When I started freelancing, my website was not really working for me. No traffic. No leads. No clients. Nada. And for many months, that’s just how I thought that went.
Today? My mindset on a freelance website is completely different.
For starters, my website has directly or indirectly landed me all of my clients — and it’s also grown into a profitable side-hustle (think: affiliate marketing). For instance, when I landed a $3k website content project without pitching my prospect:
(Psst, my website did the pitching. 😉 ) And that’s how it should be.
After all, your freelance website is more than just some random blog — it’s an extension of your identity. But turning my website into a lead gen machine was by no means an overnight process. It took a lot of trial and error (and still has rework due soon).
There are many ways to go about building your freelance site, but you need to realize that it will never be perfect. Before you get bogged down in the details, check off these essentials.
1) Clear Value Proposition
A value proposition should clearly explain how your service fills a need, communicate the specifics of its added benefit, and state the reason why you are better than other competitors.
On another note, It is important to position your value proposition as a speciality as top-dollar clients prefer working with the pros.
For example, I’ve niched down to a very specific service and for a very specific audience:
Picture: Mark’s Homepage
Using vivid infographics has also proven to be an effective way of making your value proposition stand out.
An example of this is how I use a visual timeline to take my prospects through a step-by-step overview of my services:
Picture: Mark's SaaS content service page
Similarly, you need to break down your value proposition and combine nifty visuals to create compelling sections in your freelance website:
- How can you solve a client's problem?
- The unique benefit of hiring you as their solution provider.
- Tell them how you are better and different from your competition.
A clear value proposition makes it easier for prospects to understand what you offer and why only then be able to decide if you're the right fit for them.
2) Simple to understand UX
Clean navigation that has a continuous flow is extremely important to guide prospects on your website, and ultimately to drive them to hit that contact button.
For instance, my home page copy follows a sequential order that starts from my value prop and ends with a CTA button to contact me:
Similarly, you need to pay attention to the flow of your page copy, navigation, and ensure that it’s logical and not abrupt.
Here are a few ways to ensure simple navigation for your freelance site:
- Adopt a clean minimalist design with a lot of whitespaces.
- Make sure your navigation is well structured and covers everything your prospect wants to see (think: portfolio, services, about, contact).
- Write each page’s copy like you’re writing a landing page and implement storytelling to make things more compelling.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
Essential #3 Get a good hosting plan.
Over my time as a freelancer, I learned that when it comes to page load time, every second counts.
Did you know that 40% of your traffic will abandon your website if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load? A one-second delay in your load time can result in a 7% reduction in your conversion.
This is where a good website hosting provider comes in and helps you maintain that 100% uptime your site deserves.
Trust me, you do not want to lose out on opportunities simply because your website was too slow or did not load at all. So do not compromise on your plan.
The most essential pages for a freelance website
Now, I get that building a freelance website is an ongoing process that can take years.
However, you need to make sure you have the following pages before moving on to anything else:
Home: An overview page that gives your viewers a gist of all the other pages. This is the first-page traffic would land on so you should invest time on this.
About: An important page to add establish an emotional connection with prospects. On a similar note, your about page should tell your prospects who are you and why you are in this industry. Pro tip: Always put a face to the name. Do not feel shy to use your pictures. It boosts the emotional connection.
Services: Another important page that lists out services you offer as a freelancer. Also, make sure to have A-plus copy here.
Testimonials: These are a great way to build trust and authority as clients want to work with freelancers who have other clients backing them up.
Contact form: A simple contact form that allows your visitors to reach out.
Most essential plugins for a freelance website
With your website launched and essential pages in place, you’re just missing one thing and that’s plugins.
Plugins are a great way to extend the functionality of your website with minimal tech headaches.
1. Yoast for SEO: Optimizes your site for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) in 2019 is important, especially when you’re trying to rank for service keywords. This is where Yoast comes in, offering turnkey solutions to freelancers looking to optimize their website and content for SEO, all by customizing a few settings.
2. W3 Total Cache: Makes your website load faster
W3 Total Cache is another essential freelancer plugin that helps make your site load faster (an essential for positive user experience). Just like Yoast, you can customize a few settings and have it set up in a few minutes.
3. OptinMonster: Helps grow your email list
OptinMonster is a lead-gen plugin for creating lead capture forms, focused on high conversion. For example, you can use OptinMonster to create a contact form that captures leads and automatically adds it to a nifty lead list for future use (think: email campaigns, etc.).
So what makes a good freelance website?
Well, there isn’t one single thing that’s going to make your freelance website good. Its a little bit of everything that contributes to building a quality freelance website. Similarly, there’s no one strategy that will make you a better freelancer. It's a collection of many.
At the end of the day, your website is an extension of you. The point of contact between you and your clients, so ensure best practices and make it shine.