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Michelle Noble

How to Build an Editing Website

Illustration of person with headphones, their back to us, working at a desk with a desktop computer. There's an arc floor lamp to their right and a potted plant on the ground to their left.
Illustration of person with headphones, their back to us, working at a desk with a desktop computer. There's an arc floor lamp to their right and a potted plant on the ground to their left.
Copyright: sabelskaya

Editors who are starting in the field these days are generally expected to have a web presence, but what should that entail? Is an editing website necessary? And what is the best approach to creating one? 

The Editors Canada student relations committee recently hosted a discussion series in the student affiliate Facebook group to gather input that could assist editing students and new editors in building their websites. 

We broke the discussion into the following parts:

  • Deciding why to have a website
  • Comparing website platforms
  • Developing content for your website
  • Ensuring website accessibility

The committee has compiled all of the responses and suggested resources into a handy reference guide about how to build an editing website. This post offers highlights from the initial discussions.

Deciding why to have a website

Why does an editor need a website? We identified several reasons, but they all boil down to the goal of obtaining work. A good website will help you land clients, and, of course, we all want that!

Many of us agreed that a website focused on the editor will be of minimal interest. Potential clients are less interested in what you can do and more interested in how your work will benefit them. It’s vital to keep your ideal client (and their needs) in mind at every stage of building your website.

Comparing website platforms

There is some variation in cost among the most popular platforms, but it ultimately comes down to your previous experience and personal preferences. Squarespace and Wix are known to be quite user-friendly, while WordPress is a bit more advanced. 

Fortunately, tutorials for all of the most popular web platforms are widely available!

Developing content for your website

When you are getting started, it’s best to keep things straightforward. Craft content with your target audience in mind, and provide the information they’re looking for. 

It’s also important to optimize your content for the web, which calls for the use of plain language, uncomplicated design and special attention to search engine optimization (SEO). Simplicity is key.

Ensuring website accessibility

Accessible content is a vital consideration for any website. Design accommodations are essential access tools for people who need them in order to engage with your website, but strong accessible design also optimizes the user experience for everyone

Web accessibility is a broad — and sometimes technical and complicated — topic, but it’s important to educate yourself about the basic guidelines, including how to write quality image descriptions (known as alt text). Not only is it kind to have a website that’s inclusive, but it also contributes to a positive brand image!

Read more

If you’d like to access the full discussion on how to build an editing website, including valuable tips and resources, the reference guide is available to download in the Editors Canada Student Affiliates Facebook group, or you can email me at studentrelations@editors.ca to request a copy!

Do you have an editing website? What’s your best advice for an editor developing their first website?

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5 Comments on “How to Build an Editing Website”

  • Tim Green

    says:

    Building on “why to have” and “developing content” above…

    The trick is to make the website useful to visitors outside of the services that you offer. If the site has useful resources, e.g., well-organized list of links to articles and tools, visitors may bookmark the site to return later or refer it to someone else. Those later visits may generate interest in your services even if the earlier ones did not.

    • An excellent point, Tim!

  • I finally published my website after being in business for over three years. My best advice is to hire a designer. I thought I was pretty proficient with web tools until I tried to make one bend to my will. I wish I had simply hired someone to help me from the start. Good luck to everyone taking on this challenge. It feels GREAT when it’s done!

  • My two main pieces of advice are:

    1. Having a website is not optional. It’s essential. There’s a certain amount of credibility lost if an editor doesn’t have their own site. And make sure to use one of the platforms mentioned in the article. I think of WordPress as being the go-to platform for any kind of website, but the backend of WP not only has become more complex over the years, but depending on the template you use, the mechanics can be completely different.

    2. As the article alluded to, keep the language simple, and avoid jargon. A writer has no idea what line editing is. Either expain the terms, or better yet, avoid them and just “talk English.”

  • These are great tips; thanks for sharing them.

    It’s also important to have a professional-looking website with flawless spelling, grammar, etc. (one of my biggest pet peeves is a “language professional” whose website contains typos!).

    In addition, a professional website should have an SSL certificate (a requirement in many countries) and a clear, easy-to-find privacy statement (also a requirement in many countries).

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