Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Websites: What Writers Need to Know

Writers are business people too! Infographic from SCORE

The internet offers incredible resources for building an audience and promoting your work. Without spending loads of time and money, you’d love to tap into those that best fit your skills and purposes. But with so many options—and so much confusing tech-speak—it’s hard to know where to start.

This week, I’m slated to teach a workshop on websites and electronic newsletters, two foundational strategies for every artist and writer. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to refresh your web presence, here are some of the tips and strategies for enhancing your web presence:

  • Evaluate: In terms of aesthetics, traffic, content, and investment of money and time, take a considered look at your current web presence and practices versus the presence and practices you desire.
  • Purpose: Whom do you most hope to reach? What outcomes would you most like to achieve? The answers to these questions should be the foundation of your web strategies.
  • Best Practices: Design your website and newsletter with users in mind. With regard to text and special effects, the “less is more” adage prevails. Choose a smart URL, link wisely, make sure you’ve got good mobile optimization, and attend to SEO and SERP concerns. Develop content that you can tap for multiple purposes. Make sure everything is clean, correct, and up-to-date.
  • Guard your investment: Don’t let a website or newsletter consume inordinate amounts of time and/or money. Secure your site against hackers. Avoid scams by never clicking through on links embedded in emails, even those that arrive via your website.
  • Evaluate: Don’t obsess over your analytics, but study them periodically to determine which web practices you should continue and which you should modify or cut.

Author of seventeen books published by six different presses, Deb Vanasse teaches on topics related to writing and publishing. She also edits and coaches writers of fiction and nonfiction. After thirty-six years in Alaska, she now lives on the north coast of Oregon between Astoria and Seaside.