Every freelancer is different. If you’re a freelance PA, your website will be very different from that of a freelance graphic designer.
However, there are several features that every freelancer’s business website should include, regardless of the industry he or she works within.
Phone numbers, social media profile names and email addresses are all essential. Depending on the services you offer, your precise physical address may be necessary too, together with an easy to use map and clear directions if clients will be visiting.
Most professional sites use ‘top navigation’ these days – i.e. they have a menu or navigation bar at the top of the screen, directing you to the main pages or sections of the website. Less important or ancillary pages should be accessible through drop-down menus from this main navigation bar. Breadcrumb navigation on each page can also be a good idea, particularly if you have a large or complex website, as it allows users to see parent pages easily and go back a level with a click.
Although your site may be small and simple, a search tool is always handy. If I land on a website that doesn’t have the courtesy to include one, I find it very frustrating, and tend to presume that the site owner isn’t that bothered about visitors finding what they’re looking for, and not that fussed about their custom or interest. If you can’t be bothered, why should your visitor be? Slap up a search tool!
A blog helps you interact with potential clients and others in your industry, with the potential to entertain, inform and show your human side. Think about what their interests might be and base blog posts around these areas, including topics related to your business or area of expertise.
If you offer Indian Head Massage, for instance, your clients might like blog posts on things as diverse as aromatherapy oils, hair care, scalp conditions, causes of neck ache and a whole host of conventional and alternative treatments. Also, of course, your blog gives you a platform to deliver news of your latest offers and services.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Ensure your pages and text contain tags and phrases that potential clients might search for – and that search engines will find and recognise easily. Put yourself in their shoes; what might they be searching for? You may think your complete brochure service is great value, but will a customer searching for ‘cheap graphic design’ find your site? If you’re not sure how to go about optimising your site, browse the web – there are plenty of articles about SEO, including many aimed at SEO novices.
Testimonials allow you to show off a little without seeming arrogant (because they are your clients’ words, not yours!) and gives potential clients confidence in your ability – and your reliability, too.
Your chance to show what you can do. You can reel off the names of important clients and projects, but there’s no substitute for the impact of showing potential clients not just your end results, but how you approach a project too.
About Me page
Hiring a freelancer is very different from using the services of a faceless corporation; it’s more personal. Clients tend to want to know a little about you. What experience do you have? How did you get here?
This doesn’t mean writing a memoir or digitally publishing your diaries from the last decade; it means writing briefly about yourself and your career so far, while allowing a little of your personality to shine through.
This security feature can prevent a lot of spam and automated messages that your website can be open to via a contact form, blog comments or anywhere on your site where you allow interaction or the input of email addresses to your website.
Of course, there are many more features and tweaks that could improve your website and make it shine, but by ensuring your site includes all of the features above, you’ll have made an excellent start on the journey to perfection!