Turning a Website into a Revenue Generating Asset
It is very rare that I write a blog post specifically targeted at one group of people, but today I make an exception. This post goes out to all of the aspiring writers who are just getting started and trying to make their way in a world where clients can be elusive. If you’re not a writer, most of these concepts will transcend between industries, but I’ll forgive those non-wordsmiths for clicking off this post- just this once.
Crossing the chasm from being a talented writer to being a profitable writer poses a few challenges, the greatest arguably being the ability to promote yourself and get your name “out-there”. Realizing that a website was one way for me to do it, I set up my first website about 4 years ago. You can see it at http://www.thewriteguy.net. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it started to get me noticed- and you gotta start somewhere. It really doesn’t matter if your goal is to ghostwrite novels, whitepapers, web content, blog posts, or brochures. You’ll need to represent yourself online. Here are a few ways that a website can make you money.
If it hasn’t happened yet, sooner or later a potential client will ask you “Do you have a website where I can see some of your work?” If your answer is “No”, you will immediately lose some credibility with that client. You might even lose the job to someone that does have a website. Now, if you’ve got a huge book of business and a client base like Claudia Suzanne’s, then you can probably salvage the client. But if you’re new, do you really want to risk it?
One of my first writing gigs was for a company that needed a whitepaper written. They found me by doing an internet search for a copywriter. It wasn’t a huge job, but it made me roughly $2000 for 10-15 hours of work. That’s an hourly rate I can’t complain about and I later did a second similar job for them. Thank you website!
Many clients will want to hear from others that have hired you. Even if your previous jobs were small, the value of having a satisfied client sing your praises is immense. Your website provides a platform for you to list out all of your previous clients and what they had to say about your work. Granted, if you are only ghostwriting novels, you may not be able to name your clients, but even having an anonymous quote from them is better than nothing.
Clients will often want to see some examples of your writing. Since you probably can’t hand over the latest manuscript from the novel you’re ghostwriting, you’ll want to create other examples. I find that a blog is very useful for this purpose. It gives a potential client the opportunity to read some of your work and get a “feel” for what you do.
If you create a page on your site letting people know more about you, it’s amazing how much rapport your can actually build through your website. Add in a photo of your family (make sure to include your pet) and potential clients see you as a person rather than just a vendor. Want to really hit a home run here? Consider adding video to your site. 90 seconds of “who you are” and “what you do” can help you to ink more deals.
A Few Final Words…
My first year as a writer I grossed about $60k. Two years later that was over $150k. I’m telling you this NOT to impress you, BUT RATHER to impress upon you that it can be done. How did I do it? First, by leveraging a website and adding new content to it regularly. Second, by being flexible. We all want those $50,000+ jobs, but the reality is that there are tens of thousands of companies out there who need writers. Most of them look to outsource writing jobs rather than pay full-time employees. If you reach out to them, you’ll find that there are plenty of smaller jobs out there to keep you busy and keep money in your bank account. Be flexible, have an open mind, be willing to travel down that “road less traveled” and you can have a profitable writing career sooner than you think!