Mystery Author, Editor and Proofreader
By Debbie Emmitt
Our editor websites are important. They help us to attract the clients we want to work with and they showcase our skills and achievements to the editing community. But how can we editors – with little or no experience of website design and management – make sure that our websites do their job properly?
Debbie Emmitt is an editor with two decades of experience working with web content. Recognising that many of her fellow editors may not have the knowledge and experience they need to do their website justice, Debbie has used her expertise to create a comprehensive guide on improving an editor website. It is well organized, easy to read, and filled with useful and relevant information to help you get your website where it needs to be.
The chapters in the book form a comprehensive checklist of things to consider when setting up and maintaining your site. Each point is clearly explained and examples of websites that have effectively put these points into practice are shown throughout to inspire the reader.
In the first few chapters, Debbie explains how we can make the main goal of our site clear and how we can make sure our website works for our audience (and not for us!) so that our visitors stay on our site and use our services. For example, we can help our visitors to navigate our site (by using user personas and by improving user journeys) and guide them to where they want to be.
The next chapters deal with the structure and design of your site. Just like we think of the reader when we edit, we should think of the visitor when designing and structuring our site. Debbie has great tips for both newbie editors who want to start by describing their services and more established editors who want to showcase their blog, podcast, or even novels (there are lots of extra tips for editors who are also authors). Whatever we decide to put on our sites, making them easy to navigate will keep the search engines happy, which will rank our site even higher in search results. Debbie shows us how we can do this, for example by keeping our titles short, by removing any jargon, and by reducing the number of options available.
As editors, we know the importance of consistency in a document. But did you know this is also important for your website? Both the external consistency (i.e., with best practices of other sites) and the internal consistency (i.e., between pages of our own site) are important for our websites. Internal consistency shows our visitors that they are still on our website when they switch pages and reassures them that we are professionals who will do a good job on their manuscript. Debbie shows us how to keep our websites consistent, for example by using templates and regular checking.
Debbie also tackles the content of our sites. Good content is important because it keeps our visitors on our website. Debbie explains how to attract visitors with an effective header and what we should (and should not) include in the Home, About, and Services sections of our website. She also talks about how regular blogging can update and draw traffic to our website and how we can emphasise our ‘calls to action’ so that users actually click on them.
Did you know that users don’t read website text like they do text in a book? Rather than reading, users tend to scan website text, and Debbie shows us how we can structure and format our text accordingly so that scanning is easier. For example, we can write short paragraphs and use subheadings, bulleted lists, and sans-serif fonts. Errors in a text are obviously a no-no for editors, so Debbie advises having an editor or proofreader check your text (it is worth noting here that Debbie specializes in editing and proofreading web content!).
Our websites need to load quickly and work on all devices or our visitors will leave and never return! In the last chapter, Debbie walks us through exactly what we need to consider to make sure our site is up to speed and keeps our visitors reading. The checklist in this chapter is extensive and includes a detailed section on accessibility, explaining exactly how you can make your site available to as many people as possible, regardless of disability and other factors.
In conclusion, Debbie’s book is an invaluable guide to creating and maintaining a website that effectively markets your editing services. The book is ideal for anyone who edits for a living, from the newbie editor setting up their business to the established editor looking to make their site work better. Anyone needing further support can look into Debbie’s mentoring service at www.debbie-emmitt.com/mentoring-for-editors.
Book reviewed by Claire Bacon ([email protected]) on behalf of EASE.
Available as a PDF or EPUB version price £9.95 from Debbie’s website.
and on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and hardback formats now https://amzn.to/46XpQuK