How To Build A Writer's Website An online tutorial by Ruby Bayan
When I decided to go into full time freelance writing back in 1998, I made a simultaneous decision to build a website where I could show editors and publishers that I actually knew how to write. With the little HTML I had learned from a previous career, I posted copies of the "Simple Joys" column I wrote for a print magazine. My first website was plain and minimal; and it was hosted by AOL, so it was free.
As my clips and writing credentials grew, so did my site, and, fortunately, my writing business. In December 2000, I thought it was time to get my own identity as a professional writer. I bought a domain name, signed up with a hosting service, and pulled out of AOL's free community. I became firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slowly but steadily, editors, fellow writers, and visitors from all walks of life came to explore my site and read my work. Many left inspiring and heartwarming comments about the site design, the stories I told, and the overall impact of my online presence.
In 2002, Writer's Digest noticed my site and awarded it runner-up in their Best Writer's Sites contest. Their criteria: presentation, ease of use, and marketing effectiveness. It helped that prior to that, I had the opportunity to write features for a Web development site, WriteEdge.com. Through the research required to write the features, I learned how to design a site that's optimized for navigation and marketing.
[Click image for full-res version.]
The Writer's Digest award is testimony that I was on the right track: I built a site that effectively showcases my work and sells my expertise as a writer. An award from an international community of my peers gave me the courage to develop this tutorial on how to build a writer's showcase site.
In the next pages, I will be sharing with you, in the most conversational, easy-to-follow manner I can muster, the basic steps in building a site specifically for writers who want to display their work and promote their writing business.
You will find one- or two-sentence "Tips" at strategic places within the chapters. Also scattered all over the tutorial are links to recommended sites for additional reference.
I must admit, though, that this tutorial is just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of experts on site design and the craft of writing are out there - please consider checking them out as well. For now, let me give you your first tools in building your very own writer's showcase site. Feel free to write me at email@example.com if you have questions or concerns. -Ruby Bayan, March 2004