If you’ve been following my strategies to becoming a high-earning freelance writer, than you know that one of the 5 pillars to freelance writing success is the “Right Branding.”
To charge top-dollar for your writing services, it’s important to project a strong image of success online so you can build your reputation.
How do you create this booming presence online?
- You develop a winning portfolio.
- You create a Facebook business page and Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
- You design an effective and attractive personal website.
Still having trouble attracting high-paying clients?
You’ve conquered your specialty; you’ve set up social media accounts, and you’re getting your name and work out there as much as you can, but you still find yourself searching for work day after day. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t the clients coming to you?
It may be time to re-think your website design.
Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that my website has directly affected my work stream.
Think of your writer website as one of the main components of your freelance writing career. It is the source to which all of your other online profiles are connected. It displays who you are as a writer and should represent you at your very best. It can literally mean the difference between you scrambling for work, and direct clients coming to YOU.
So, what does a successful freelance writer’s website look like?
This is not easy to answer as websites come in all shapes and sizes. But, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- A good website will have a clean, organized and uncluttered design that allows for easy navigation.
- It should give the visitor a sense of who the writer is and what type of writing or services he/she offers.
- It includes a portfolio of writing examples, testimonials from other clients, and most importantly a clear way to contact the writer.
- A website should exhibit professionalism and be pleasant to look at. If a website is professional and pleasant and looks like effort went into constructing it, your prospective clients could also view YOU the same way. In some ways, your website is a direct reflection of you.
To see some examples, check out my post where I displayed some of the top writer’s websites in the biz.
“Oh what a feelin…”
A client’s first few MOMENTS on your website are key.
In these moments you need to grasp their attention, make them feel warm and welcome, and let them know you can fulfill their needs. Sometimes all of this can be answered in the way your site makes them FEEL. Use warm, inviting colors; a friendly picture of yourself or friendly logo can help put them at ease. And, most of all, add a 30-60 second “elevator pitch” or blurb to attract their attention and assure them they’ve come to the right place.
There are a couple of routes you can take as far as what kind of website best represents you as a writer.
- A personal writer’s site
- A company/brand website
Both choices can be lucrative and beneficial in their own ways. Remember though, the key is to create a strong presence, and make the client feel that you will take care of them.
Here is an example of a personal writer’s site that displays all of the attributes listed above.
What you’ll notice about Kristi’s page is that from the second you arrive, you are greeted with a friendly, welcoming picture, a clear concise short description of who she is as a writer, and a link to connect with her directly. Even though she is not positioning herself as a company, she is displaying a clear message that lets the client know she is professional, and ready to meet their needs.
Now, here is an example of my company/team website.
As you can see, once again, the first impression is welcoming. The differences are subtle, yet effective. There is a logo that represents the presence of a team. There is a clear concise message as to what types of services I offer and a direct link/form to contact me. Both of these sites are well put together and possess all of the qualities of a successful website.
Is there an advantage to acting as a team or company?
Positioning myself as a company has allowed me to command higher rates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t command high rates with a personal brand. I find that acting as more of an agency allows me to “appear” larger, and with that comes an expectation of a certain level of service and pricing. Having said that, I know many freelance writers who use their personal brand and earn six figures easily. I prefer the team/company website and setup also because I would rather manage a team of writers than do all the work myself. You can find more information on this setup here.
If you’d like to make the change from a personal site to a company site, here are some things that will change on your writer website:
- Website name – Avoid using your own name. Include a domain that is more like a company instead of your first name (Linderscontent.com).
- Use verbiage throughout that uses “we” instead of “I.”
- Company Logo – Rather than a friendly picture of yourself, come up with a logo that represents who you are as a “company.”
Whichever route you take, the most important factors in your website design remain the same:
A Portfolio Page
This is a collection of your BEST work…pieces that are representative of your skills and accomplishments.
It is essential for a prospective client to have clear and easy access to your portfolio to be sure they like your style and level of writing. Make sure all of the work displayed here is free of typos and grammatical or spelling errors.
Testimonials are written comments and reviews of your work from satisfied clients.
A good testimonial says to a client that you are getting the job done, and doing it well.
At first, you may need to request a testimonial from a client. Don’t be afraid to ask! If they were satisfied with your work and you met your deadline, they will be happy to write you a great review! This could result in other clients reading it and hiring you as well.
How should you get testimonials if you don’t have any private clients yet?
Fear not! I suggest contacting anybody you know with an online business and asking them to help you. Let them read a few of your writing samples, and ask them to write you a review. Nine times out of 10 they will be happy to help you. If you don’t know anyone with an online business, don’t worry. It will happen eventually, and you can still find other ways to represent yourself without testimonials at first. I didn’t have any for the first year and it all worked out.
Now, considering you have some testimonials, there are a couple of different ways to visibly display them on your site. One way is to have a clear link to a page with a list of satisfied reviews.
This is a great strategy. When a client sees one dazzling review after another, it makes it hard to find a reason NOT to hire you!
Another way that I find beneficial is to have testimonials of satisfied clients sprinkled throughout the site, or even one or two on your home page.
Here’s an example of a testimonial on my home page.
A client has just arrived on the site and scrolls down the homepage, when bam! He sees a rave review out of the corner of his eye. He had no choice but to see that snippet.
I also have testimonials sprinkled throughout the site. I like to include one on the contact page.
Whatever method you choose, adding a picture of the client as well as their name and company is also a great way to add value to the testimonial. This allows website visitors to see a real person with a real opinion of you. It’s more convincing if you can put a face to a great review.
Keep it simple. Include a link to a contact form, or place the actual contact form where you know a client will easily be able to see it. Place a link on every single page of the site that will take the client to a contact form. That way, if a client is reading something from your portfolio, or one of your great testimonials and decides you’re the one for the job, a link to contact you is within view. At the bottom of each page of my website I have a “get started” link which takes you to the contact page.
Remember that a client’s time is valuable, and they are looking for somebody who will make their lives easier. You don’t want them to have to search for the contact form or make it complicated to fill out. Keep. It. Simple.
An About Page
This page should be a couple of paragraphs about who YOU are and what you can do for the client. A friendly picture can make the client feel more connected to you as a person.
To compose this page, I suggest using the old formula of Who? What? When? Why? How?
Answer all of these questions first. Then, go back and fill in the personal touches, if needed. Be clear, concise and to the point, but also come across personable and display a feeling that you are there to satisfy your clients because you want to be. A good objective is to try to leave the client feeling good after reading it.
Links to all social media accounts
Considering you are taking advantage of all of the avenues to branding yourself as a writer, you may have a Facebook profile, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile. Your website should be a “one stop shop” for the client and should have CLEAR links to all of your social media accounts on every page.
Here is what I have done to display my social media links on www.linderscontent.com:
As you can see I’ve placed the links in the top right corner. I’ve done this on EVERY PAGE of the site. This way, I know it will be visible at all times.
How do I build my writer website?
If you would like assistance building your site from scratch or you would like to revamp one you already have, there are many sites that offer this service for a small monthly fee. Some of them are easier to use than others, but all of them have a nice choice of templates to choose from to meet your every need.
Four website builders I highly recommend are:
I hope I have expressed the importance of creating an effective writer website. Whether you choose to position yourself as a personal writer or company, as long as you incorporate all five factors I’ve mentioned today, your website will attract those high-paying clients and you will be well on your way to earning more as a freelance writer!
Check out my other posts on writers’ websites.