The Biggest Website Mistakes I See Nurse Writers Make

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I’ve had “value,” “pricing,” and “negotiation” on the brain this November, but for good reason: My goal with RN2Writer is to help you learn how to be successful in the business of freelance writing. Sure, I plan to also cover topics related to actual writing (structure, grammar, etc.), but the business side of writing is where I see most nurse writers struggle, and I want to help you overcome those challenges.

All of which is a very wordy way of saying today I want to talk about the biggest mistake I see freelancers of all kinds make on their websites: failing to convey value.

Does that sound familiar?? I’ve been hammering on value for weeks now. And the very best place to begin the value conversation lies right on your homepage. Let’s talk about how to write a killer homepage that become an inbound leads machine.

Freelance Writer Website Principle #1: Your Homepage is Not a Resume

Do you recall the post I wrote about how to break free from the “employee mentality”? It was a subscriber-only post, so if you missed it I urge you to sign up for a free, 30-day trial subscription to gain access to this valuable, premium content.

Anyway, I said that most nurses begin their careers in traditional employment. During this period of time, they were conditioned to adopt an “employee mindset.” This means they learned how to craft a resume, apply for a job, report to superiors, and generally march along like a good soldier under the command of someone else.

I noted in the post that you should not, as an independent businessperson, relate to clients the way you related to your bosses as an employee. As a freelance nurse writer, you’re a peer of your client, not a subordinate.

Another way nurses carry the employee mindset into freelancing lies in how they write their websites. Obviously I won’t share any examples of this, because my goal is not to shame anyone who has done this. Hell, I made this exact mistake for years before I figured out how to do better!

I certainly would love to spare you from the 20 years of trial and error I went through. <eye roll emoji>

For some reason, many people fall in love with themselves when they become freelance writers, and their homepage is all about them: their education, their credentials, what they’ve done, what they do now, etc. In short, their homepage reads like a resume.

News flash: Clients don’t care about that stuff as much as you think.

No, like everyone else in the world, clients care about themselves: their needs, their work pain, how to do their job better/faster/easier, how to keep the boss off their frickin’ back, etc.

Which leads me to…

Freelance Writer Website Principle #2: Your Homepage Should Solve the Visitor’s Problems

When a prospective client finds him/herself on your website, s/he is not looking for “a writer.” S/he is looking for:

  • More traffic to their blog posts

  • More patients in their waiting room

  • More requests to demo their product

  • More authority within their niche

  • Help to publish a higher volume of content

  • Help to write the type of content s/he’s not good at

  • More requests to download the white paper from the landing page

  • Relief from constant feelings of job stress and pressure

  • A better performance review from the boss

  • To feel in control of the content production schedule instead of constantly feeling underwater

…and so on and so on and so on.

Your homepage should address these problems head-on. Instead of filling the page with prose about who you are – or even what you do – you should craft copy that addresses the client’s problems and provides solutions.

To do that, you highlight the benefits of your services ahead of their features. Or, at least, you combine these two attributes within tightly written homepage copy.

Many writers grapple with the concepts of benefits vs features. Features basically describe what you offer, while benefits refers to the value the client receives from each feature. To make this copywriting easier to accomplish, you can make a list of the features you offer, along with their benefits. Like this (from my own website):

Feature | Benefit

  • Blog content | Improve search rank and engage more prospective clients

  • Ebooks & White papers | Nurture prospects

  • Website copy | Improve search rank and draw in new leads

  • Newsletters & Emails | Keep leads warm and move prospects down the funnel

You get the idea. I hope.

Now, simply articulating the benefits of your services doesn’t go far enough, in terms of communicating value. For my website, I delve into the value part more heavily on the individual service pages.

My blog content creation page says this:

“…feeding the giant beast that is your blog can become overwhelming, even for large organizations.

Our customized blog content services relieve your job stress by delivering top-notch blog posts right to your inbox on the schedule you specify.”

Now we’re talking. Any prospective client filled with feelings of overwhelm on the job will feel relief just reading that. This is a clear value statement.

My ebooks and white papers page says:

“Enhance your authority by offering eBooks and white papers that convey your expertise in solving clients’ problems.”

Again, the value is clear: you can elevate your authority with this service.

If you communicate value at every opportunity on your homepage (and throughout your website), you will find clients clamoring to work with you.

Freelance Writer Website Principle #3: Your Homepage Should Use the Word ‘You’ a Lot

The best way to avoid focusing the homepage on yourself lies in using the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ a lot. It’s very difficult to write about yourself and what you do if you force yourself to phrase everything in second person voice, using ‘you.’

This writing technique will help you shift gears every time you find yourself wanting to write something like:

“We offer years of experience writing all types of digital content.”

“As a nurse, I have healthcare insight no other writer can offer.”

“My clinical experience includes perinatal and emergency department, which makes me an excellent choice to write your service line pages.”

Here’s an exercise for you: Rewrite each of those statements in terms of features and benefits, using the words ‘you’ and ‘your.’ See if that’s not much more appealing to a prospective client.

Freelance Writer Website Principle #4: It’s OK to Talk About Yourself on the Homepage if You’re a Celebrity

If you have managed to garner significant name recognition in your niche, then it’s OK to write about yourself more extensively on the homepage. Say, for instance, you authored a well-known book on a healthcare topic, or you’ve been interviewed on high-profile news programs, radio shows, podcasts, or something like that. In that case, by all means capitalize on any name recognition by including a section about yourself right on the homepage.

I did that on my website, and I’m not even particularly notorious. But I had built considerable Google juice by optimizing for my name and “the nurse who knows content” over the years, and I didn’t want to lose that by transitioning to a new website with a broader focus.

Otherwise, save the biographical info for your About page.

And now you know the main website mistakes I see nurse writers make. Questions? Pushback? Just click ‘reply’ to this email to give me your thoughts!

Elizabeth Hanes

Elizabeth Hanes

Elizabeth Hanes BSN RN is known professionally as "the nurse who knows content." By day, she uses her nursing knowledge and creative writing acumen to produce content that drives results for clients. By night, she teaches other nurses how to achieve their dreams of a professional writing career. In between, she takes frequent breaks to drink Cosmos and walk her dog, Mitzi. Elizabeth lives in Albuquerque, NM. She has never met Walter White or needed Saul Goodman.

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