Contemplating the Must-Haves of a Writing Website

In Nathan Bransford’s absence this week, his guest bloggers have been providing commentary on a variety of topics. Today Jordan McCollum wrote about “The Top 7 Things Every Aspiring Author’s Website Must Have.” I read it with interest, made a comment and slipped away to attend to non-computer things. But it wasn’t long before I was back at my computer.


Too many points in Jordan’s post niggled at me. According to her, the seven must-haves include a blog, social media, search engine presence, professional looking design, an ‘about’ page, a sample of the author’s work, and a contact page. I ticked off all the points and realized that my web presence is lacking most key features.


The only place it conforms is in having an ‘about’ page — but even that doesn’t provide a lot of information because when I first began blogging I was venturing into the public eye very cautiously and using my pseudonym. By using “Careann” I deliberately nullified the possibility of anyone finding me with a search for “Carol Garvin”. In fact, using my name in a search engine is likely to locate an artist and realtor in Florida!


Careann’s Musings was intended to be an informal personal blog. However if, as a writer, I put time and writing energy into it but gain none of the benefits, the value of my effort is minimized. So you’ll begin noticing subtle changes here as I uncloak the real me and provide opportunities for better visibility and networking. The new look will be gradual but it’s leading towards achieving more of those must-haves.


7 thoughts on “Contemplating the Must-Haves of a Writing Website

  1. Kate says:

    Hi! I found this post through the tags on my blog :o) This was a really interesting post. I just realised that we don’t have a contact page or anything on our blog either. Just letting you know you’re not alone!

  2. Katie says:

    I think that’s a really great idea! I look forward to seeing the changes. 🙂

  3. BJ says:

    Good for you! I recently made some of the same changes to my blog. It’s been totally worth it!

  4. Tricia says:

    Yes, I too underwent a “real me” change recently when I learned no one could ever Google me and find me when I went by IQOkie. So now I use my boring own name. Shucks.

    Still, I’m missing five of the seven things she mentioned.

  5. JaxPop says:

    You mean…. you’re really not a realtor in Florida???

    So much to do in 24 hours – doesn’t leave much time for writing.

    Don’t know about the social media part – I have pages on various sites but can only participate sporadically.

  6. Shari says:

    It’s a bit scary putting our real selves out there, for a few different reasons, but my thinking has been that if I have a book published one fine day, it’s gonna have my real name on it — so putting myself out there now is a bit of promo and networking for the future, as well as a chance to get used to the whole extroverted idea of people knowing who I am and reading what I write. But yeah, it’s scary…. 😉

  7. To all, thanks for your comments.

    Kate, Katie and Tricia – I think there are probably many of us in the same boat, mostly because when we started our blogging the only thing we had in mind was the writing–we weren’t planning ahead for a professional site.

    BJ – Your site is very professional-looking and has lots to offer readers. The photo really personalizes it, too. Very nice!

    Jaxpop – Nope, never been to Florida and don’t sell real estate, although I do paint. Putting my initial back into my name narrows it right down, and even brings up old articles since I always used to include the initial. Balancing online time is definitely a challenge. I only have my blog, Facebook and Flickr accounts but I often spend way too much time with then at the expense of my writing. Real life gets in the way of our writing, too, unless we believe that the writing and its promotion is a valid part of our real life.

    Shari – You and I both know how hard it is for introverts to ‘go public’, but I agree that if we’re serious about pursuing publication, publicity is part of the process. (Wow, do you see all those P’s? I’m spitting on my monitor! 😮 )

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