For project hopping, client juggling freelancers and contractors, the need to have an online presence or website has never been greater. A telling 84% of people believe that small businesses with a website and online presence are more credible than those without, as we increasingly hire, buy, sell and swap services and products online.
Given that online presence influences the buying – or in a freelancer’s case – the hiring decision, it might come as a surprise though that more than 50% of small businesses don’t even have something as simple as a website.
Cheap, relatively easy to build and super-simple to update from time to time, a portfolio website could well give you the edge over your fellow freelancers, making all the difference when it comes to attracting new clients.
But how do you go about building a website that’s going to win you work? Well, here’s how…
Do you work as Joe Bloggs the freelancer, or through your own limited company? Either way, head to GoDaddy and buy your own website domain name. From as little as a few pounds a year you can secure yours. It’s unique and personal to you. If you’re a UK freelancer or contractor, aim for a domain name ending in ‘.co.uk’, or even better ‘.com’. It adds a little more weight.
Building a website today is a far simpler than it once was, thanks to the forever growing list of website builders and hosting platforms. The big guns, Squarespace, Wix, Wordpress and Weebly make building a beautiful website doable, even for those of us whose forte doesn’t lie in tech.
Choose from dozens of off-the-shelve themes, and get personalising. More often than not, building your first website will be a case of dragging and dropping widgets to customise an already existing theme. Trust us. For first timers, it’s easier this way.
First impressions matter. We’re a judgemental bunch. 75% of us make up our mind about a company based on website alone. So make it look the part for goodness sake. Nobody is asking for an all singing, all dancing super-slick website, but a smartly designed site will give off the right impression.
If you’re a freelance photographer with a tonne of amazing images, then simply upload your own. If you’re after a wide range of powerful, royalty-free pictures to make your website stand out, just visit Unsplash.
Keep it simple. A homepage, about, portfolio, contact and possibly even a blog section is more than enough to get you started. Work on the basis than less is more. If a potential client heads to your website, they’ll be on a mission to see get a sense of who you are, what you do and the work you've done, before getting in touch.
Your website content should be concise and to the point. Imagine that you’re explaining your business proposition and services to a child. Avoid jargon, and make sure you hammer home how you can benefit the client.
It’s worth thinking about SEO too. SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, and in simple terms is an activity you can carry out to make your website appear when people around the world search for keywords relevant to what you do.
If you’re a London freelance developer for example, you might want to include industry keywords like ‘java’, ‘full-stack’, ‘freelance’, ‘developer’ and ‘London’ in your web copy so people searching for these terms can find you. There’s a sea of competition out there though, so it makes sense to be as niche and inventive as possible, so your website can climb higher in the rankings.
Link your social media profiles to your new website and get Tweeting, Facebooking and contributing to chats and involved with relevant online communities. Playing your part in the ongoing industry conversation is a useful way to link back to your website and build your freelance profile.
Play around with social media advertising too. Once you’ve set up your company profile pages and accounts, you can advertise to targeted people, groups and locations for as little as a few pounds a week.
Make it mobile.
61% of people are unlikely to return to a mobile site they've had trouble accessing, with 40% of those heading directly to a competitor instead. It sounds obvious, but double check the theme you’ve selected for your website is mobile friendly. These days, business is done on-the-go, from tablets and smart-phones.
Suggestions or questions on building your freelancer website? Get commenting…