Unless you’re really old school, you’re probably not cold calling people, nor are you selling your services over the phone or in print advertising.
The majority of your clients are going to find you on the web or, at the very least, they’ll research your name and bylines before reaching out in another venue.
And that’s where your website can make a difference.
A high-quality, well-developed site can push them over the edge to contact you, inquire about rates or even hire you immediately. A poor site (or worse, no site at all) will send them right into your competitors’ arms.
Which camp would you rather fall into?
If building a great website and landing clients easily and quickly sounds like the better option to you, I can help. I’ve developed a seven-step strategy that can make your freelance writing website not only better, more effective and more powerful, but it can actually make you money, too.
Let’s dive right in.
This step should be easy for you. After all, you’re a professional writer!
Don’t just slap up some basic copy like “I offer freelance writing services. Contact me for more details.”
Use your talents to craft captivating copy that tells a story, gains the reader’s trust and makes them believe they need you to accomplish their goals.
Now I know that not everyone is great at writing sales copy. Maybe you’re better at data-driven eBooks, feature stories or personal profiles. Don’t fret! There are plenty of resources out there. You can even enroll in a Udemy class like “Rock Your Sales Copy” for some hands-on tips.
Step 2: Make it Easy to Navigate
Though your content certainly matters, so does the overall design and layout of your website.
You don’t want a site that confuses users or leaves them struggling to find the information they need. You want a simple, straight-forward menu, an easy-to-understand layout and flawless mobile functionality so it displays properly across any device.
Potential clients should be able to come to your site, assess your talents and skills quickly, then contact you with the click of a button or a quick form. The whole process should take no more than a few minutes.
Step 3: Make it Robust
Don’t skimp on the details. Clients come to your website to learn about YOU, so make sure you’re providing them with robust, quality information they can use to make their hiring decisions.
Include a detailed bio page complete with info on your experience, education and any special knowledge or talents. Build out a healthy page of samples, including pieces in every type of writing and niche you offer services in, and offer up a list of services, making sure to get specific about what you can do and it how it can benefit them.
The more robust your website is, the better clients you’ll get from it. They will already know what you’re about, what you offer and what you can do; all that’s left to work out are the payment and project details!
Step 4: Give Away a Freebie on Your Freelance Writing Website
Nobody can pass up free stuff – especially on the web, where sites are littered with advertisements and sales pitches left and right.
If you really want the clients to come calling, consider offering some sort of freebie on your site to entice them. If you specialize in web or SEO content, maybe it could be a free eBook – something like “10 Signs Your Web Content is Hurting Your Bottom Line.” If you have a site like mine, but aimed at travel writers, maybe it could be a free pitch template that can help your audience snag more gigs.
The MAIN objective? Offer something your clients can use and will gain value from.
Sure, you might be giving away a little of that “special sauce” that makes you so talented, but this will show clients that you have their best interests at heart – that you want to not only help them, but also share your knowledge and make them better, stronger competitors in their marketplace. That can go a long way in endearing them to you and your services.
Step 5: Build a Mailing List
When you give away a freebie, ask for an email address in return. Then, use those email addresses to build a mailing list and keep in touch with anyone who may potentially need your services.
If you’re on WordPress, install an opt-in plugin like Optinmonster, Optin Forms or Hellobar to easily integrate an email sign-up on your website. If you’re on a different platform, try signing up for a Constant Contact or MailChimp account. Those will let you create customized sign-up forms right in your account.
Once you snag a client on your list, keep in touch. Send them updates from your blog, loop them in on any news, and send them notifications about any discounts or specials you run. Keep yourself at the top of their mind. After all, you never know when someone is need of content. You could pop up in their inbox at just the right time!
In addition to sending out occasional emails to your subscribers, set up an autoresponder or drip campaign, which is a series of emails designed to convert someone from a lead to a real, paying customer. Here’s a guide that goes into a little more detail on drip campaigns, as well as how you can use them to your advantage.
Step 6: Start a Blog
In my opinion, a blog is a must have for your freelance writing site.
For one, it’s a great way to show off your talents and skills. But even more important than that, it’s also an easy route to monetization.
If you build up a good following on your blog or hone in on a niche audience, you can also sell ad space along the banner, on the sidebars and on the footer.
For a less hands-on approach, sign up for Google Adsense, which will allow you to auto populate your blog with ads from certain websites and niches your audience might enjoy. While this likely won’t be enough to become your full income, it’s a great way to supplement your bank account, while also improving your site and your reputation at the same time.
Step 7: Invest in SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy that increases websites’ rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. It involves choosing appropriate keywords – keywords that potential customers would use to find the site – and using those terms to optimize individual pages on a website.
While it is possible to handle SEO yourself, your best bet is to get a pro to do a quick primer for you. Search engine algorithms change often, so getting to the top of the rankings requires an experienced hand. Get a list of keywords your SEO pro recommends for your site. Then, work those into your blog and social media posts to boost your rankings even more.
Your Freelance Writing Website
Your freelance writing website should work for you, not against you. Walk through these seven steps to get your website up to speed, and I promise, you’ll see an improvement almost instantly.
If you have a freelance writing website you want to share, let me know in the comments!