Do Freelance Writers Need a Website?
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Many people have turned to freelance writing as a way to be in business for themselves and to escape the corporate grind. If you do a good job of marketing your services and do good work, it’s possible to earn a full-time living working from home writing marketing materials for companies of all sizes. If you are thinking about getting started as a freelance writer, you may be wondering: do freelance writers need a website?
Freelance writers need a website to market their services. It serves as a place where clients can learn about you, your services, and other things. A website is also a place to showcase writing samples. A contact page makes it easy for people to get in touch with you.
Why Do Freelance Writers Need a Website?
Freelance writing is a business. As such, you should take it seriously if you want to build and grow it into something you can support yourself with and be proud of.
Although some may cringe at the idea of building a website, it’s necessary to have one to attract and land clients. A freelance writer without a website may not come across as being as professional as someone with an online presence.
Building a website these days isn’t the challenging ordeal that it was in previous years. Thankfully, you no longer have to know how to code to create a great-looking site.
Many modern websites were built with WordPress, a free content management system. After installing WordPress, a theme is then installed to give it a custom look. Many themes offer drag-and-drop interfaces, which makes it very easy to customize the appearance of your website.
If you prefer not to build your own site, another option is to hire someone to build one for you. There are many talented website designers to choose from. Prices vary, so be sure to shop around for the best deal.
Let’s take a closer look at several reasons why freelance writers need a website:
1. It’s a Powerful Marketing Tool
Perhaps the most important reason why freelancers need a website is because it acts as a powerful marketing tool. It sells your services for you 24/7.
You can think of your website as an expanded version of a business card. It clearly states what you do, who you do it for, shows samples of your work, and other things.
There are several ways potential clients could find your website. They could find it by searching on the internet, for example. They could also find your LinkedIn profile and click through to your website to learn more about you. People can easily learn about your writing business while you are doing other things – like sleeping.
2. It Showcases Your Best Work
When potential clients are checking you out and they haven’t decided whether to use your services, they are going to want to review some writing samples. They want to see if you have the writing skills they are looking for to help them sell their products and services.
It’s kind of like buying a new car without getting to see or test drive it before signing on the dotted line. Would you buy from a car salesman who says “trust me” and won’t let you even look at the product? Most people wouldn’t. It’s the same way with selling your services as a freelance writer.
A freelance writer website is a great place to include a portfolio of writing samples. Ideally, you want to include links to live samples published on the internet. Clients can easily review these samples to see if your writing style matches what they are looking for.
3. It Helps People Find You in the Search Engines
Another reason why you want to have a website as a freelance writer is because if you optimize it for SEO, clients may be able to find you in the search engines when they search for certain phrases.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It involves doing things to your website so that it will rank high in the search engines for things that people are searching for. For example, if you specialize in technology writing, you could optimize your website so that it ranks for “technology writer” and other search terms.
SEO is very important to businesses because it brings in free traffic from the search engines. Many businesses, in fact, rely exclusively on search engine traffic for all of their revenue.
SEO isn’t an overnight thing. It does take time for the search engines to rank a website for search terms. Nevertheless, if you get SEO right, it’s possible that you could acquire clients from people finding your website online.
4. It Makes You Look Professional
Appearance matters. Clients prefer to hire writers who are professional and look like they’ve got it together. A writer website helps to establish credibility. It makes you look like a business owner instead of someone who just dabbles in freelance writing as a hobby.
5. It Clearly States Who Your Clients Are
Most freelance writers specialize in one or more types of writing – or niches, as they are called. Although it may sound counterintuitive, you can actually land more clients by specializing than you can by being a generalist.
The reason for this is simple. When most people hire someone to do some work for them, they prefer to hire someone who is an expert instead of a generalist. Who would you rather hire when you need your home’s HVAC system repaired – someone who does general handyman work or someone who specializes in repairing HVAC systems?
Your website should plainly state what your niches are on the homepage, preferably near the top. If finance is your niche, for example, it should clearly state “freelance finance writer” on your website. If a client has to spend much time looking for this information, he or she is probably going to move on to the next writer.
Your website should also state the types of clients you work with. Using the finance writer example again, your website could state that you work with the following clients:
- Credit Unions
- Accounting Software Companies
- Financial Technology Companies
- Personal Finance Blogs
- Real Estate Agencies
Clearly stating who you work with on your website helps you to attract the right clients. Although there may be some cases where you might want to write for other niches, it’s best to stay focused.
What Your Freelance Writer Website Should Include
By now, it should be clear that having a website is an important component of a successful freelance writing business. It serves several important functions and positions you as someone who is serious about your business instead of someone who just dabbles with writing on the side.
What should your freelance writer website include?
A freelance writer website doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn’t have to be fancy or have a blog that you have to post to regularly.
The following are a few elements that all freelance writer websites should include:
1. Pictures of You
When prospective clients check out your website, they want to learn more about who they will be working with. That means including several pictures of you.
A great way to include images of you on your writer website is to include one on each page. In all of your pictures, you want to look friendly and approachable. Try to avoid images that are stiff and business-like.
2. Your Writing Niches
The niches you specialize in should be clearly written on the homepage of your website, preferably at the top in big, bold letters. Another thing to consider is to add a tagline below your niche like “words that work” or something that catches people’s attention.
It’s also important to state on your website that you are a freelance writer. This lets people know that you are a business owner offering your services to other businesses and that you aren’t looking for a job.
3. A Professional Logo
Having a logo on your website makes it look more professional. The good news about professional logos is you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a really nice one made. You can easily find many talented and affordable logo designers on Fiverr and Upwork.
4. A Homepage
The homepage of your writer website is usually the first thing that people see. The best homepages are actually very simple. In addition to including a picture of you and your niches, you also want to have a little bit of introductory text here.
It’s important not to go overboard with the text on your homepage. In fact, it’s best to keep it short. About 150 words is plenty. If it’s too long, people won’t bother reading all of it.
Your homepage may also include a few other elements like the logos of a few of your previous clients and some short testimonials.
5. Why Me Page
Many websites have an “About” page. But that doesn’t really work for freelance writer websites. A better approach is to include a “Why Me?” page that explains why you are the solution to the problems your clients are experiencing.
On your “Why Me?” page, it’s important not to turn it into an online resume. Instead, try to think of a pain point your clients may be having and then explain why you can help them with their issue.
6. Services Page
Your services page should clearly indicate the type of writing services you offer. It could include a short introductory paragraph and then a bulleted list of writing projects that you do. For example:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Blog Posts
- Book Ghostwriting
- Website Content
7. Samples Page
As the name implies, the samples page is where you include links to live articles you wrote that are published on the internet.
There are two schools of thought with samples pages. The first is to only include a few samples so you don’t overwhelm prospects. The other is to include many samples, perhaps dozens, to give your clients a good idea of your writing style and the clients you’ve previously written for.
8. Hire Me Page
Instead of a “Contact Me” page, a “Hire Me” page is more interesting and clearly communicates the action people are taking when they fill out the form and click submit. When they do this, they intend to hire you to do some writing for them. It’s also possible that they may have some questions about your services.
9. Logos of Previous Clients
As previously mentioned, a great way to present yourself as a professional is to include the logos of a few companies you’ve previously written for on your homepage. This is a powerful selling point that many people consider when making a decision to use your services.
Another great thing you can add to your writer website to build trust is testimonials from previous clients. You can obtain testimonials from your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn makes it very easy for you to ask for a testimonial and post it to your profile after you have completed work for a client.
If you are new to freelance writing, you won’t have any testimonials. You can add some later as you land quality clients and do great work for them.
Your Online Business Card
Freelance writers definitely need websites to attract and land clients. The website is an important marketing tool that helps you to position yourself as a professional business owner offering services to other businesses.
Although you do need a website to help market your services, you don’t have to build one that is fancy or elaborate. A simple site is all you need. And if you aren’t interested in learning how to build a website, you may be able to hire someone to do the job for you.
A website is not something you should skip if you are serious about building a freelance writing business. It serves an important function in your marketing strategy. It could mean the difference between someone hiring you and that person moving on to another writer and you losing out on the work.