If you’re a freelancer, you need your own freelance writing website. It doesn’t have to be great or fancy, really, but it needs to be there.
In this day and age, any potential client shopping for a freelancer is going to Google you. If you don’t have a site, people will wonder why.
These 5 tips will more than get your started.
- If possible name your site after yourself. Using your full name or an obvious variant helps people who know you find you. My pro site is AnneWayman.com – I got it ages ago. Cathy Miller was able to score MillerCathy.com. My son, Michael R. Wilder registered MrWilder.com. I just looked and JRSmithWriter.com is available… Try your first and middle name, your initials, the kind of writer you are, etc. at one point. Whatever you end up using make sure it’s easy to remember and easy to say on the telephone.
- Choose your host carefully. Your host is where your site is actually stored and made available on the ‘net. I like BlueHost (yes, that’s an affiliate link – use it and I’ll earn a commission) because their customer service is 24/7 and all their techs speak excellent English. They also know their stuff.
- Build your site with WordPress. WordPress is thought of as blogging software, but it’s truly a very flexible content management system. This site is on WordPress and is a blog. So is AnneWayman.com and it operates like a static website. BlueHost and others have a one button WordPress install that makes getting started a snap.
- You’ll build your site on a WordPress theme. There are gagillions of them these days, and many free ones. Start with whatever default theme shows up. One of the joys of WordPress is you can change your theme, totally redesigning your site, with the click of a button. Use the default theme to get familiar with WordPress.
- Websites are never perfect. So put yourself on a deadline, of no more than a week or two before you have enough to publish your site so the world can find you.
Remember what your freelance writing website is all about
The whole reason your building a website is to increase your client base and up your income.
That isn’t the only benefit. You can, and should, create some great content for yourself and use social media to actively increase your base.
Beware: This is one of the places where almost everyone messes up, at first!
Our instinct, as writers, is to write what we know. There’s certainly a place for that, yes, but this is where it becomes so critical to remember your goal is to increase your revenue stream. Your site is supposed to do that by bringing in new clients and making you look awesome.
Do you see the trap here?
This is your business site
Our first writing instinct, to write what we know, means we will be writing about writing or editing. If you write a fantastic article about, say, “My Favorite Ten Ways to Avoid Comma Errors” and it ranks way up there in search engines, it will bring in readers, for sure. But who are those readers? Most likely other writers. By all means use it in your credits, but write a few articles or posts that are designed to bring in the clients you want. Tell them about your special skills, what you specialize in or that you’re a true generalist.
You want to write articles targeted at people who are looking for writers!
For example, you might want to write an article like, “Five Ways to Find a the Right Freelance Writer”. It’s important to note that often small shifts in tone can move essentially the same article from one market to another. Despite being essentially the same question, people looking for writers will probably search for something like “What Does a Freelance Writer Cost?” rather than, “How Much Does a Freelance Writer Charge?” which would likely attract freelancers.
Your freelance writing website is a key marketing tool
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of a website. Building it, tweaking it, promoting it . . . Not that we’ve ever done that. Remember this is just part of your business, and not the part that puts food on the table—at least, not at first.
So, yes, you need to put a lot of TLC into your site if your want it to shine, but not at the expense of passing up on paying work, or letting it distract you from that purpose.
This is also something to keep in mind as a philosophy during the design. Your rates, bio, and examples of your work should be easily accessible, and potential clients should be able to contact you at any point in the process with one click.
If you keep this in mind, your first freelance writing website will practically design itself. Make it clean, make it clear, and don’t get hung up on the small stuff.
I’ll be happy to answer questions about your freelance writing website in comments
Write well and often,