When freelancing for a living, a business website to refer clients to is a must. This is a simple and professional way to let clients know what services and expertise you can provide. But what information is essential to share? As one who has been freelancing for years, here are 8 things I feel are absolute musts on a freelance web writer's website.
A bio describing some of your experiences, interests, and areas of expertise should be included in a prominent area. This lets potential clients know exactly what you are all about. You want them to know this because it helps them decide if you may be what they are looking for. Would you rather hire a construction contractor who was upfront with their skills and experience or one who simply stated he was a contractor with no additional information? Freelance writing is no different.
Experience is touched on briefly above, but you may be wondering what to include. Experience can refer to degrees and it also can refer to work or research that you've done. For instance, are there special clients or media agencies you have worked for? Do you have a degree that contributes to what you produce as a freelance writer? How many years have you been freelancing? These are just some of the things you can discuss on your website.
Potential clients will need to see what type of work you are capable of. It also is a good way to show your professionalism and skills to more people. You can still email samples to potential clients, but it will be much easier for both of you (and provide a wider reach) if you make these easily available on your website. Some may choose to display these as files that can be downloaded. Others may choose to link to work they've done around the web for various clients and content sites like Associated Content.
A contact form is an easy way for potential clients, as well as readers, to communicate with you. These are easy to set up and can be customized to fit your purpose. These forms will forward directly to your email address. It makes contacting a simple and quick process for those who visit your website. They also can help to cut down on spam requests, as many can be customized to track IP addresses, ask for a captcha code, and other preventative measures.
This is where you can engage and interact with your audience. It's where you can talk about different aspects of the writing business, give writing tips, and also give updates on your business ventures. Don't be afraid to add some fun things in every now and then. Who you went out with last night and what you did may not be a good topic for a blog on your business website, but adding an appropriate personal touch is good. It helps followers and potential clients connect with you.
RSS and Email Subscriptions
Freelance web writers should always have a way for their audience to stay updated on their work. RSS feeds and email subscriptions can be extremely helpful here. Some content sites that freelancers may write for already have RSS feeds available to the writer. These can be placed in widgets that allow readers to view or subscribe to the content via email or feed readers. Each time a piece of content is published to the feed, those who are subscribed will be updated. Making this available on your website can be helpful in building a following.
Social Media Connections
If you are using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) to increase your online presence or to make connections in the writing world, place those links on your business website. This will help people connect with you around the web and can be useful in creating a following. Not everyone is comfortable with every form of communication. Social media helps create a variety of ways to connect with your readership.
Every freelance web writer should have some form of interaction on their website. RSS, blogs, and social media links are a few ways people can interact with you and the site. You may also want to have an advice page where readers can use a simple contact form to put in suggestions or ask advice that you can answer in upcoming articles. A forum is also a good source of interaction, but only create one if you have time to keep up with it. The main point is to have some way that readers can interact with you and/or your website. This will keep people coming back.
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*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network