It jars and gets on most people’s nerves. Even with fast speed broadband, they also take so long to download and often people give up before they find the solution you’re offering. 

3. Map Your Navigation

Create a navigation menu with different relevant tabs, aiming to have all your work featured as well as any other expertise and skills a publisher may find interesting.

* First and foremost, only go for a CMS: Content Management System. A CMS is software or an ‘admin’ area for managing your website content. It’s the engine that allows you to manage the site, add content and gives you control 24/7. It also makes life easier and is way, way cheaper than having to constantly ask your developer to add content for you. That is just not an option!

* Today, most websites are developed for you to log in and manage your ‘front end’ (what people see) by making changes to the ‘back end’ (your admin or CMS). 

* If you are developing a site with a development company then insist on having your own bespoke admin section so you have complete control of your site. 

* This admin should enable you to control page content, your banners, layout, navigation and page order. 

* Learn about navigation and terms that will make you familiar with creating a simple to use menu for your visitors and potential Publishers to find what they are looking for. Use the 3 click rule – three quick clicks to hunt down the relevant page.

4. Choose A Website

Decide if you are going to start with a simple blog or possibly check out free websites and pay monthly sites as there as some fantastic resources available.

* There is an abundance of great free sites out there and even if you want an imaginative project you can get it for nearly nothing or completely free. 

* Even though most of us will flinch at the word ‘paid’, many paid sites don’t have to have the ‘ouch’ factor and may be precisely what you’re looking for.

* Just as you would host guests at a party or event, there are numerous website providers who will ‘host’ your site for you and throw in a bundle of entertainment, party poppers and hampers of goodies.

* Discover the difference between website software, a hosted website and a pay monthly site or consider building a bespoke website.

* If you go the bespoke route, ensure you know how to work with developers.

5. Get Sticky 

Start communicating with your visitors through good content and add value by uploading articles and snippets of your writing. 

Good quality content with regularly updated articles keeps your site fresh and alive. It is the lifeblood of your site. At the same time it keeps the search engines coming back to crawl your site and it becomes a traffic builder.

* Make your content ‘sticky’ so your audience keeps coming back – this means new, fresh and constant updates, which Google loves. 

* Don’t throw up a few pages and then forget about it. Instead, use your site as the ‘window’ to your writing potential. A publisher needs to believe you are worth a punt.

* The term ‘Sticky Content’ refers to ensuring your visitors stick when they land on your site pages, like a fly that fastens onto a sticky fly trap. 

* Always have topical, dynamic content. Content includes text, articles, forums, data, member or user profiles, reviews, feeds, jobs, news, products, merchandise tables, visual and creative graphics, images and animations as well as audio and video files. 

* Get visitors recommending the site to others. If you are building a platform, this is all crucial to driving and maintaining traffic.

6. Optimise Traffic

With your page plan and navigation menu set out, decide on your primary keywords to use in Page Optimisation

* Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and think like them in order to find your keywords. 

* The same way you would set up a character in a novel or screenplay, decide on your ideal visitor’s persona. By knowing your ideal target audience, you can establish where they hang out and thus define keywords aimed to get them to find your site.

* An example of some keywords to optimise would be ‘writer in x county’, ‘new writer in x town’, or ‘x [your genre] writer in x town’. 

* If you are setting up a book club to build your platform, consider using book club in your town and country. 

* Or if you have grander plans for your site, go all hell for leather and brainstorm all possible ways in which a browser could find you. 

* Use SEO Tools to ensure you get all the right keywords.

* Start building your ‘platform’ of fans and followers with keywords. Make sure all your pages have these words in the title and the page description. To find out more about SEO, you may find attending one of my workshops is helpful.  

7. Build Ongoing Traffic

Start a link building campaign to create back links by contacting book clubs or other new writers in the area and ask for links, also request link swaps with online writing services.

* Set up a social network on Facebook and Twitter and join discussions groups. 

*Everyone is communicating online so it’s essential to get into conversational mode. It can be a huge ‘time hoover’ so take gentle social media steps rather than crashing into it and finding you can’t cope.

* Send interesting and newsworthy press releases to local, regional and national media and ensure you optimise your release by using your keywords throughout. 

* This will help you to get good quality links back to your site and at the same time give you exposure in the press. Paula was constantly in her local press as she tried to get her short film funded, see her press clips on her news page. Publishers like to see a proactive author, who will work tirelessly to get their work promoted. She also built traffic for her business through relentless PR campaigns, which works twofold: media exposure and traffic through links.

Passion And Success

I believe that passion and energy equals success. So don’t be fazed by the fact that you’re a new or unknown writer. Talk about your writing and love for a particular genre. Show examples of your sparkling narrative or your action packed scripts. 

Use your energy and eagerness to inspire other new writers. It will bring a sense of community to your website as well as personal gratification. Draw on your skills and expertise to inspire people you deal with you on a daily basis, even if it is only helping and guiding them in whatever genre you love.

And use every opportunity to bestow confidence, motivate and stir people around you - it’s a huge buzz!

The more you work at your website to make it a success, the more excited and empowered you will become. Think about what you have achieved so far and what you will achieve next. Day dream or sky dream by searching the endless blue to visualise the goals you set for both your website and your books to be published or your scripts to be produced. 

A clear, intense vision makes you believe you will achieve them. Have an image in your mind of where you are going and how successful your writing will become. This will enrich your nectar and fuel your passion, which in turn will energise you and your writing, turning it into a magnet and a beehive of success.

Best wishes for your website!'

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