Brand Your Career With A Web site

gregorywotr_002.gifThe Writer-preneur: Technology to Expand Your Career

By Gregory A. Kompes

Every writer needs a Web site. These virtual sales brochures brand you as an expert in your niche. When well-designed, Web sites create a positive first impression with your editors, agents, publishers, clients and readers. By following these four steps, you’ll have a great site online in no time, for under $60 a year.

Step One: Purchase a domain name that reflects you, your writing, or your services. It’s good to be creative, but important to maintain a professional image. No matter what domain name you choose, it’s a good idea to also purchase your own name (i.e. www.gregorykompes.com), before someone else does.

I use and highly recommend FabulistFlashDomains.com where domain names are only $9 a year and site hosting starts at $3.99 a month. (Or ask other WOTR columnists which domain providers they like—there are a lot of them out there.) Most offer an annual payment that adds convenience and saves you money.

Step Two: Web sites need a “host” or a place to live online in order to be accessible to viewers. An internet search for “website host services” will jumpstart your research. When selecting a site host, avoid the “free” hosting sites because they put advertising banners on your site creating an unprofessional look. Many site hosts offer banner-free services starting at $3.99 a month. As your career grows, so will your reader following and website needs. It’s good to start small and add services as you need them, so select a host that offers upgradeable services.

Step Three: Create site content that promotes you, your services, and your books. Take Jenna Glatzer (www.jennaglatzer.com), author or ghostwriter of 16 books, as an example. Glatzer describes her site: “I have info about each of my books, along with my bio, media appearances, reviews, free articles for reprint, frequently asked questions, and contact info.” Websites are perfect for selling books, advertising services, blogging, and capturing your reader fan base through e-mail subscriber lists and newsletters. Future columns will explore these topics in more detail.

Step Four: Build a professional-looking website. Some site hosts offer easy templates. If you can use PowerPoint, you’ll quickly understand Web site creation software such as FrontPage, Publisher, or Website Tonight. If you’re interested in learning the simple website programming language HTML, W3Schools.com has an excellent (and free) HTML tutorial. Christina Katz builds this zine in Contribute, which is inexpensive and easy to learn.
Or, if you are not technically inclined, you may want to hire someone build your site for you. After it’s done, follow your host’s upload instructions (or have your hired gun do so for you) and your site will start promoting you 24-7.

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.

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