Saturday, October 5, 2013

Set Up Your Site

The first step in making money as a freelance writer is to establish your presence on the web. Whether or not you already have published work online, prospective employers are going to be searching for it. That means you need to make sure Google has lots to say about you – with the information you want known.

Start by purchasing your name as a domain name. New Customers get 25% off at GoDaddy.com. You can buy domain names for around $10 a year. If your preferred name isn’t available, get as close as you can. I was lucky enough to snag http://www.MarciaFrost.com. Had it been taken, I would have considered MarciaLFrost.com, MLF, or any other names that could be associated to me.

I’m often asked if it is important that you get a “.com” The answer is that it’s not as important as it once was. Just be practical. If you are located in the United States, you don’t want Name.ca (Canada). You also don’t want to use .org if you aren’t an organization because someone can come back and claim ownership if they really are an organization with that name. Stick with .com, .net and .info as your best bets.

Now that you have a site, you’ll want to get a hosting company. I happen to like IX Webhosting with plans from $3.95 a month. They have free setup and allow you to host many different domains, something you will most likely want to do at some point. It’s very easy to set up your site with them and they always answer the phone and help out if there is a problem.

Once you have your domain set up you’ll want to set up your page. At the beginning of your freelance career you will probably just need one page. For example, if you go to http://www.MarciaFrost.com, you’ll see that my page clicks through to pages of stories for other publications. Unless you have hundreds of stories to showcase, don’t lead people into clicking pages to get to pages.

You can, however, follow my page for basic format. Start with a photo and a biography. Include your training and education, as well as companies you have worked for. Then, list any examples of your work that you have. If all of the work you have done so far is offline, scan some of it and upload it into your server so you can link to it. (You’ll find step-by-step instructions at IX Webhosting for linking).

If you don’t have a lot that you can actually show, I would suggest uploading a resume. Include awards, accolades and any skills you may have.

After you have proofread and re-read your site, it’s time to start telling people about it. Get started by ordering business cards. You can get 250 premium quality, color business cards free at Vistaprint , or pay a few dollars for even nicer ones. You don’t need to get fancy. Simply include your name, contact information and your new website – big and bold. 

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