Mistake 69: Not Having a Professional Website

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from 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from the Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: A Web presence is a must for a writer. Yet too many writers have none, or they consider it a secondary priority and put forth a presence that shows minimal interest or effort.

The solution:
Your Web site is probably going to be the way most people get an impression of you, so it behooves you to put time, effort, and money into making sure it represents you well. While there are do-it-yourself kits available, there is an art to Web site design just like there is an art to writing, and if computers really aren’t your thing, it might be worth it to consult with those who know the art.

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Consider the goal of your Web site. What are you trying to achieve with it? Are you primarily promoting yourself, or your writing? The two are not necessarily the same thing. For a while I was doing too much with my Web site, trying to promote my books, my speaking career, my teaching, etc. When your message is too broad, it doesn’t get across. So the first thing is to decide what your goal is. As with most other things, less is more. There is often a desire to go with all the bells and whistles that can be loaded on a Web site these days, but think about how you feel when you hit a site that takes forever to load. You want an opening page that is just that: a single page that requires little to no scrolling.

A good spin-off marketing tool from your Web site is an e-mail list you can use for a newsletter. This is another very cost-effective marketing tool.