Many writers ask me whether they should have a website, as well as writing on other platforms. My answer is always the same, yes it is essential. Websites are notorious as needing a lot of time and work before you monetise them. Not everything we do as writers should bring in instant income. Sometimes you have to play the long game. Put the foundations down now, for work further on.
When I started my website, I could have used google ad’s to make a small amount of money. I didn’t, the followers I had would have made me 1p a month, what was the point. Now I have a substantial following, I have still not monetised my website. I want my readers to have a pleasant experience when they visit. I don’t want the bombarded with adverts.
This is not to say you can’t make money from your website, because you can. Putting the finances aside though, a website is essential to have as a portfolio of your work. A place where prospective employers can come and see your work. A place to show a sample of your writing. Once you have established your website you can then use it to advertise your services.
Have a Set Niche
On Medium, I tend to write about a range of subjects. A reader the other day commented on what a diverse collection of work I have. This is acceptable on Medium. It is one of the factors I love about the site, you can write about anything and everything. I keep my work segregated by putting this work in different publications. I am aware that some people follow my publications if they are only interested in one niche, rather than me. This is the beauty of Medium it is a creative space for all.
This is not the same for your website. I have tried to post all my work to my website and it didn’t work. My growth over a year was a handful of followers. This is because people search for specific topics they are interested in and then follow. Since cutting my website down to one niche I have had a 400% increase in followers in a year. The growth has even taken me by surprise. Every time I publish I attract a handful of followers.
You have to have a set niche for your website. It was the advice I didn’t follow at the beginning and I suffered for it. If you are sat there saying, but how do I cut it down to one niche. I didn’t say only have one website, have as many as you can manage. For each website though, only have one niche.
Posting Between Your Website and Medium
The niche that my website is set on his writing tips and author help. The tagline being ‘writing tips for all. I also have a publication on Medium dedicated to writing tips called The Everyday Writer. Between these two areas, many of my posts are similar if not the same. To increase my following I always publish to my website first. I want this to be the primary source of my article.
Once the post is published, I pull the article through to Medium using their import tool. For those that are not sure, click on stories and then import. Put the URL for the post and Medium does the rest for you. A word of warning, always look at the formatting to ensure it works for Medium. I have to alter spaces and play with titles, but the rest is fine.
By using Medium’s import tool you are bringing through all the appropriate links. This will not damage your SEO (Search engine optimisation) on your website. The other advantage is that Medium adds a link to your website at the bottom of the article. Readers can click straight through.
You have a post on Medium, that you can get paid for. You have a link back to your website and nothing affects your SEO. A win, win situation.
Sell Products on Your Website
Although I don’t run advertisements on my website to make money, I have found other ways to monetise it. On my website is a dedicated link to my mentoring course, including testimonials from writers. There are also links to my other social media. This is essential for a website. I would advise everyone to put in the time and effort to make their website their splash page. I will describe how to do this next.
As I concentrate on writing tips, the advertisement for my coaching business is well suited. Writers who need advice visit for the article and then consider working with me as a coach. This is important, your services will only sell if they are related to your niche. I wouldn’t get many customers if I spoke about writing tips and then advertised flower arranging.
The other products I sell on my website are my novels. Here is a place where people have invested in getting to know the writer, they might be tempted to pick up your book. Finally, this month I have used the following on my website to give other writers a step up. I have introduced a feature called Showcase Sunday where I showcase the writers I am working with. Each writer has the opportunity to guest blog on my website. This not only gives them extra exposure, but I can show the progress writers on my coaching course make.
Make Your Website a Splash Page
We have all complained when sites like Instagram and Twitter offer you one link to add to your profile. Which do I use my Medium account, my website or my Facebook?
Then along came a site called Linktree that solved the problem. Linktree for those that don’t know allows you to put multiple links on a landing page. You then copy the Linktree link, by clicking on it your reader can get links to all your social media.
However, I have found an even better way of doing this. You create your splash page on your website. A splash page is a page that has all your links to your social media. Exactly like Linktree, but you own and control it. You also send people straight to your website for it, rather than a third party.
Some companies will create a splash page for you, but it is so easy to do why bother paying.
How to create a splash page.
- First, open your website up and add a page. Call is something like, links or about me.
- Add to the text of the page all your social media links. This can be pictures or a simple heading. I went for a simple heading.
- Highlights these headings and link your social media to them. Like you would add a link to another article from a post.
- Add whatever you want, but make it eye-catching and not too long.
- Publish the page and then take the link from the page.
- Put this on all your social media.
You have created a link page that is connected to your website.Here is mine if you wish to see this in action.
Hopefully, through these tips, you have seen the importance of a website and are eager to start one. Although it should be an essential part of your journey there is no need to rush it. You can start designing your website now and spend a couple of months getting it right. You can build a website without publishing it. Spend moments here and there, until you are happy with it. If you still need a hand I can help you through my coaching program.
Look at the websites of people you admire, if you need advice and help. This does not need to be an expensive part of your writing journey, my website costs me $36 a year. I don’t subscribe to the expensive packages, I have the minimal to make it work for me. If you want to spend a couple of months working on the website before you publish, use a free package on WordPress. When you are ready then invest in a domain name. I would always suggest having a personal domain name as without one, your address if very long. It also does not look very professional.
Setting a website up can seem daunting at first. It is not as difficult as it seems. The positives of having an area to showcase your work and build a genuine following, far outweigh the struggle. A website is your area to put your personality into. I am very proud of my website and so will you be when you have completed it.