This profile is presented by Squarespace. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We endeavor to carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests. HeyMama seeks to elevate the creative and professional momentum our members pull off every day, fueled by tools like Squarespace. We’re thrilled to work with them to bring stories like this to our community.
Confession: I put off creating my own website for over 10 years. As a self-employed, freelance writer and editor, I am fully aware that a personalized website — capable of showcasing my work, my media appearances, and attracting would-be clients and editors — is incredibly beneficial. In fact, some publications require a writer to have their own website before they even consider assigning them work. I have long needed a centralized, easily accessible home for articles I’ve published that I can share on my social media channels, with current and future editors, and other writers.
The problem: I’m technologically inept. I have zero coding or design experience. I celebrated the moment I figured out how to turn on my “out of office” reply on gmail. Sure, I can figure out a Zoom meeting just fine, and give me an hour or two and I can probably create a discernable Excel spreadsheet. But Boomerangs, TikTok videos, Photoshop, an entire website that is easy to navigate? I sweat just thinking about it.
But when COVID-19 hit the United States, the country “shut down” in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus — and I watched in horror as more and more media jobs disintegrated into thin air and writers, editors, and editorial managers were laid off or furloughed — I realized that if I was going to maintain my workflow and continue to bring in clients and land assignments, I had to market myself online. I frantically texted past coworkers and other writers and editors, asking what they used when they created their own sites. The resounding response was Squarespace. Well, I thought. Here goes nothing.
A thing about me is I’m a notorious procrastinator. I’ll put off assignments and daunting projects, sit in my anxiety and fret about deliverables and deadlines, only to complete the project or turn in the assignment so quickly and efficiently I feel absolutely foolish for putting it off and allowing my worry to become paralyzing.
So surprise, surprise, when I turned to Squarespace to build my website last night at 11:00 pm in a state of sheer panic, it took a grand total of one hour to complete and I was, once again, left to feel like an even grander fool. What had I been doing all these years? Why had I waited, entirely convinced I could not create a sleek, intuitive website, when it took me 60 minutes — the length of a single Grey’s Anatomy episode? Seriously, what is wrong with me?!
I didn’t need a degree in web design and development to build out a website with multiple pages, including a contact page, that could be search engine optimized and include links to my personal and professional social media channels. Squarespace had streamlined the process and created an intuitive step-by-step platform that made the process painless. The templates — broken down into multiple categories that make it easier to pick what works best for your specific business needs — were as easy to use as they were pleasing to the eye.
I quickly perused the “popular designs” templates (they’re popular for a reason, right?) and landed on a design that worked best for me and my immediate and future needs. The image-focused design was immediately eye-catching, as was the “call to action” button in the top right corner. This will be perfect for encouraging viewers to contact me for work, I thought.
Switching out stock images and creating my own copy was effortless. Seriously, if you know how to navigate Facebook or Instagram, you can easily design the Squarespace template pages to your liking. In 20 or so minutes, I had a front page that I could be proud of, that was visually appealing, and that lent itself to my future goals.
From the front page, I built out pages dedicated to my freelance writing, my media appearances, my advocacy work, my media awards, and a call to action page that would allow potential clients and editors or managers looking to hire to contact me via email or my social media channels. What I had once considered to be daunting — gathering over 10 years of work into one space — took hardly any time at all. And at any point, when I was worried that a custom change here or a color scheme there would throw things off, I could click on “desktop view” and “mobile view” to get an idea of what people would see on their phones versus their computers.
My personalized website is not yet live — what will require the most work is simply tracking down the various pieces I have published online and for a number of national publications over the years, finding audio and video of my media appearances and public speaking engagements, and hounding my mom for all the photos of me accepting a media excellence award (proud moms come in handy, you guys!). Marketing myself, I must admit, feels weird, and perhaps that was what was really holding me back from building a website in the first place: the idea that “bragging” about my accomplishments in one accessible, online space felt… wrong? Tacky? Like things women just aren’t supposed to do?
But it is absolutely what anyone who owns a business, is self-employed, or simply wants to market their experience, their talents, and their availability should do, and feel comfortable doing! Proud, even! Taking the time (a short amount of time at that!) to create an online home that showcases a decade of hard work, dedication, and skill is not only worthwhile from a business and financial standpoint but is a great exercise in self-care. There’s something to be said for, every once in awhile, taking a step back and appreciating the work you’ve created, for yourself and others.
So, I did it! I overcame 10 years of procrastination and built a website — my very own website — in about an hour. Will I wait this long to do something for myself and my business again? Eh, I guess it depends.
Is there a Squarespace for taxes?
HeyMama members can get 10% off their first Squarespace website or domain with code HEYMAMA at checkout.