Archive for February 10th, 2008

Write Like a Pro: Constructing Your “Look” On-line

Mary AndonianBy Mary Andonian

Take this mini-quiz: Google your name. How many records on the first page of results are about you? I am fortunate. My name is unique, so the very first record that shows up when I Google my name is my website. Your job this month is to find a way for your web content to show up on the first page of a Google search.

What if your name is Mary Smith? A quick Google search yielded Mary Smith as a: painter, novel character, landscape architect, and police officer, all at the top of page one! If you have a common name, try including your middle name in your professional signature, or create a unique business name that will put you at the top of a web search. Just make sure to include it on your letterhead and business cards.

This can be accomplished any number of ways. If you’re lucky, you can affiliate yourself with a hit E-zine, like The Writer Mama or Writers on the Rise. These E-zines use technology that “tags” your name so it will be one of the first results in a web search. I don’t completely understand how it works, but I certainly reap the benefits.

If you’re not a contributing columnist, you can accomplish the same feat by being the master of your own domain via website or blogging. According to this morning’s edition of The Oregonian, I live in one of the most blog-friendly places in the United States! To learn more about blogging, visit, or These blogging sites will walk you through the set up process.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive software like Adobe’s Dream Weaver or Contribute to build and maintain a website, (although if you’re technically savvy, they can prove to be invaluable tools). Instead, you can create a free Yahoo account and use one of their templates to create your own “shingle.” Purchase a domain name (your name, preferably), select a basic site, and get typing!

No matter what strategy you choose, creating a professional web presence has advantages. An editor can glean more information from your website or blog than a one-page query letter. Your query letter can point to your website or blog, allowing an editor to see the expanded version of your bio or read your clips in their entirety. But please don’t fill your site with an endless array of cute family photos and whimsical musings about your pet cat. Your site should define you as a serious writer. Unless you are writing about family life, try to keep your site as professional as possible.

Mary Andonian is the agents and edtiors coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference, one of the largest writers’ conferences in the United States. In past years, she was Co-chair and Program Coordinator. She just completed her second book, Bitsy’s Labyrinth. Contact Mary at maryandonianwwconference AT


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