by Diane Holmes, Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book, founder of Pitch University.
Ah, the well-designed website!
Sigh. Writers have some craptastic websites, don’t they? No, I don’t mean you. I mean the “other” writers.
There are exceptions, writers who not only write good content, but also develop a well-designed, effective website.
But most writers have a do-it-yourself mentality (due to budget), so they figure out how to get something “up,” and they equate “something” with “awesome.”
#1 It looks homemade.
You think: “Look, Ma, I made that!”
They think: “If this represents the best they have to offer, then it’s not up to our standards.”
* Your website should be just as professional as your client’s website. Any client? No. Your best client.
If your clients don’t own websites, then aim to match or exceed the sites they consider similar to yours.
#2 I can’t read this mess.
You think: “I’ve got everything I need up there and it looks great.”
They think: “I can’t see that tiny font, and I especially can’t read that gray-colored font on that darker gray background or that weird glow effect. And there’s so much freaking clutter, I can’t tell what to look at.”
* Reading, in the internet world, means skimming and finding your way around the site. Your site visitors need to be able to skim your homepage in a couple second, get the key information, and decide to stay.
#3 Who is your customer, client, or buyer?
You think: “I like to write and sell my writing. I’m for hire!” (Or “I have a book!!!”
They think: “I’m looking for something specific, and all I see here is someone who generally likes to write and is desperate for work.”
* You should be thinking: “I know who you are, and I’m here to delight you.”
Then focus on just that portion of the population who will really get you and who you’ll really delight.
#4 We need to talk about your personality.
You think: “I have to include this information.”
They think: “There’s nothing here that really gets me excited; it’s just information.”
* Have a voice. Create a relationship. Be interesting, dynamic, and unique. Make them say, “That’s the guy! I’d love to work with him.”
You think: “Hire me now!!! Call in the next 30 seconds! I’m excellent and wonderful combined with chocolate.”
They think: “Hey, I’m in control of this visit, and I’m clicking the back button right now.”
* You can’t force people to want your writing. But you can be excited about what you do and present it so that your perfect audience recognizes you as amazing.
#5 Info, info, info… all about you.
You think: “They came to the website to find out about me, me, me.”
They think: “I’m going to the website to see if there’s something I want.”
* You should be thinking: “They’re coming to my website wanting and needing something specific, and I’ll show them I have the perfect solution.”
Not communicating the problem or need you’re solving and the benefit you’re providing is a huge mistake. That’s how visitors decide if the website and YOU are a match to what they were hoping to find.
Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.
She’s the Founder and Chief Alchemist of Pitch University.