I love too write, and believe I am good at it, but my skills fall a little short at the design phase. So I asked a Facebook group that I belong to, to critique the design of my site. I didn’t get to many responses but I did get one that stopped me dead in my tracks. He asked “What was the purpose of my site? Was it a personal project or was it meant to attract clients?” I knew exactly what he meant. Instantly I flashed on all of the content on my site, and knew that it was posted without direction.
When I started I had every intention of using this site to launch a copywriting career, to write for other people. Looking back over it however, it’s written like a personal journal. There is nothing on the site that says, hire me I will write for you. Literally or figuratively. It’s just not there. I have written blog posts in multiple styles to show versatility, but it’s all for naught if the ability and desire to do it for someone else isn’t demonstrated.
Even more so, there are hundreds of disciplines in copywriting. Everything from direct mail, to ad writing, to sales funnels, to content or blog writing, and so very much more. When I started this site I didn’t know the area I wanted to concentrate on. Which would have made trying to market a particular skill from the start incredibly difficult. It turns out I knew even less about starting a site than I thought I did.
What can you do to avoid the same pitfalls? Before you even start looking for hosting services, set a plan for your site. In Chasing Dreams I talked about the need for a mission statement and a business plan but now we are talking about a bit smaller scale. We’re not talking about the direction of your entire business, just your site. Is it a blog? What is the topic, is it personal, or strictly business? Are you writing about your own experiences like a mommy blog, or a travel blog? How are you going to monetize? Are you going to concentrate on affiliate marketing? If so, what kinds of products are you marketing? Are you going to rely on advertising alone and use great content to bring traffic and drive sales? Do you want to sell your own products, or classes? Or are you advertising your services and skills? Do you want multiple static pages, just the blog roll, or a combination of both?
Sit down for a few minutes and figure out why you are starting this site? What do you want to accomplish? What is driving you? This will help you decide how you are going to get there, and what kind of content you will want. Visit a lot of websites, I mean a LOT. Take note of design ideas, and how they are put together.
Most importantly remember that it’s your site. It can say or do whatever you want it to. There is no magic formula, and nothing is written in stone. If something doesn’t work or you don’t like it, change it. People will measure your success in visits to your site, and will try to sell you the best way to drive traffic, but remember the public is fickle and what they loved yesterday they may hate tomorrow. It’s your project driven by your passion and fears. Whether or not it is a success or a failure can only be decided by you, and your determination to continue.
That doesn’t mean that posting incredibly off the wall stuff won’t affect income flow or ability to keep advertisers. However, unless it’s only a three month project, you have to keep yourself entertained enough to continue writing. Only you can keep the passion for your work alive. If you allow it to become a chore than you will slowly burn out, and your site will suffer.
I’ve found out that I really enjoy writing blog posts. I like to do the research, and altering tone of voice to the purpose of the post. I will have to change a few things to announce that I am for hire. I will probably always write a little more personally than I should on my own site. I like the way it makes my posts feel more like conversations. Even if I am only talking to myself. That’s just my style. You will find yours. Don’t give in till you do.