Building a strong internet index
For web writers, one of the strongest
tools you can build is your index. Whether you decide to sign up with
free services such as Geocities or paid hosting, your index will remain
your reader's passport to you. You will find it easy and good
self-promotion to include your index address with your signature on
emails, leave it when you sign someone's guest book and when you leave
messages in discussion boards. Indexes are like catalogues, in more ways
than one. Catalogues hang around but people regularly pick them up to
browse. Your index may remain on a person's favorites, but with good
content, organization and updates, they will continue to visit.
A writer's index is much like a portfolio
of work. It provides the reader with access to that writer's works,
projects and bio information. It helps to keep the web traveler focused
on whose work he's reading, and it provides a place for writers to store
their treasured URLs for use in future pieces. An index tells your
reader who you are and just how busy you've been.
Keeping an index is the simple part.
Remembering to add new URLs to your current work is the tough part. I've
wasted more notes on myself as reminders, although lately I have come up
with a simple solution. As soon as the work is posted, I go to my index
site and place the URL for my readers. When a writer has so many
projects or work lists, an index makes it easy and quick for readers to
Setting up the index is relatively
simple. No particular format, although the following suggestions should
be read carefully.
overload your index with animated gifs and large graphics images.
These take longer to load and most people are not going to wait for
that. They will surf on.
make sure the best of your working links sits in the window *above
the crease* or in other words, sits on your page above the bottom of
the first window. The less a traveler must scroll the longer they
will remain on your site.
keep your articles in a nice orderly listing. Categorize them any
way you wish, although it isn't that important a point. I have found
that what I think are my worst works, people read like crazy. Often
my best works are passed over for the more sensational of the items
include links to sites you've built or helped to build, contributed
to or otherwise had much to do with its being there. Graphics should
be kept to a minimum and banners no more than 475 x 75 for fastest
state your information clearly and avoid overly fancy fonts. Many
people don't have those fonts on their computers, thus they cannot
see it anyway. Keep your fonts to a readable professional choice.
segregate and highlight those projects which you feel are your
finest, or most interesting. I list my pen name alter ego on the
right column of my index. My books are listed in the right as well.
you wish to place your author picture on the index, make sure it's
tasteful and small. Large and gaudy images of writers may turn some
readers off. Most writers want to attract an over all audience. If
yours is a specific readership, then by all means, go with the
absolutely sure you have a contact email for your index. Often
editors will happen on your site by cruising your links or
accidentally. Make sure they can contact you for a possible
assignment. (it DOES happen you know).
specify your copyright. That is important for your own safety. No
real reason for working to feed a pseudo-writer now is there?
a bio, brief or extensive. My favorite part of cruising writers'
sites is reading about other writers. I enjoy seeing photos too.
Often I will be amazed at how vivid a picture of them I got just by
reading their work. A bio helps the reader get to know you. Authors'
words leave impressions on us and we as readers tend to want a bit
or two on who is creating this image in your mind. But - don't write
a resume for a bio. Bios should be no more than a few hundred words
or so. Maximum would, in my opinion be approx. 400 or so. Always
give your name and any previously published books. Don't list each
article you've ever sold. List what periodicals you've listed with
unless the list is severely long. Pick and choose what you feel are
the best of the bunch. Add a group or two you're involved with and
end on a friendly but semi-professional note. Something a touch
personal to keep the reader/editor smiling.
your page in a format that people will enter and move about with
clarity. Extraneous images, backgrounds and effects are not
necessarily attention getters. For writers, the index is not like
other personal pages. Our readers/travelers are lovers of the
written word to begin with or they most likely would not have made
it to your site. Give them what they want. Give them content. The
effects they can see anywhere. What they are at your index for is a
good look at you and while they're at it, a good read. Make sure
they get what they came for.
Writers Thrive On Change