I’ve been freelancing for over a year. Since then, I’ve scaled my freelancing business and more than doubled my income in a short time. How?
Well, there are many things that have contributed to my success, but one thing that’s been a major enabler is branding. Most people think branding is just for power players, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, freelancers need branding more than most because a majority of their clients hire them through the internet. After all, no client will hire someone random on the internet, especially top-dollar clients looking for experts.
Enter: Freelance website, a powerful strategy to build a solid online brand without prior connects.
Whether you’re looking to create a freelance website, or are looking to revamp your existing — this article shares nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to most situations.
So let’s get started!
Why do I even need a freelance site?
Many freelancers don’t bother creating a freelance site (or a good one) because they don’t think it’ll work for them. But a majority of my clients have been either directly (or indirectly) influenced by my website.
Here are three key benefits:
Benefit #1: You position yourself as an expert
A personal webpage is a great way to reinforce your capabilities. It shows your client what you've done (read: portfolio) and what you have to offer (read: services). And because you own the site, from the title to the portfolio and testimonials — you control everything. This is particularly great when you're trying to land clients who are in search of well-rounded experts.
Benefit #2. You create trust and credibility
One of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer is getting leads to trust you. This is where a freelance site comes into play and helps bridge the credibility gap by creating a 'somewhat' tangible presence on the internet — and building credibility helps command higher rates.
What's more, a client would prefer to hire a freelancer with a website than a freelance without as this helps the client know that the freelancer they’re hiring actually exists.
Benefit #3: Organic Lead Machine
It's no secret that a website is excellent to generate organic leads, especially because of its SEO and brand benefits.
In my case, I've optimized my website for my target audience, and continuously get queries from qualified leads. What's more, I've also optimized my website for SEO and thus rank on the first page for the query “Freelance writer for SaaS”—
And guess what?
Now, I get queries all the time without having to outreach and hustle to get clients. This is pretty much the dream of every freelancer.
Benefit #4: Build a side-hustle (bonus)
A freelance website is not just beneficial to land more clients, but can also extend as a profitable side-hustle.
In my case, my freelance site also serves an affiliate marketing blog. This works out great as there are many reliable affiliate programs that are looking to partner up with legit freelancers, especially if you already use their tools.
Apart from affiliate marketing, there are many other businesses you can start on the side:
- Selling info-products (think checklists, eBooks, etc.).
- Courses teaching key skills potential freelancers would like to learn.
- Advertising (think client products).
How to create a freelance website
Most freelancers shy away from creating a freelance website because they think it's too complicated. Yes, that was true in the past, but today? You can build a freelance website in a matter of hours.
The advent of drag-and-drop website builders has made it possible to build websites without writing a single line of code. So you don’t need to spend countless hours learning, or shell out thousands of dollars on a coder.
Follow these three simple steps:
- Choose a brand-worthy domain name.
- Pick a reliable host.
- Install an SEO-friendly WordPress theme
Step 1. Choose a brand-worthy domain name:
A domain name is how your audience (read: potential clients) recognizes you on the internet.
My Recommendation: NameCheap
I use and recommend getting your domain from NameCheap as they have affordable pricing and offer the best customer support.
Pro Tip: Don't fuss over choosing a 'perfect' domain name. Your full name should work just fine, or play around with your name (as I did).
Step 2. Pick a reliable host:
The next step is to pick a reliable website hosting to host your site.
Remember, a host keeps your website live 24/7 so it's vital to choose one that has the chops to keep your site live.
My Recommendation: SiteGround
Get SiteGround Now
I use SiteGround and recommend it as they offer economical pricing, great customer support, and more importantly, excellent servers.
Fun fact: SiteGround is ranked as the #1 hosting on several FB pools.
Step 3. Install an SEO-friendly WordPress theme
Now, this step is a little technical, but I assure you this should take no more than one hour, especially if you use WordPress.
The main reason you can want to start your freelance site with WordPress is so that you can build the website without writing a single line of code. What’s more, WordPress powers 30% websites on the internet, so you’ll be part of an awesome community and receive support when needed.
Additional step: How to get WordPress?
Just, go to https://wordpress.org/ and click on the icon "Get WordPress." Hit download and save it on your desktop. Then Upload this file into your hosting server using FTP software like Filezilla.
Note: If you get SiteGround, you can avoid this step as it has an automatic installation feature.
Once you get WordPress, you need to install an SEO-friendly WordPress theme.
Why focus on SEO? Because in the long run, you rather have a website that’s optimized for SEO than one that’s not.
My recommendation: GeneratePress
GeneratePress is a lightweight and straightforward WP theme that's perfect for clean freelance sites. I personally use it for my website and have nothing but good things to say about it.
On another note, you can integrate GeneratePress with builder like Divi. Divi is an excellent visual builder that lets you build stunning custom websites without writing a single line of code.
Pro tip: Divi has awesome custom child templates that let you build custom websites in a matter of minutes.
Launch your freelance website!
A freelance site is a great way to add a whole new perspective to your brand. What's more, it's a great differentiator tool to stand out from the noise. But remember, don't develop shiny object syndrome and keep tweaking the site, especially when you’re at the design phase (I’ve done this).
Instead, just do enough to meet the bare essentials of the freelance site and ship as fast as possible.