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 www.wordpress.com, www.blogger.com or www.typepad.com. 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.

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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 yahoo.com.

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


  1. 1 Lis Garrett February 10, 2008 at 6:50 am

    I have a very common name (Melissa Garrett). In fact, MelissaGarrett.com was already taken, so I chose to write under the name “Lis Garrett.”

  2. 2 Susan Flemming February 11, 2008 at 10:10 am

    My name is about as common as they come with the possible exception of Susan Smith (Smith being my maiden name). A search on Susan Flemming consistantly brings up my website as number one on the first page on Google and Yahoo search and most of the time on MSN search. When I first set up my website, it came up way down on the fourth page. It took a few weeks for it to move up to the first page and it wasn’t until I added a blog that it moved up to number one and stayed at number one. So one of the keys to getting that top ranking is to have frequently updated content (though I haven’t been updating as often lately).


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