Scott Johnston says his Web site starts potential clients off on the right foot. And, oh, what a foot to start out on! Created to promote his freelance skills, Johnston's Web site, www.scottjohnston.com, was chosen from 167 nominees as the Writer's Digest Best Writer's Web Site for 2003.
Sites created and maintained solely by the writer were eligible for the annual competition. The entrants' URLs were then judged on presentation, ease of use and marketing effectiveness. The nominees were narrowed to 10 finalists by the WD staff, and were then evaluated by three final-round judges: Doug White, assistant editor of HOW magazine; Jenny Wohlfarth, former executive editor of ID magazine; and David Leite, winner of last year's competition (www.leitesculinaria.com).
Johnston worked in the corporate world as a copywriter for five years before starting his own freelance business. Now he keeps himself busy with Web copy, newsletters and many other creative endeavors. His services, prices and resume can all be found on his site. He used Frontpage 2000 to create and update the site, which he does four times a year (once a quarter) for approximately 10 hours.
And the Runners-UpAre ...(in alphabetical order)
"I want my site to convey that I'm reliable, creative, experienced and running my own business," Johnston says.
Most of his clients come to him through word of mouth referrals from past employers. Johnston says that once potential clients hear about his skills, they head to his Web site to learn more. This is why he believes having a professional and informative Web site has helped grow and maintain his freelance business.
White likes Johnston's site because, "It's designed to make my job less taxing. I don't have to become an archaeologist to find his e-mail address. I got a good sense of his writing style, but I didn't have to wade through countless pages to do so."
Wohlfarth also compliments the simple and clean design. "The site is very easy to navigate, very intuitive and free of excess bells and whistles that can cloud up communication on the Web. It's a working writer's Web site—not a self-indulged writing Web site—and it gets the job done."
Weighing in with his opinion, Leite says, "Johnston sells himself from the very first page and never lets you forget he has something to offer. He's also made it easy to flip through this cyberportfolio, which ensures a greater number of pages will be read."
As the winner, Johnston receives $250 in software. The nine other finalists each receive a one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com.
To make it into the Top 10 list from so many entries is an accomplishment. Run your mouse over all the URLs below to check out proven marketing tools used by other writers. Then launch your own site to be eligible for next year's competition. You might even become the next big star!
This article appeared in the October 2003 issue of Writer's Digest.