Deciding you need a website is a good first step. But what on earth do you put on it as a newbie freelancer?
It’s a tricky time. You may think that being new to this means you’ve got nothing to put on a website. However, there are a few standard features to include, whether you’ve been freelancing for a day or for years. As your experience grows and you become more focused, you can always add more and edit what you’ve got. Here’s how to get started.
The goal of your website
First of all it’s important to recognise that the primary goal of your website is to get a client to sign up with you. This is known as a conversion, you’re converting website visitors into clients.
To do this you need to give people a reason to come to your website in the first place. Once there, it needs to be clear what you do and how you can help.
Your website must be easy to navigate and the process to contact and sign up with you needs to be smooth.
With that in mind, here are some essentials every freelancer should feature on their website.
The About page is one of the most visited pages on any website and for good reason. It’s a solid starting point to learn more about you and what you provide.
One of the mistakes a lot of freelancers make is they make it all about them. It’s an easy mistake to make, what else would you talk about? As harsh as it might sound, clients don’t need to hear your life story. All they want to know is: what’s in it for them?
That doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little personality or background, this could make you more memorable. Just don’t make it the focus. Keep it short and make the majority of the content about what you can give your clients. Try to ask yourself what questions the client will have about you and work backwards.
Details of services
Ideally you want people to arrive on your website and find out within seconds what you do and specialise in. Any confusion can be a disruption in the sign up process which always works better if it’s as smooth as possible.
Examples of work
As a new freelancer, you’re not expected to have tons of samples. However, don’t just leave a big blank space or a ‘coming soon’ message. Your potential clients need to see what you can do. Real work examples are best but you can always create spec work.
For example, if you’re trying to find work as a copywriter, create some examples of home page copy or product descriptions. Just ensure you’re not saying it was real work as this is very misleading.
Many freelancers will offer to work for free to get genuine samples on their site. This is entirely up to you. Some freelancers will tell you to avoid free work at all costs, others encourage it as a learning process and necessary evil. The most important thing to remember is not to make it a habit.
If all goes well and a client wants to start the process off, they’ll need a clear way to contact you. A contact page in the menu is the least you should include.
Freelancers and big businesses also have success having sticky sign up buttons that are always on the side wherever you are on the site or having a link to sign up at the bottom of certain pages, especially the Services and Portfolio pages to make the ‘buying process’ smoother.
Some people swear by them, others think it’s a waste of time. A blog can be a good way to show off your expertise and also bring in potentials to your website. If you’re a writer, then it can be an invaluable resource and insight into your work for clients.
However, if you don’t have the time or will to maintain one and consistently upload quality content, then it may not be for you. An abandoned blog will do more harm than good so think carefully before you do start one.
You don’t have to include details of your rates but some freelancers do. The good side to advertising rates is you’ll only get people who are willing to pay those fees contacting you This can save you a lot of wasted time.
The downside to advertising rates is that you don’t get to have a conversation first. People may see your rates and quickly rule them out. If you can get them on the phone to discuss a quote, you’ve got a better chance to sell yourself and sign the client on.
People will always be more likely to buy from someone they trust. One way to develop this trust is to include testimonials as well as examples of work. Testimonials give potential clients an insight into how you are to work with and the quality of your work they should expect.
Are you in the process of building a website? What else are you thinking of including? Let us know your thoughts below.