Marketing Your Craft: The Best Way to Create a Freelance Website
Freelancing can be a lucrative way to earn money while perfecting your craft. Freelancers earn money by working on a contractual basis for clients or companies that pay according to specific projects, rather than a regular salary. Freelancing can be a very profitable endeavor for the “artist” who is able to secure regular clients and keep the cash flowing. However, many freelancers struggle due to the lack of exposure they receive. Many companies are not aware of where to find good freelancers and how to bid for their services. Creating a good website is an effective way to market your services and connect with clients who want to take advantage of your expertise.
A great deal of freelancers are not aware of how a website can help them secure new projects. Graphic artists, writers, IT specialists and actors all benefit from a well-designed, information-rich website. Websites are the best way to reach a diverse audience of available clients, while showcasing your work and outlining your rates and policies.
Create a Budget
The first consideration in creating an effective website is to develop a working budget for the site. The most important factor in your budget is to find cheap web hosting services. The provider will house your site, and provide you with the bandwidth needed to maintain your graphics and files on the server. Finding an affordable web hosting provider is imperative, because many companies charge outrageous fees that eat into your marketing budget.
Secondly, figure out whether you will design the site yourself or hire a designer to create a site for you. Many freelancers, especially those in the graphic and web design fields, save money by developing their own site design. This is a good option to cut down on cost. Freelancers who are not skilled in web design can search for site providers that provide user-friendly templates.
Gather Your Content
The second step is to decide what content you will feature on your site. Although it is tempting to add all of your work samples to the site, consider that your reader will probably not have time to review all of your work. In addition, large amounts of files take up bandwidth on your site and can cause your page to load slowly. Choose a few of your best samples, along with short testimonials from past clients, if available.
Avoid flashy graphics that some of your potential clients may not be able to load on their computers. Keeping your design simple, easy to navigate and user-friendly is key to creating a great website.
Elements To Include
The first thing you need to include on your site (besides your work samples) is information on yourself and your areas of specialty. This is especially important if you’re targeting a niche market, such as finance, medical fields, or education. A writer who only produces technical manuals, for example, should include that as an area of expertise on their main page, to effectively target those clients. This will also save the freelancer from fielding a lot of calls and emails from clients that are not a good fit.
Include detailed contact information on every page of your site. This should include an email contact, phone number and address, if applicable. Many freelancers fail to include contact information, or bury it in an obscure place on their site. This is a mistake. Your contact information should be prominently displayed on every page.
Add links to your site. For artists with published work, adding links adds credibility to your business and increases your chances of landing clients. Additionally, ask clients who have used your services to create a link on their page that points to your site. This will go a long way in making your site visible to a large number of potential clients.
Creating a website is a valuable marketing tool for freelancers and can lead to more projects and land you more high-profile clients. Finding an affordable web hosting provider, making your site user-friendly, and marketing your site goes a long way in landing those prime assignments.