What happens when you spend more time online than offline?

I’ve spent all week working on updating and upgrading my web site:

  • new template (basic look of the design ) – simple to change
  • move to a new hosting site – very complicated & time-consuming – $183
  • upgrade web page software  (Sandvox) – $50 + online help
  • add services – Google Webmaster & GoDaddy statistics – we’ll see what pans out.  It will take time for the stats to run.
  • hire a consultant to review my Google Adwords account – $235

All of this took time from actually writing something, sending out queries, or maintaining this blog.  But the project was long overdue, and since everyone says your web site is your face to the world it is worth the time and the effort to make it as professional as you can.  Of course, the quickest and easiest way to do that is to hire a web designer and pay them to do it for you.  That gets very expensive very quickly unless you rely on a friend, relative, or student — who may or may not be very professional.  A lot of amateurs try to add a lot of gimmicks that look good with lots of flash (pun intended), animation, and glitz, but they don’t get the message across or are slow to load.

So I’ve stuck with the “do it yourself” approach, which so far has been fairly cheap, but I’ve questioned its effectiveness.  I was getting a lot more inquiries that have suddenly dropped off.  That may be due more the effects of the economy than the web site, but that’s hard to measure—particularly since I didn’t have any analytical data until now.

Basically I use my web site as my “online brochure”, profile, calling card, etc. rather than a transactional technique to solicit business.  In today’s online word when I email a query, I simply refer to my web site rather than attach a bunch of clips.  That may not be very sophisticated marketing, but it’s what I have done.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m also very involved in the amount of time I’ve spent on “social media/networking” marketing, which has become a larger chunk of time than the web site itself.  That hasn’t worked very well either even though I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, and (as of yesterday) Twitter.  I follow/fan/whatever 6 groups on Facebook, 8 on LinkedIn, 6 on Yahoo, and 2 on Google so I think you can say that I’m “plugged in” to the web.  I also get 5 RSS feeds on my Yahoo home page that I read daily.  Yes, it has gotten to be a chore (and a bore sometimes).

So where is all this online stuff that I’m doing heading?  I don’t know, but I’m taking a hard look at it besides just reading books about it and attending workshops.  Any suggestions?



Filed under freelance writing, marketing, writing tools

2 responses to “What happens when you spend more time online than offline?

  1. John-
    I feel your pain on the social networking end. I am just a newbie in the writing business, and I have been wondering what to “do” to create/exploit all those connections myself. I have been playing around with putting together a web page for myself, and I think you’re on to something just providing your URL in place of a list of links. My problem has been trying to keep up with things like the social networking and the blog. When I have work, it’s all I have time to do. When I don’t have work, I spend all my time frantically scrambling to get it.

    By the way, I am glad I stumbled upon your website (and by extension, your blog) this morning. Found it on online-writing-jobs.com. You have inspired me to get cracking on my web page again and get it up and running.

    • Marketing yourself is more than sending our queries, and establishing an online presence is one step. But it is only one step and shouldn’t assume priority over everything else. “Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing” is a good guide.