Author Topic: It's Official!!  (Read 1519 times)

Offline REShirley

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It's Official!!
« on: January 19, 2012, 01:39:18 AM »
I am now officially back in business as a full time freelancer!  WOO HOO!  It's strange that after a few years away it still seems so familiar and so foreign all at the same time.  Sometimes it feels like a never left and sometimes it feels like I'm starting all over again from scratch.

Anyway, just got my fourth assignment since I got back in business and my Web site is up and running and ready to show to editors.  I still have a few of the minor sub pages where you might find a "page under construction" notice (that will be resolved in another day or so,) but for the most part the site is ready to go.  All the important stuff is complete and waiting to be viewed (hopefully by paying editors as well writers and others.)

It's temporarily on a host site pending my own domain.  Check it out at http://www.reshirley.x10.mx

No pop ups, no streaming animation, no flashing java and no annoying ads...I promise.  Was going for a more classic, literary look.  Hope I accomplished it.

Robin
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Offline REShirley

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 01:41:01 AM »
It feels like I never left, not a never left.  And I'm a pro...geez  :)
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Offline sjhunt2005

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 02:04:25 AM »
Very cool! I almost envy you, but that's so tacky...I'll just cheer you on instead! 

Take care,

Susan
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Offline Annmarie

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 02:51:25 AM »
Great feeling.  :D
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 02:53:36 AM »
Good for you. Rock the house!  ;D
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 02:44:59 PM »
I'm impressed RES. Well laid out, categorized and easy to access as well as read. Congratulations and good luck with the new re-start.  ;D
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 02:48:44 PM »
Neat job. ;) ;) ;)
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Tony_A20

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 09:40:36 AM »
Hello Robin,

Sorry to be the dissenting voice, I think your website is old-school, or should I say old-fashioned. I suggest you reconsider your design, and rather than present your past achievements, show visitors what you can do for them.

The patterned background, the small type, the lack of graphic images, the use of tables, stamp this website as out of date. The business it represents is probably out of date as well.

The point you want to make is why people should hire YOU! Tell them what you will accomplish for THEM. Tell them on the homepage. Let what you tell them, show how well you write.

You list an article, "Targeting Your Market," as something you've written, why not follow your own advice?

Skip the bio. When you're offering your services for money, clients are interested in what they're getting in return, not your life history.

Tuck a couple (two) examples of your very best work on a back page, with a couple of links to work currently available on the Internet. Provide some references.

If you're registering a domain name, make it something that might turn up as a keyword in a Google search, by someone who's never heard of you. Try searching for "Freelance Writing Services;" and see what names show up. Choose a domain name which describes the work you want to do. If you absolutely must use your own name, set it up as a sub-domain, which points to your main website.

Finally, never put up a partially built website. Design it, build it, edit it, test it, test it again, publish it on the web, and test it some more.





« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 09:48:25 AM by Tony_A20 »

Offline REShirley

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2012, 03:17:31 PM »
Tony,

Thank you for your candor.  I know that every comment you made would be sound advice under different circumstances and most of what you said was echoed by my brother-in-law, who designs web sites by trade.  He used words like "old fashioned,"  "lacking pizazz," "needs more flash, not eye catching enough" and "looks more like a portfolio than a web site."

That is exactly the point.  The purpose of this site is not to generate new business from "people who've never heard of me" or to optimize my listing in search engines. The sole purpose of the site is to provide an online portfolio to editors with whom I've already been in contact.  With that in mind, I sent out an email to 15 editors with whom I've worked in the past asking them what they would look for in an online portfolio before I wrote the first line of code for the site.  I took the time to "Target my Market" before I began.  These are a few of the comments I received:

"Nothing irritates me more than flashy graphics and showy pages that don't tell me what I want to know.  I want a resume, I want information about what you've done in the past professionally and I want PUBLISHED examples of work, and make sure to include enough to get a good, solid idea of the variety of work you've done."

"Don't show me your latest story or poem unless someone else has published it already.  Don't give me cartoon graphics or animation or the latest pictures of your son's birthday party.  Don't blind me with eye catchers that distract from the purpose of visiting the site.  Keep it simple, streamlined and categorized so I can find what I'm looking for in a hurry."

"I want exactly what I ask for in a portfolio via email or snail mail, nothing more.  That means a resume, published clips (at least five, but the more I see the better idea I have of your style and markets,) perhaps a bio and information about professional achievements and associations.  Anything else is a complete waste of my time."

"The most irritating thing I find (quite often) in a writer's web site is that the writer forgets why they're putting up a site in the first place.  Most seem to be targeting other writers, not editors who are considering paying for their work.  I don't really care if you or other writers consider you a writer, I care if editors and publishers do.  If you want to share links and info with other writers, that's fine.  Just do it on a separate page that I don't have to look at and make sure that your professional information (resume, bio, clips) is presented first and foremost."

"I don't want to wade through samples of unpublished work or showcases of the kind of writing you'd LIKE to do.  I don't want to see how talented a web designer you are or how internet savvy you may be.  Show me what you've already done in the professional writing arena, show me what other editors have already paid you or awarded you for.  Keep it simple, classic and easy on the eyes."

These are just a few of the many comments I received from the market I'm targeting and the site was designed to provide them with what they want.  Most of them are editors for print publications...perhaps online editors see things a bit differently.

As far as putting up an incomplete site...no editor has been sent the URL and none will be until the "under construction" pages are all gone.  The URL will go out with my queries.  I find my own markets and make first contact.  I'm not interested in someone who is randomly searching for a freelance writer because most of the markets I write for never do.

Robin
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Offline REShirley

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2012, 03:39:18 PM »
Just a footnote for Tony...I'm planning to help my daughter put up a site later this year to help her market her products.  Could probably use your advice when that project begins (she doesn't get along with my brother-in-law and would prefer we not consult him.)  You game?
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Tony_A20

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2012, 10:48:08 PM »
Robin,

Quote
The sole purpose of the site is to provide an online portfolio to editors with whom I've already been in contact.

Then I think you would want to make it as modern, attractive, and easy to use as possible, or don't your editors care about format?

But, why bother? If you're in contact with your future clients, why not simply send them your résumé and a print portfolio of your work, and ask for their specifications?

As to your footnote, when people ask me to do work for them, I expect to be paid. You game?


Offline wanderer

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2012, 11:24:17 PM »
You'll do fine on the "web" stuff, Robin. Get your domain name, then a web host, and then you'll have templates to do whatever you want.
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Offline REShirley

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2012, 02:28:10 PM »
I appreciate all the feedback from all of you.  Thank you.

Wanderer, thank you.  I think I'll be okay on the web as well.  I designed the site for my editors...as long as they're content I will be too.

Tony, asking for your advice on my daughter's site was truly meant as a compliment.  I really am impressed by your web expertise.  If it was taken in the wrong way, or if you took offense in any way, I apologize.

We intend to do the work on her site ourselves, but you seemed so willing to offer advice in that area I thought you might be again.  If we hit too many snags and find that we need to hire professional help I'll either talk my daughter in to contacting my brother-in-law or just go to Google and see who I find there.

"LIfe is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

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Tony_A20

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Re: It's Official!!
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2012, 05:23:05 PM »
Hello Robin,

No apology necessary, you implied you wanted comments on your website and I gave mine. That’s what a forum is for—soliciting opinions, then making up your own mind.

If you post again seeking help I may reply, or not, as I think appropriate.

However asking directly for assistance which will consume time and effort to deliver a personal benefit to you, requires a quid pro quo agreement, which on a public forum is impolite, and I believe against forum etiquette. Hence my brush-off. Nothing personal, just a final goodbye.