With about one-third of the workforce now freelancing, you can probably guess that among writers, the figure is at least that high. If you’ve been writing for awhile, you might want to start publishing your work on your own website.
For writers to succeed, they need to know the characteristics of a good website.
While many freelance writers use online software to publish and format their texts, they may not also be good at building or marketing a website. Experience with content management systems like WordPress might be helpful, a single freelance writer typically doesn’t have the time to maintain a complex site.
If you’ve got the chops for turning out great content, you might be wondering how you can get the traffic that will show customers what you can do.
Make sure that you include these 7 key characteristics of a good website and you’ll start to see the results you want in no time at all.
1. Great Content
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ve got to make sure you have strong content on your page. You need your content to be informative while also establishing your own voice.
Your content is the path through which you’ll build brand authority and trust from your audience. If visitors are coming to you curious about whether to purchase a product or start using a service, you could be the one to convince them one way or another.
Use the right keywords for good search engine rankings.
Visitors will judge your page by its cover, so to speak. The visual design, the quality of your images, and the amount or lack of clutter on your page will shape your first impression on visitors.
More importantly, your information has to be accurate, with links to back up facts and statistics. For viewers to at least see that your writing links to other articles show that there is some kind of research behind it.
They also need your site to perform. An untended site with dead ends, error pages, and pages that don’t load will make your site look less like it has credibility.
See if you can get customer or editor reviews. This will show more of your brand or company authority.
If you accept payments or charge for services on your site, be sure that you have trusted payment channels. Use HTTPS whenever possible to reassure users that you have a secure site.
You want your writing to stand up on its own, so why clutter your page with a bunch of logos and colors. Find a simple color palette and simple fonts to create the basis of your site’s own style guide.
A simple design can be more professional as it allows visitors to focus on the content. A website with too many images to load, lots of gifs, or auto-playing videos will send your visitors running for the hills.
Get your message to visitors through simple choices that don’t distract them from your work. Bold colors should be used sparingly and meaningfully.
Ask friends what they think about your top 3 font choices. A good looking font that’s hard to read isn’t worth the stress on your readers. One of the characteristics of a good website is that it’s easy on the eyes.
For an example of simple navigation, check out this page for installment loans for bad credit.
4. Getting Around
How many submenus does your page have? If the answer is more than zero, get rid of them. Your freelance writing site needs to be simple to use allowing visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Your most essential links need to be on every page. If users need to think too hard about where to click, you’ll lose their attention and maybe their trust in you.
Every single page should be accessible with two clicks. If information about your writing business is buried, people may not be able to learn what they need to.
5. Stand Out
A successful website is one that stands out. With a memorable design, a great color scheme, and the right kind of resources, you’ll get repeat visitors.
Think about who your target market is. Figure out where there’s a hole in the market and try to offer something new.
If you want to be a resource for other writers, feel free to give tips and take feedback. Find ways they can reach out to you with their questions and figure out how you can usefully respond to them.
Create a conversation among other writers and people who look toward your service will see what an authority you are.
6. Update Regularly
A website isn’t a static thing that you put together and leave alone. It’s a digital organism that needs to be tended to and is subject to change over time.
Whether it’s due to a shift in your freelance writing business or because of new standards, you need to always leave time for site maintenance.
Just a few years ago, you could design for desktops and forget about your site. Now that mobile browsing has surpassed desktop browsing, you need to design for mobile first.
Along with your own writing examples, think about including a blog, an RSS feed, or at least a Twitter widget so that your site always has something new on it.
One of the characteristics of a good website is one that always gives you a reason to visit.
7. Search Engine Optimization
Your site needs to be easy to find in order to get new business. The added bonus of improving your site’s SEO is that you’ll have to tidy up the design. Along with meta tags and keywords, a site that’s easy to load and easy to read is more beloved by web crawlers.
For crawlers to index your site for search engines, make sure you get rid of duplicated posts, redundancies, and add local search terms. This is one of the best ways to direct traffic to your site.
If you specialize in writing about machine screws in South Austin, Texas, say so. Don’t just write “industrial parts in Texas” in your meta tags. Write “Machine screws for X in South Austin”.
Follow The Characteristics Of A Good Website
A good website won’t just be competitive or attractive. It will draw users back again and again, building loyalty and authority.
Monitor your traffic regularly and make sure that you’re steadily increasing viewers. You’ll get a chance to see which strategies work and which don’t.
For more information about social media traffic, read our rundown of analytics tools to help your business grow.