Writers, as a group, desperately need help with their websites.
For many reasons writers are often on their own when designing a savvy plan for their websites and other
online marketing. There are some obstacles to overcome: 1) techno-phobia, 2) lack of funds, and 3) limited time.
But writers know they need an Internet presence, so they do what they can to get something …
anything … posted. As a result, many of their websites are unfocused and ineffective.
I hate to say it, but many of these websites
actually detract from a writer’s professionalism.
I have developed presentations especially for writers that strip away some of the mystery about websites.
These presentations have been honed over time and have been shown to
be effective and understandable to writers.
A webmaster since 1994, I have created websites for professionals and
businesses, but now I work more in helping people with managing their
online content. Recently, I’ve focused much of my attention on writers
and their needs. After my double session for the Maryland Writers’ Association in 2004, several attendees told me that it had been the best presentation they’d attended on
While I’d like to claim that it was due to my superior teaching skills, it’s more probably because writers, as a group, desperately need help with their
Getting the most from your Author Website!
You don’t need to be a technical wizard.
· Mounting your own site vs. group sites;
· Defining the purpose and focus of your site;
· Writing for the Internet—how to present your story;
· Understanding the fundamentals of webpage design—developing a critical eye;
· Maintaining your site for the long run.
Managing Your Online Writer's Identity
Anything you do or say on the Internet is available for
anyone to see. Handle your writer's identity with care.
· Using social network sites like Facebook;
· To blog on not to blog, that is the question;
· Commenting constructively to enhance your reputation;
· Working on gaining quality inbound links to
· Search for yourself and your books—you may be
Maximize Marketing with a Writer's Website
Set up your website to monitor its effectiveness. Internet marketing is a process, not an event.
· Mysteries of search engine spiders;
· Effective use of directories;
· Myths of link swapping and other so-called wisdoms;
· Using metatags for control;
· How to ensure return visitors;
· Using a media page.
Creating a sticky website
An effective website is one of the most useful marketing tools a writer can have, but writing for a website is different
from writing a book or article.
· Telling a compelling story—it’s not the same as writing for print;
· A webpage is a visual medium and should look more like a billboard or a TV ad than a document;
· Don’t bore your surfers with say, a gallery of tiny photos to click;
· How to entice your website visitors to return again and again.
Websites for Unpublished Writers
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Ginny Stibolt taught technical writing at a community college in
Maryland before she opened a computer retail store in 1981.
She and her staff sold computers with 16K (!) of memory, and taught beginning to advanced computing courses.
In those days, the general population had no idea of what to do with a computer.
Ginny has been working with computers professionally
In 1994, Ginny developed and maintained the website for her software company until she sold the business in 2000.
She then worked for the Business and Computer Division at another
Maryland community college where she developed the division's web
pages and taught business and computer courses. Always
entrepreneur, she started Sky-bolt Enterprises in 2001. Ginny has a mission to help writers and other professionals maximize
their web presence through practical design and good marketing. She’s been known to contact perfect strangers with ideas for
their web pages. www.websiteideas4writers.com
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Please let me know if you need more information or references.
If I can create a website, anyone can! After Ginny’s
class at the First Coast Writers' Festival, I purchased the Microsoft FrontPage software, took it home, and dug in.
For my first attempt, I chose one of the formats included in the
software package. I worked for several days until I was happy with the results.
Ginny provided several suggestions for improvement. I will add more
pages to the site as I update.
The best thing? I gained an enormous amount of confidence and pride from learning to do it myself. After all, I am the author, so I should be responsible for my own website. I plan to launch a second site related to writing within the next few months. This time, I may stretch my brain and do the page designs from scratch. Why not?
I was dragged into the computer generation. A few years back, I couldn’t even turn one on without breaking into a cold sweat. No one should shy away from at least trying!
Rhett DeVane, Southern Mainstream Fiction Author