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    Creating a Professional Image Through Your Website

    The Ailment: Everyone seems to have an Internet presence these days. I would like to make a homepage to showcase my writing, but what should I include on it?

    The Cure: The first thing you need to do is accept that this is your writing website. As tempting as it might be to include a few photos of "Fluffy" the cutest cat the world, or young Timmy as a baby, this is not the professional image that you intending to convey to interested parties. So if you want to show off your pride and joys, do so by all means, but create a website specifically for that purpose.

    Secondly, choose your background, font and colour scheme with care. You need something that is eye-catching but also easy to read. A plain or textured background will usually work better in this respect than a patterned one. Bright colours, or ones that are too pale, are difficult to read. Make it aesthetically pleasing, but subtle. Graphics will enhance the way the site looks but remember that editors are busy people so keep the graphic files small or the download time might influence whether or not your work is read by would-be visitors.

    Thirdly, ensure that your contact information is clearly displayed, that any email links work, and add a short professional biography. If you wish, you could even add a link to a page containing your resume.

    Next, carefully select the material that you are going to publish at the website. Remember that any writing on which you have already sold "all rights" may not be included here without violating copyright laws. Choose only your best work, preferably published, as this is representative of what you can produce.

    Lastly, resist the urge to put a guest book here. It is nice to know who stopped by, but like your photographs, it is best left for a personal homepage. Editors won't be particularly impressed by your ability to put one of these on, and it is just something else to slow down the load time on the page. A visitor counter is a good idea, however, as this will show you if your marketing ideas are getting your page to the notice of people.

    Now proofread your website carefully, then proofread it again. Finally, ask someone else to proofread it for you. Check that all the links to your resume, or published work on the internet are correct and working, then submit the site to your service provider and get ready to start marketing it.

    Good luck.

    Copyright © 2001 Katie Gustafsson

    Katie Gustafsson is an English freelance writer/translator/poet who lives in Sweden with her soul-mate/husband (whom she met online), Mikael, and their baby son, Jake. Her writing credits include print and on-line publications in short stories, articles and poetry. Recent articles include work for Amateur Chef magazine, and Dreamguide.com where she is the guide for the USA for Foreigners section. She is owns the Wake Up Writing site.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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