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I'm a part-time freelance writer, and I'd like to put together a blog to showcase my writing through posts and to link visitors to my work on other sites. However, I'm a little bit lost about what exactly I should do with the site. Ideally, I'd like to write blog posts that act as samples of my writing - basically, to show the kind of writing that paying clients would receive for their own sites or magazines or whatever. For that reason, I'm planning to write posts on a wide variety of subjects. I've also read, though, that blogs that have no focus in terms of subject don't really attract long-term readers. (I've also read the "Mixing topics in a blog" post.)

So I'm wondering about the best way to go here. I'm not exactly looking for long-term readers, I guess; I'm just looking to attract clients. But I still have to attract them. Any ideas?

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Consider arranging your website as a gallery of writing samples, rather then as a blog.

Then as you create a writing which you wish to put in this gallery (writing for which you have sole ownership and publishing rights), contact bloggers who already blog on the subject of this particular writing and ask if they would post it on their site (as a guest writer). Many bloggers will be happy for the free content. When you find someone who is willing, arrange to publish your writing on both sites (yours and theirs) on approximately the same day. Let them have first publication rights, if they insist; but push your writing to your own site within a few days of it being published elsewhere.

Finally, make sure that every guest writer blog, which you have published on other blogger's sites, has a prominent link back to your gallery, where further samples of your writing can be found.

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    Agreed. From the question it doesn't sound like the OP wants a blog, exactly, but rather a portfolio. – Monica Cellio Feb 26 '16 at 4:24
  • Thanks for the advice. This is pretty much what I'm thinking about. I would like to maintain a running blog as well, but the portfolio aspect of the site is definitely the important one. – 0A0 Feb 26 '16 at 13:56
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You can use something like Squarespace which is dot-com website platform that is optimized for non-technical creative people to make their own Web presence. It has pages (timeless writings) and also has a blog (journal writings) and also redirects (which are great for marketing) built-in. You would create pages for your writing, use the blog to document your ongoing writing career adventure, and use redirects to link out to things you are doing elsewhere on the Web.

As an example, if Ernest Hemingway was working right now, he would make story pages at:

http://ernesthemingway.com/the-sun-also-rises
http://ernesthemingway.com/a-farewell-to-arms
http://ernesthemingway.com/the-old-man-and-the-sea

… and then his journal would be at:

http://ernesthemingway.com/blog/

… and would have entries about how hard it is to write, various hunting trips and what he learned from them, musings on masculinity, etc.

The entires get date links as you create them, like so:

http://ernesthemingway.com/blog/2016/02/25/hunting-accident

And then he would use redirects so that this kind of link:

http://ernesthemingway.com/facebook

… takes the reader to:

http://facebook.com/blah/de/blah/user/hemingway5339

… so it is easy to remember and never changes. If the Facebook link were to change, he would just put the updated Facebook link into his /facebook redirect.

Blogs have categories. Hemingway would make categories like writing, hunting, masculinity. The reader can tap on writing to see just the entries on writing. Ideally, you probably keep it to a handful of categories, but there are exceptions to that. Depends on your interests.

The blog sort of acts like keywords that draw people into your storybook through Google Search, and enables them to get to know you. To promote your blog in the old days you would have wanted to be high up in Google results and that was it, because the Google Search engine was like a sun around which the Web orbited. Today, the Web is more like a galaxy, and the additional stars are Twitter, Facebook, Medium, and others. So once you post a new story page or a new blog post, you want to link to it from Twitter and Facebook.

With Medium, you actually put the whole story or blog posts on there, but it is still a good idea to have your own dot-com where you have your own copy of your work, because at some point Medium will change and/or be sold and/or be shutdown. If you control your own dot-com, you can create permalinks that readers can rely on to always act as a gateway to whatever you are doing. It doesn’t matter if you switch your T-shirt sales from CafePress to Spreadshirt if your T-shirt link is this:

http://ernesthemingway.com/t-shirts

So your dot-com website/blog is very much about acting as a nervous system for your entire Web presence. Everything else on the Web may change, but your dot-com is all the permanent stuff. That enables you to grow and grow your Web presence but still enable a reader or prospective employer to find all the stuff you’ve made.

  • Is Squarespace sort of an alternative to Wordpress? I've written on Wordpress blogs before, so if it's anything like that, I have an idea of what to expect. I currently own a .com domain that I plan on using for my writing site, so if I can use that domain with Wordpress or Squarespace or a similar website-creation platform, that would be ideal. – 0A0 Feb 26 '16 at 13:58
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I would suggest looking at other blogs and take note of both things you like about them and things you don't like about them. One site I like is

Helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com

But there are many others out there.

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