- finding my template on wordpress,
- preparing my website copy
- editing the text multiple times
- asking a couple of friends to read it over
- second guessing the quality of my website copy (it is, afterall, going to be proof that I am capable of writing coherent, effective website copy!),
- googling myself (if you google “Freelance Writer”, I don’t show up… but if you google “Lisa Freelance Writer,” I show up on the 6th page!),
- ordering business cards,
- obsessively checking my new email address,
- playing around with the widgets on the wordpress template I chose
- attending not only a birthday party, but also a bachelor party AND a baby shower!
Well, let me tell you *insert snobbish “ha ha ha” here, complete with me holding my belly à la Santa Claus,” not all of these steps were easy peasy… oh no… and here’s why:
1) Finding a suitable WordPress template
For the record, I love the fact that wordpress, a free website software/desiging site has SO MANY choices… 1,314 to be exact (if you believe WordPress). But, at the same time, I hated that particular fact when I was on page 50 of the multiple templates available to me and still not sure if I would prefer the blue one with the floral pattern, black one reminiscent of a chalk board or plain grey one with small, interesting details on the bottom… And, as painful as it was to go through every template, I highly suggest that you do if you are using a software that provides templates. You never know what you’ll like the best until you’ve seen everything available.
I ended up chosing the blue one with the floral pattern. It works, for now… Until I’ve learned enough about websites and website design to make my own from scratch.
2) Preparing, editing, re-editing, editing once more and scrapping my website copy
I’m picky, ridiculously picky, about my website copy. I think it makes sense because, if I’m going to market myself as a Freelance writer and editor, I sure as the nose on my face (you can’t see it, but it’s there…) had better have excellent website copy on my website. Perfect in every way. Because if there is one tiny little flaw, I could lose customers.
Not a good business plan.
So, making perfect text it is. Now, thus far it might sound like I wouldn’t put this much effort into the work I do. That’s untrue. I would be an equal amount of effort into every project I handle for other people. What I don’t put this much effort into are my personal blogs (cuz really, it’s more fun where there are errors in a personal blog!), writing in greeting cards, emails and text messages.
Anyway, long story short, I’ve posted some of the “almost perfect” text on the website… but I’m still working on it. I figure, it’s better to have “almost perfect” text up (providing there are no spelling or grammar mistakes) than a one liner saying that my website is “in progress.”
If you’re preparing text for your website copy and don’t want to hire a professional editor (like me, for example ;) then I highly suggest getting two types of people to read it through – an artsy friend (someone honest enough to tell you how it is) and a business friend (again, someone honest enough to tell you how it is… and someone whose role is similar to your target audience). For example, a writer friend and a friend who works in HR. I suggest this because the artsy friend will most likely pick up on the flow and tone of your text and the friend in HR will pick up on the practicality of the text.
Granted, I’ve probably just stereotyped big time and what I say might not be true… I guess what I’m getting at is that you should have two different people, with polarized personality types, read your text because then you’re sure to get feedback that will help you to produce text catered to both spectrums.
3) Googling myself
Now, be honest… who reading this has NOT tried googling themself at least once since google first became a verb? It’s fun to see the transition as you create your site… When I started, I had to google my domain name (complete with dot com) to make my website show up. Midway through, I had to google my First & Last name to get my website on the first page & my first name with “Freelance Writer” to get it to show up at all. Soon, I hope that when you google “Freelance Writer” my name will show up in the first 10 pages. Big dreams. Big dreams indeed.
I’m going to run tests to see if my website is efficient. GoDaddy has partner company that runs these types of tests… however, I don’t know if there is only a one-time free test or if it’s unlimited tests. I guess I’ll find out.
Also, I’m reading up on Search Engine Optimization (or SEO to those in the know) and how I can make that work for me. I have a feeling that this will be another blog on a later day.
4) Business Cards
I ordered business cards. I think I was giddy all weekend because of it. They don’t match the colours of my website… and the design is only quasi similar. But at this stage in the process, I don’t much care. If I get work… correction… when I get work and start making a bit of extra money to put back into my little business, I’ll work on the logo and “branding” of my image. For now, I just want to get this done.
Right, so I got 250 business cards, a business card holder, return address labels (just cuz they were free with my purchase and… well.. hello.. who DOESN’T like labels?) um… and I think that’s it. I got them for about $25, the majority of that cost being shipping and handling. I think the only thing I was charged for was the printing on the back of the business cards – the free back said “printed by vistaprint.com” and a blank back as $3 (for all 250), so I figured why not go “all out” and get something fancy on the back. Definitely worth it. Well, we’ll see if it was definitely worth it when they arrive, but I’m feeling like it’s definitely worth it right now.
Vistaprint is the company’s name. Pretty easy to navigate the site, they have paypal and credit card and all those other payment options. My sister suggested them to me… I believe she had an excellent experience with them. They have templates as well, though only a small selection of them are “free” (42, which is a tad bit less intimidating than wordpress’s 1,314)… *shrugs* I’ll let you know how the final product turn out when I get them (I “splurged” on the “7 day shipping” … next business day shipping was a bit too expensive – though I’m wishing I had slurged on that instead – and the regular mail would’ve been 12 – 14 days).
5) Obsessively checking my mail
That’s pretty much self explanatory.
6) Playing with widgets
That may sound wrong, but it’s true. WordPress has widgets… and no, I don’t be an infestation of playful critters… They are the “add ons” that allow you to link your site, create menus, etc. etc. without needing to know the complex language of code. At least, that’s what I think they are. All of the wordpress blogs have widgets too, though the wordpress blogs through wordpress.com (like the one you are reading now) have more widget selection than the wordpress.org website templates.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a widget/add on that will make it so that my contact information appears on every page of the website in the same spot (just above the “pages” section)… turns out I have a plain text widget in which you can write whatever you want… So… yeah. Hurrah for figuring that one out!
Oh, and as you can see, working with the wordpress template for my website has also helped me with making my way around the blog editing software I use for this blog. Note the different headings.. ;)
7) Maintaining my social life
Everyone needs a social life. You gotta stay balanced and such in order to be happy. Well, I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to leave my apartment most days (half because it’s cold outside and half because I wanted to keep working). Thankfully, I had already committed to several social engagements and, since it would be rude to back out at the last minute unless I was violently ill (which I wasn’t), out I went. And had a blast! So, moral of this story – do your best to not be a hermit.