Building a Web Presence
Another way to expand your magazine-writing business is through your Web site. You learned about some of the benefits of having a Web site in Chapters 11 and 14; now comes the idea that you can use your site to enhance your bottom line, too.
There's no doubt that blogs are a hot trend in writing nowadays, and plenty of Web hosting companies have package deals that will help you get your own blog up and running in no time. Usually, there is an additional fee involved, but it is nominal in comparison to the self-marketing that the blog will help you achieve.
The benefit of a blog to you is twofold. First, it allows you a forum to expand on ideas for your readers without an editor's red pen getting in your way. Second, it allows you a place to promote yourself and your magazine articles, which will drive business to those magazines and in turn make the editors want to give you even more assignments.
Is it ethical to ask your regular magazine editors to help promote your personal Web site?
Yes. If the magazine has a contributors' page, ask to be featured on it with a mention of your Web site. If the magazine has no contributors' page, ask to have your Web site mentioned in a tagline at the end of your article.
If you write on a topic that draws an audience of consumers — say, fine wines or dining — then you may even be able to charge subscriber fees on your Web site. Your weekly blog describing the best deals in wine, for instance, could become a for-paid-users-only feature that you charge a monthly fee to view.
In this business model, you can earn money from subscribers while also determining which of your ideas generates the best reader response. Then, you can use that knowledge to help you sell magazine articles on the same topic, thus using what you wrote at least twice to create two separate streams of revenue.
An additional benefit to having a subscription-based Web site is that you can capture the names of your subscribers and create a mailing list for any future books that you write or other projects that you take on. You will have a built-in fan base, so to speak, and that never hurts in terms of landing more work from editors.
If you intend to charge a subscriber fee for viewing parts of your Web site, be sure to go through a company like PayPal so that subscribers will have a secure way to input their credit card information. Nobody will pay to view the writing on your Web site if they fear their personal information may be compromised.