There are a lot of variables that contribute to freelance success. Building relationships. Growing your knowledge base. Sharpening your skills. You know, the usual suspects. But those things take time (as they should).
Did you know there are things you can do right now that can have a drastic impact—in the best way possible—on your business?
That's right. I'm talking about your website.
When you're first getting started with freelancing, it can be tough to know precisely what you want your website to look like, what you want it to say, as well as a myriad of technical aspects (hosting, website builders, domains, oh my!).
Even if you don't have everything figured out yet—and believe me a lot of us don't—there are things you can do to your site to show your dream clients that you are the right person for the job.
Let's get started.
Create an eye-catching, yet easy-to-get portfolio
When it comes to pulling together your portfolio, there is no one “right” way to do it. Your portfolio is your chance to show potential clients your skills and verify your experience.
The key to a great portfolio is to strike a balance between showing off your skills and clarity. If you're a writer, this may mean breaking your pieces up into categories by the client, style of writing (e.g., website copy, emails, blog posts, etc.), or topic. If you're a designer, you could organize your work by industry or client challenge.
There are website builders specifically for portfolio creation, which is also a great route to try if you don't have a website up just yet. Portfolio builders make it easy to arrange your work in a visually appealing way. Using a portfolio site might be best for designers or creatives that need more than a link to a URL to showcase their work, but they work great for writers, too.
Here are a few of the top platforms:
Writers/Bloggers/ PR Professionals/Journalists
The bottom line: Include several examples of your work, but not so many that it's too complicated for potential clients to find what they're looking for.
Spell out your services
There's no better way to send a potential client to another freelancer's site than confusing website copy. If a client can't understand what you offer from your website, you're in trouble.
The thing is, you don't have to include paragraphs upon paragraphs of flowery language. In fact, it's probably best to keep it as simple as possible, at least when it comes to describing what you do.
For example, on my website, I have two sentences that describe what I do:
I'm Kat Ambrose, a Maui-based freelance writer who writes value-packed blog content for eCommerce and SaaS companies so they can better serve and educate their audiences and customers. I've ghostwritten and written blog content for several top eCommerce and SaaS companies that specialize in email marketing, shipping and logistics, and CRM.
That’s it. Two sentences. Then, within each service page, I provide more relevant information that potential clients are likely looking for.
In some cases, it might make sense to list a ballpark fee range or your actual rates to help weed out clients that can't afford your services. It's been a gamechanger for me.
Make it easy for people to book a meeting with you
Whether it's through a contact form or an automated scheduling service, make it easy for potential clients to reach out to schedule a call or reach you via email. This seems like a no-brainer, but it's best to leave nothing to question when it comes to your website.
Calendly is an excellent tool that allows potential clients to view your schedule and book a slot that works for both of you. Not to mention, no more confusion around scheduling in different time zones.
Plus Calendly just added a feature that lets you embed your calendar into your site, making it even easier for people to book time with you.
Don’t forget testimonials!
Testimonials are an excellent way to up your cred and establish yourself as an authority in the space you're in. It shows potential clients that you're not only fantastic to work with but that you deliver great work as well.
Testimonials are a powerful sales tool, too. Think about it: If a potential client sees that you helped increase conversions by 15% from content you wrote for a previous client's blog, that's a pretty convincing argument for hiring you.
However, asking for testimonials can be intimidating. When should you ask? Better yet, how should you ask?
It's simple. Ask a client if they'd be willing to write you a testimonial either as you're wrapping up a project or after you've worked with them for a few months and have some results to show for it.
Here are two templates that might make asking a bit easier.
When wrapping up a project:
Hey [Client Name],
I loved working on [insert project] together and achieving [insert results] as a team. I'm adding testimonials to my website, and I would love to include one from you. Would you be willing to write a few sentences about your experience working with me?
When hitting a milestone in your on-going working relationship:
Hey [Client Name],
It's been wonderful working together over the past [insert time frame] on [insert project]. I'm adding testimonials to my website, and I would love to include one from you in the mix. Would you be willing to write a few sentences about your experience working with me?
Small changes, big results
Your website is a powerful tool that plays a massive role in growing your business. Making a few tweaks where necessary can make all the difference, even if they're not monumental changes. You may be surprised how much of an effect a testimonial or a reorganized portfolio may have on your business.
Pick one from this list and get started. You got this. I know so.