As a freelance blogger, ideally you have a blog that you update regularly.
Why? Well, many of my clients wouldn’t have hired me if it weren’t for Leaving Work Behind – maintaining an active blog not only demonstrates that you can write, but it shows that you know what you’re doing when it comes to the world of blogging.
But if not, you should definitely have some kind of portfolio site. It could just be a relatively simple one-pager, or a few pages that contain testimonials, samples, etc.
But regardless of the shape and style of your online presence, it could probably do with a spruce up. In this post I am going to give you some quick and actionable tips that you can use to improve your freelancer website – and attract more clients – in no time at all.
What to Eliminate From Your Freelancer Website
- Blank or “Under Construction” pages. This aint the ’90s folks – “Under Construction” pages are a big no-no! If you’ve not written, polished and proofread content for a page yet, it shouldn’t be visible to visitors.
- Links to any of your own websites and blogs that you don’t actively maintain. By linking to out-of-date sites, you’re basically telling prospective clients that you’re (a) no longer actively looking for work, and/or (b) aren’t as attentive as a good freelancer typically is.
- Irrelevant/out-of-date samples. You may have come a long way in the past weeks or months, but prospective clients will only know that if you demonstrate it to them through your samples!
- Unmaintained/irrelevant social media accounts. Linking to social media accounts that you don’t keep up to date demonstrates that you aren’t necessarily fully invested in your online business. Linking to a social media account where you link to kitten memes and funny YouTube videos doesn’t make the best impression either.
- Endless service offerings. It may feel like listing your writing services alongside editing, virtual assistance, coaching and dog walking should give you a better chance of landing work, but in reality, it is likely to put prospective clients off. People are generally looking for a master of one trade, not a jack-of-all.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes. You must not have a single mistake on your site. If you have any, you are basically telling any prospective client that they can expect plenty more where that came from. This post may help.
What to Change In Your Freelancer Website
- Gaudy, unnecessary design elements. If you’re not particularly talented when it comes to website design, keep it as simple as possible. Leaving Work Behind is a good example of simple being effective (if I do say so myself). Here are a bunch of free WordPress themes that will do a good job for you.
- Complicated and/or confusing navigation. Make it easy for prospective clients to find the most important things: services, samples, testimonials and your contact details. You may well be able to fit everything on one page, like I do. Don’t make things any more complicated than they need to be!
- Your copy. Effective copy can make all the difference when it comes to pitching clients and generating leads. The idea of writing ‘copy’ may sound somewhat intimidating, but in reality it’s just a case of explaining what value you can offer people. Check the post I wrote about putting together a “Hire Me” page to learn more.
What to Add to Your Freelancer Website
- More samples. I cannot understate the importance of samples. The provenance (i.e. where the piece was published), quality and relevance of your articles will be scrutinized by prospective clients. If you don’t yet have many (or any) good-quality clients, try to get published on relatively reputable sites (like Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, etc.) as a guest poster. Getting published on such sites may not be easy, but that’s why such samples are so valuable.
- More testimonials. When you’re starting out you should aim to get testimonials from every single client. You can’t really have enough of them. If you don’t have any (or many) clients yet, try to get relatively ambiguous (yet positive) testimonials from anyone who has any kind of professional relationship with you (and doesn’t share the same surname!).
- More contact details (in more places). A prospective client should never have to look far to find a means of contacting you. Start by having a standalone contact page that is linked to from your navigation bar, but don’t necessarily stop there. You can include contact forms (or links to your email address) anywhere on your site.
- Social media accounts. Many prospective clients love for their freelancers to have active social media accounts, so that you can share their articles and give them a bit of a jumpstart in terms of engagement. So if you are actively maintaining a social media account, be sure to link to it from your freelancer website. If you don’t yet have an account, put some thought into starting one (my catch-all recommendation would be Twitter).
- Blog posts. Creating your own blog can make all the difference between earning a relatively modest rate as a freelance blogger and getting into that $150+ per article bracket. If you can run even a modestly successful blog – with some evident engagement within the comments section – prospective clients will be impressed. In short, don’t just talk the talk – walk the walk.
- Email subscription forms. If someone isn’t ready to be your client yet, maybe they will in the future, or maybe they will know someone in the future. This has happened to me more than once – long time subscribers turned “headhunters” have approached me to ask if I would be interested in writing for someone they are sourcing writers for.
Implement the Above and You Will Succeed
I challenge anyone to implement all of the above suggestions and not get more clients and eventually earn a higher rate. I’d love to hear from you so I can do my best to help you out.
Otherwise, I welcome any freelancers to share their own suggestions as to how we can improve our websites! Fire away in the comments section below.