5 Reasons Every Writer Needs a Web Presence and Where to Start

I recently talked to a friend who was having an article published in a well-known, highly competitive magazine. She hasn’t yet taken the jump to have a web presence. I tend to forget that I spend thousands of hours online, receive hundreds of newsletters each month and answer over 1000 emails a month. I don’t realize that the words “blog,” “SEO,” “keywords,” “meta tags,” and even “book marketing” are not terms most people go to bed thinking about. Or get up at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep and read articles from an online business school giving advice on internet article marketing.

As a writer, do you really need a web site, even if you are just writing articles offline? Yes!

Here are 5 simple reasons why and where to start:

(1) People need to be able to find you. If they like your article in a magazine they will often Google you or look online at the magazine’s web site to see how to contact you. It’s good if you have an email, but you don’t want that on the magazine’s web site or you will soon be bombarded with spam. And it may sound silly, but if you don’t have a web site and are trying to market yourself or your business in some ways, it’s assumed you just don’t know what you are doing.

Anyone who has a business either designs or hires someone to design a web site for them. Would you have a delivery service without a vehicle or a restaurant without a menu? That’s you without a web site. Just do it.

(2) The good news is that you really can do your own site. Gone are the times when we had to hire web designers at $75-$200 per hour (and yes, I was a web designer, so I am allowed to say that.) Now you can whip up a presence on a blogging service like wordpress.com – for free– and have the added benefit of being “pinged” and getting your fresh content out there. (FYI: If you don’t know what “ping” means, don’t worry about it. Just know when you hit the “publish” button WordPress will take care of letting the search engines know about you.)

(3) Create some profiles so people can find you. If you set up a blog or web site, that’s a great place to send people to who are looking for your fresh content, latest publications, profile and how to hire you. But if they just Google your name, the odds are that they may not find you on the first few pages, especially if you have a common name (and millions of names are “common” on the Internet.) So go to web sites like Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, Facebook.com, Squidoo.com, linkedin.com, and even Myspace.com and mess around to create a profile that at least sends people back to your site. The size of these social networks help them rank high and people will be able to find you more easily.

(4) Start writing articles to give away. Yes, I know, if you are a paid writer that sounds less than appealing. But there are some perks:

  • Magazine/newsletter editors often have extra space in their publications or online content and may put in some keywords to find an article or expert writer on that topic for the space they are trying to fit. I’ve been there and found articles/writers from their free articles online; I’ve also been a writer whom magazines have found because of my free articles.
  • You need to become known as an expert in your niche field, and that takes more than 2-3 articles on your topic each year in hard-copy magazines. Marketing on the web with articles can help make it impossible for people to get away from you when they type in keywords you have taken over. And there are thousands of keyword phrases no one is writing about, for example, “marketing in the catering business article” is a term that, according to an keyword service, not one web site has targeted. Same with “article on direct marketing personal selling” Hmmm…  With just a few clicks you can know what phrases in your niche aren’t being clicked on. See my blog “faves” for my favorite service where I get this info!
  • You can find what topics are most appealing by how many clicks they get and then query magazines on these topics. It seems it’s never the topics you would expect that have a lot of hits. Articles sites like www.ezinearticles.comand ideamarketers.com are great ways to get your content out there and then build on it for your queries.

(5) If you’re a writer you are assuming that there are a few other people out there who are interested in your topic. Find them! Go to social networks like Squidoo.com or Ning.com and find the groups. On Ning.com for example, each group you participate in you are given a “page” where you can also blog. Most Ning sites have it set up so YOUR blog posts to the main site of the web page automatically.

Once you get the hang of these, start your own social network and be the founder of the hub, creating the ability to be considered the expert. Plus, you can email all the members with a touch of a keystroke. (Gold!) Participating in these networks is great because you can also ask for feedback, quotes, anecdotes  dexamples from people, create a poll, etc. These are all helpful in writing new articles.

In the past, having a web site could seem overwhelming. Learning to program html, uploading via ftp, using meta tags and paying those monthly service fees whether you made 2-cents or not was draining–sometimes to your spirit of the project, sometimes to the pocketbook. Today, with blogs having great template, easy to use programs, and the ability to make them into Widgets and get them on people’s web sites all over… the possibilities for exposure are endless.

And the sooner you start, the better your odds will be over the next writer who specializes in your topic and finally decides to get online next year. One of the reasons my organization still ranks incredibly high on the major search engines is because I’ve been online since 1997.

Keep me posted on your progress!

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

 5 Reasons Every Writer Needs a Web Presence and Where to Start
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Comments

  1. samsoneffect says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I see that you saw I linked this article to my marketing for writers blog. You have a wealth of info here. If you are ever interested in guest writing for my blog, let me know. I am looking for people with book marketing experience and the ability to communicate it to other authors.

    Tony Eldridge
    Author of The Samson Effect

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