Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why entrepreneurs and creatives need a great website

Now that I've released a few books, I've decided to revamp my author site. If you’re any sort of entrepreneur or creative (e/c) such as an author, photographer or actor, I believe you need a website, too. And not just any website, one that’s competitive with your competitors while reflecting your branding and work.  

Especially in this era of fragmentation, it’s important to have one place where your readers/customers/clients (r/c/c) can learn about all things you. Sending a prospective r/c/c to Instagram, Pinterest or even a Facebook business page or YouTube channel is a fragmented approach, without additional content to tie all of your social media together. Having all of your links and information in one place makes it easier for people to find you, learn about you, and share your information. 

For example, e/cs need some sort of media kit, including at minimum a downloadable photo and resume, and preferably assorted other documents such as a press release and links to or the actual articles you’ve written or that have been written about you. You should have samples of your work, such as book blurbs and covers for an author. One take on what goes in a media kit is here.

Even if you’re just starting out, you need to show the world you’re ready to do the job. It's not just about what you think, it's whether prospective clients will like it and want to explore. A basic site may suffice, but most won’t convey the impression that you’re a pro. If you don’t believe me, search sites for your field. Find your top 5 favorites. How does yours compare?

Though there are many templates out there and free website builders such as weebly and wix, I chose to hire a designer. While I have a good sense of what I want, I don’t have the graphic arts skills or, say, high-level Photoshop skills, to execute my vision. I found my designer back in 2006 by looking at dozens of author sites. If I found one I liked, I looked at that designer's portfolio (there's usually a link at the bottom of the home page). I stayed with her for my redesign because I like the way her designs have evolved over the years.

Be aware that the process can take longer than you think. Your designer may be too busy to start on yours right away. So the sooner you start the process, the sooner you'll be good to go.  

And even if you hire a designer, you'll still have a lot of work to do. Some decisions you'll need to make include: 
--What colors do you like or represent your brand? 
--What images do you want on the home page? 
--How many pages do you want?
--What content will go on each page? You'll need to write it.
--What should be on the menu bar?
--Do you want animation? 

Some tips for freelancers' sites are here.

Looking forward to revealing my new site very soon. Hope readers like it as much as I do.


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