I've been punching at random buttons on websites and verification links in emails for the last hour and a half. I'm in the process of renewing my "professional" website's domain. Last January, when I set up the website, I assumed renewing my website's domain would be a walk in the park, something I could do in a semi-conscious state.
Why do I even have this &@#%! website, I grumbled to myself as I searched for yet another authorization code. And why do I bother with a "professional" website when I already have this kick-ass blog, you may wonder.
I have a few reasons for wanting a professional website for my freelance writing business:
1) It looks fancy. I believe the whole "dress to impress" business applies to the web as well. If I want to be viewed as a professional freelance writer than I bloody well ought to act like one. Having that website in my email signature just makes me feel more legit. And by feeling more legit, maybe you become more legit? (I don't know.)
2) It's good organization. This blog is lovely, but this blog is also all over the place. While I'm sure editors are dying get my wild rice venison sausage recipe or know that the Christmas tree finally went up, unfortunately, most editors probably don't have time to read through the Of Woods and Words archives to figure out who I am and whether or not I'm able to handle the writing gig they're thinking about giving me. My website provides a terse presentation of who I am and what I'm about. I can organize clips and link to my published works on a portfolio page which makes my professional website an easy place to send editors. And yes, I have referred editors to my website and have ended up getting a contract out it. Bam!
3) I own my domain. Granted, the domain I own for my professional website probably wasn't going to get snapped up anytime soon. But if I put off buying my domain, it might have gotten taken for some flukey reason before I could get to it. That would have made me tres unhappy. So I own my own dot com; no one can take it from me.
As you've probably guessed, it's point 3 in that little argument that's causing the problems. Since I built the website last year (through wix.com), I've been getting a slew of increasingly urgent sounding emails from Network Solutions about renewing my domain until it was going, going, gone. When I actually got around to logging in to see how much they wanted for renewing my domain, I nearly spit out my morning Earl Grey.
You know that game where you take a number and you hold it in your mind?
Let's just say, I was holding a number under $10 in my mind for the annual renewal and Network Solutions was holding a number between $30 - $50 in their mind. (More too, if they could get you on various "extras.")
Time to transfer my domain. Enter GoDaddy.
This afternoon, I transfer my domain to GoDaddy to the tune of $8.17 for the year. Why was I with Network Solutions in the first place? When I signed up for wix last year, I qualified for a free domain for year. And hey, free bets $8.17 any day.
Is a professional website integral to my success? Probably not. But it's nice to have and it's generally headache free. Normal maintenance is an occasional "freshening up" of copy and updating the portfolio portion with new links and clips. On average, I probably spent about an hour a month on it. I used wix because a friend recommended it and because it seemed easy to use. You could also easily fashion yourself a website through wordpress or a variety of other website builders.
Let me know if you have questions.
Don't worry; I'm a professional.