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The thought of trying to improve your freelance writing site might seem daunting...especially if you've had your website for a while. Going back through all those posts?
Updating images and content?
But, it's a necessary step -- especially if you want your freelance writing site to work and attract new clients. Having an impressive freelance writing website is not just a luxury, but a necessity—especially in today's digital age. As a freelance writer, your website serves as your online portfolio, showcasing your skills and expertise to potential clients.
It is the virtual doorway through which you invite visitors to explore your work and ultimately hire you for their writing needs. Therefore, you have to pay attention to the design and functionality of your website to make a lasting impression.
When I first started freelance writing, my site was nonexistent. I relied on sites like UPWork (oDesk at the time) and Elance to help me find clients. When I did finally get around to building a site, I built it on Blogger. And it was a mess.
When I first started freelance writing, I had no direction - no idea what kind of writer I wanted to be. If you're also wondering how you can make money as a freelance writer, you can learn more in my free guide.
Besides not really knowing what kind of freelance writer I wanted to be, my site it was a mess was because I had no content strategy -- no purpose for the site. I knew I needed one, but I didn't know exactly how it would help me and I didn't know the best way to go about setting it up so that it would help me.
As a result, what I ended up with was a hot mess of what can only be described as whiny, venting, journal entries and a few character descriptions.
Nothing that told clients why they should hire me to ghostwrite their blogs or their books.
So you can imagine just how well that website worked for me.
Then I Started Putting Things Together, and I upgraded
It took me a while and still several other mistakes before I got my act together to build a site that would actually work for me. But once I got the hang of it (and started getting rid of almost everything else), a lot of things started falling into place.
The Importance of a Well-Thought-Out Freelance Writing Website
Your freelance writing website is more than just an online business card—it represents your brand and professional identity in the digital world. A well-designed website not only conveys credibility but also reflects your attention to detail and commitment toward excellence, both of which are important to your clients. When clients visit your site, they seek assurance that you are capable of producing high-quality content and also adept at presenting it effectively.
Imagine landing on a writer's website that looks outdated or cluttered with so many distracting elements that you couldn't really read the content...Would you trust them with creating engaging content for your business?
Or think back to a time when you clicked on an ad or a link because you wanted to check something out only to end up lost on the site and unable to find what you were looking for.
Imagine losing a client simply because they can't figure out how to hire you??
A visually appealing and user-friendly website instills confidence in potential clients, which makes them more likely to engage with you and explore opportunities further.
Benefits of Improving Your Website
Improving your freelance writing website offers numerous benefits that directly impact both the quality and quantity of work you receive. Firstly, enhancing the design and layout ensures better user experience for visitors, allowing them to easily navigate through pages while finding relevant information effortlessly. This seamless browsing experience increases their likelihood of staying on the site longer, exploring samples of your work, reading testimonials from satisfied clients, or even reaching out for inquiries.
A well-optimized website also improves visibility on search engines by optimizing loading speed, utilizing appropriate keywords throughout the content, and implementing effective SEO strategies. As a result, when potential clients search for writers within their niche, your website stands a higher chance of appearing among the top search results, increasing exposure and attracting more targeted traffic.
Furthermore, an enhanced website serves as a powerful marketing tool that allows you to showcase your portfolio, share testimonials from happy clients, and highlight your unique selling points. This professional presentation helps you differentiate yourself from competitors and positions you as an expert in your field.
Clients are more likely to choose writers with compelling websites that demonstrate their expertise and professionalism. In the next sections of this article, we will delve into specific aspects of improving your freelance writing website.
From optimizing design and layout to crafting engaging content and showcasing your portfolio effectively, each step plays a crucial role in elevating your online presence as a writer. So let's dive in and explore the strategies that can transform your website into a magnet for clients seeking outstanding writing services
Enhancing Website Design and Layout
Choose a Clean and Professional Theme
When it comes to enhancing your freelance writing website, one of the first things you should consider is selecting a clean and professional theme. Your website's design plays a crucial role in creating a positive first impression on potential clients.
Opting for a theme that exudes professionalism will help establish your credibility as a writer. <b>Exploring popular WordPress themes for writers:</b> There are numerous WordPress themes specifically designed for writers that offer sleek aesthetics and functional layouts.
Some popular choices include Hemingway, Writee, and Author Pro. These themes often come with customizable options, allowing you to personalize your website to align with your brand identity.
Consider Mobile Responsiveness and User-Friendly Navigation
In today's digital era, mobile responsiveness is paramount. With more people accessing websites through their smartphones or tablets, having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional—it's essential. Ensure that the theme you choose is responsive across various devices to deliver an optimal user experience regardless of the screen size.
When it comes to navigation, simplicity is key. Users should be able to effortlessly find information on your website without getting lost in convoluted menus or confusing layouts.
Prioritize user-friendly navigation by employing clear labels and logical categorization of content. An intuitive navigation system will enhance user experience, encouraging visitors to stay longer on your site.
Optimize Website Loading Speed
The speed at which your website loads can significantly impact the overall user experience and even affect search engine rankings. Slow-loading websites tend to frustrate visitors, leading them to bounce off before they even get a chance to explore your valuable content. Understanding the impact of slow-loading websites on user experience is crucial in optimizing your freelance writing site effectively.
A delay of even a few seconds can lead potential clients to seek alternatives. To enhance loading speed, consider implementing caching techniques that store static versions of your website pages, reducing the strain on your server and accelerating load times.
Additionally, optimizing images is an often overlooked aspect of website speed optimization. Compressing images without compromising their quality can significantly reduce file sizes, resulting in faster page loading times.
Utilize image compression tools or plugins to ensure your website runs smoothly while still showcasing visually appealing content. By focusing on enhancing your website design and layout, including selecting a clean and professional theme, ensuring mobile responsiveness, and optimizing loading speed, you will create a polished online presence that captivates potential clients and encourages them to engage with your freelance writing services.
Crafting Engaging Content
Write compelling homepage copy
Your homepage is the welcome mat to your freelance writing website, and it needs to make a lasting impression. To captivate visitors, start with an impactful headline that immediately grabs their attention. A great headline should be concise, intriguing, and reflect your unique writing style or expertise.
Consider using powerful words that evoke emotion or curiosity. For example, instead of a generic headline like "Welcome to My Website," try something more enticing like "Unleashing Words: Crafting Compelling Stories That Leave an Impact."
Once you have captured their attention with a compelling headline, it's crucial to showcase your expertise and unique selling points in the body of your homepage copy. Remember that potential clients are looking for specific qualities in a writer that align with their needs.
Highlight your strengths and showcase examples of projects or industries you've excelled in. Whether you specialize in SEO content, persuasive copywriting, or creative storytelling, clearly communicate what sets you apart from the competition.
Create an informative "About Me" page that Converts
Your "About Me" page is where prospective clients can get to know the person behind the words. It's an opportunity to build trust and establish credibility.
Start by sharing your background and experience as a writer – talk about how you got started, any relevant education or certifications you have obtained along the way. But don't just list facts; let your personality shine through!
Share anecdotes or personal stories that highlight your passion for writing and why it matters to you. This will help potential clients connect with you on a deeper level.
In addition to sharing your own story, consider including testimonials or client success stories on your "About Me" page. This social proof shows potential clients that others have had positive experiences working with you.
Include snippets from satisfied clients who praise your work ethic, professionalism, and the quality of your writing. Testimonials add credibility to your claims and can serve as powerful persuasion tools.
Remember, both your homepage copy and "About Me" page should be well-written, error-free, and engaging. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is visiting your website for the first time.
What information would you want to see? Tailor your content to address their needs and concerns, while also showcasing your unique voice and expertise.
Showcasing Portfolio and Samples
Curate a diverse portfolio of work samples
When it comes to impressing potential clients, having a well-curated portfolio is essential. To make your freelance writing website stand out, include a variety of work samples that highlight your versatility and expertise.
This means including different writing styles, genres, or industries you've worked in. By showcasing a range of projects, from blog posts to whitepapers or even social media content, you demonstrate your ability to adapt and deliver high-quality content across various mediums.
Consider organizing your work samples into categories or sections on your website to make it easier for visitors to navigate through them. For instance, you could have separate sections for articles, blog posts, case studies, and copywriting samples.
By categorizing your work this way, potential clients can quickly find examples that align with their specific needs or interests. Remember to select samples that not only showcase the breadth of your skills but also display the depth of your expertise within each category.
Use visual elements to enhance portfolio presentation
In today's visually-driven digital landscape, incorporating visual elements into your portfolio can greatly enhance its appeal. Consider adding images relevant to each project alongside the text description. These images could be screenshots of published articles or infographics created for clients.
Visuals not only provide an eye-catching element but also give potential clients a glimpse into the final product they can expect when working with you. If applicable to the type of writing you do (such as web design or content marketing), consider including interactive multimedia elements in your portfolio as well.
For example, if you've created videos related to content marketing strategies or hosted webinars on writing techniques, embed those videos directly within the page where visitors can easily access them. To ensure easy browsing and navigation through your portfolio section, organize the samples by category or type as mentioned earlier.
Use clear headings and subheadings to separate each category, making it simple for visitors to find the specific type of work they are interested in exploring. Additionally, consider implementing a search or filtering functionality that allows users to narrow down their search based on keywords or industry-specific tags.
Remember, your portfolio is a reflection of your skills as a freelance writer. By curating a diverse collection of samples and incorporating visual elements, you can create an engaging and impressive showcase that captivates potential clients and sets you apart from the competition.
Implement Effective Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
When it comes to converting website visitors into potential clients, incorporating well-placed call-to-actions (CTAs) can make all the difference. Placing prominent CTAs throughout your freelance writing website ensures that visitors are guided towards taking the desired action. Whether you want them to contact you for inquiries or projects, or if you're looking to grow your email list, here are some effective strategies.
- 1. Encouraging visitors to contact you for inquiries or projects: Your website should have clear and enticing CTAs that prompt visitors to reach out for inquiries or project collaborations. Consider using phrases such as "Contact Me Today" or "Get in Touch" strategically placed on your homepage, about me page, and even in your portfolio section. Highlight the benefits of working with you and emphasize that contacting you is the first step towards their writing needs being met.
- 2. Offering freebies like e-books or resources in exchange for email subscriptions: If growing your email list is a goal, offering valuable content as a freebie can entice visitors to subscribe. Create an irresistible lead magnet such as an e-book on a relevant writing topic, a checklist for effective content creation, or access to exclusive resources. Place eye-catching opt-in forms in strategic locations on your website, inviting readers to join your mailing list in exchange for receiving these valuable resources directly in their inbox.
Optimize Your Site to Convert
To maximize the effectiveness of your CTAs and encourage higher conversion rates, it's essential to optimize them through careful testing and analysis:
- A/B Test: Experiment with different wording, colors, button placements, and designs for your CTAs using A/B testing tools like Google Optimize.
- Track and Analyze: Utilize website analytics to assess the performance of your CTAs. Monitor metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates to identify areas for improvement.
- Refine and Iterate: Based on the insights gained from testing and analysis, continuously refine your CTAs to make them more compelling and persuasive.
By constantly fine-tuning your call-to-actions, you can build a website that not only attracts visitors but also engages them in a way that leads to conversions.
Steps I Took to Improve my Freelance Writing Site
What did I do? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's a list of several things I did to help improve this site (along with several things I am still in the process of doing).
Most of these tasks are really easy, simple tasks that should only take you a couple of minutes to get through. Some of them will be a little more involved and make take up a bit more time. But ultimately, as you start crossing these tasks off your list, you'll notice a huge improvement in your site and in your pocketbook!
- Check your photo! Nothing beats a photo of your smiling face. Sure, logos are nice, but somewhere on your site should be a photo of you so people can connect your words to your face.
- Add a blog. Blogs are the ideal way to help keep your website fresh and updated -- which is good for your clients, prospective clients, and Google.
- Check that your website is responsive -- meaning that your website will resize and look good on any type of device. I am one of the relics still checking the Internet via my desktop computer more often than not -- but a growing number of people are checking and reading things on tablets and smartphones. If your site loads weirdly or hide pieces, they won't stick around for long.
- Niche down. Finding a niche takes a while, I know. But once you've got it, it's time to display it proudly on your site so people know immediately where your expertise is and how you can help them.
- Go through your copy and add white space. White space helps break up those large chunks of text and make them easier to read. Make sure you are leveraging it to give your readers' eyes a break!
- Make sure your educating, not just selling. Even if they're looking to buy, people aren't looking to be sold to. Don't be pushy in your sales language. Instead, try to share information that your potential clients would find valuable.
- Check your menus! Not only do you want to fix and broken links that may come up as you run your updates, but you also want to make sure people can navigate your site. Can they find things pretty easy? People don't want to have to work just to read your site.
- Revamp and edit your meta descriptions. Make sure they are up-to-date, relevant, include your keywords, and are compelling people to check out your site! As search engines continue to grow more sophisticated, so should your meta descriptions.
- Make sure your calls to action stand out. It's not enough to have a link at the bottom of a post -- that link needs to stand out. Make sure you are using buttons and colors to help draw attention to your call to action.
- Never. Stop. Testing. Everything in marketing is testing -- aways. A headline that drew in a lot of traffic in 2010 may not pull in as much in 2023. Test everything and make adjustments and improvements as you go to stay relevant.
- Don't try to use complicated words. When in doubt, always choose clarity over cleverness. Using complicated, pretentious words doesn't make you appear smarter or hireable -- it makes it hard for potential clients to follow or like you.
- Do your keyword research for every page you hope to rank -- and make sure you use them strategically throughout your post. Which leads me to...
- Don't go stuffing your copy full of keywords. Really, really don't. You want to make sure you are using your keywords naturally, the way you would be talking to a friend. Keyword stuffing never results in good writing. Anyone who understands SEO will know what you're doing and will walk away, and anyone who doesn't know SEO will think you're a bad writer (not exactly what you're hoping they think of you).
- Make sure your website is useful. Including your blog. This goes hand in hand with what I said earlier -- educate. Show your clients you can help them by actually helping them. Even product-focused websites should be designed as educational to be effective.
- If you're able to showcase previous client project in your portfolio, do it. This may not be the case for everyone, particularly ghostwriters who aren't allowed to claim credit for their work. But showcasing client work is a great way to show off your expertise (and if you can also add in the results from that writing -- such as conversion rates -- then even better!!)
- Get a domain! This is especially important if you're using a free service to build your website or blog -- buy a branded domain name (they don't cost a lot, less than $15 most of the time!) and point it to your site. This will make it easier for people to find and remember you.
- Pay special attention to the area of your site that is "above the fold." Anything a client can see before having to scroll is what we call "above the fold" and this is some of the most important real estate on your site. Put your strongest call to action there.
- Make it easy for people to share your content. Even if it's really good content, people aren't going to share it if they have to work too hard to do so. Use a social sharing plugin like Social Warfare to make it super easy to share or tweet your posts.
- Don't just write-it-and-forget-it. Go back in and edit, revamp, update, and improve your past posts (I can almost guarantee you this one has been revamped at least 10 times). This keeps them relevant and performing well as the years go by. Thankfully, the emergence of AI tools like WordGalaxy make improving your older posts so much easier.
- Be. Authentic. Don't write the way you think potential clients want to see you write -- be yourself! The best way to attract your ideal client is to act like their ideal writer. And believe me, they don't want to hire someone who's fake.
- I use Wordpress for my site; you should use your favorite platform. Yes, I know there is a learning curve when it comes to building a site on Wordpress versus some of the other services out there. And yes I know there are other solutions out there like Squarespace and Wix. And those do a pretty good job, but Wordpress is still my favorite. The ability to customize a site using Wordpress is (in my opinion) much better and easier than on other platforms.
- Speaking of Wordpress -- learn about some of the most helpful plugins to keep your site smooth and SEO friendly. Plugins like Rank Math SEO, Tasty Pins, and Easy Digital Downloads will help your site stay powerful, fast, and easy to scale and grow.
- Check your on-site search data. When people search your site for something, it's because they think you have that specific answer. Either they think they saw it on your site before, or something they just read on your site reminded them to look for it. If you don't have it on your site, write it. If you do have it on your site, make sure it's easy for them to find (because if they had to search for it, then it wasn't all that easy for them to find).
- Make it easy for people to contact you. Once again, potential clients don't want to have to work just to hire you or ask you a question -- so make it easy on them. Place your contact information on your site, and make it easy to find and easy to use.
- But don't use a "mailto:" link. This is my one exception to making things easy -- stay away from creating those mailto: links. Instead, opt for a simple contact form or just list the email address. It's annoying to click on the mailto: links and instead of heading over to GMail it starts opening up other apps that I don't really use and haven't set up.
- Pay attention when clients are asking you questions. If a client is asking you a question, then chances are someone else is asking Google that same question. Can you turn it into a blog post? Add it to your FAQ? If it's something that can go onto your site, add it.
- Don't leave out the personality. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to be "professional" that we forget to be personable -- which is far more important. Tell your anecdotes, share your funny photos, craft your puns. Professional doesn't need to be robotic.
- Use a popup to grab your readers' attention. You can use a service like hellobar to create a nice popup for your optins, specials, or lead magnets without slapping your visitors over the head with it (and it's free). Of course, use care when you place these popups: don't bury your content under them and don't have them popping up so early in the process that they get dismissed without being read. They should enhance your visitor's experience on your site, not piss them off.
- Make sure your images look good. You can get some really amazing, high quality photos from sites like Unsplash and Pixabay for free with a commercial license. You can also look into purchasing some stock images from sites like Creative Market. In fact, if you look around a bit, you'll probably be able to find the images I bought off of Creative Market to use on this site. Always pay attention to the license of any image that you use for your site and be sure to respect the owner's copyright of any photograph.
- Speaking of photos and graphics, don't forget to keep them consistent. You don't want to keep using the exact same photos over and over again -- that will get boring. But you do want to keep the overall look and feel of your graphic elements consistent throughout your site.
- Sign up for a push notification service to bring people back to your site. Want to send out a notice whenever you publish a new blog post or special? Subscribers is free and super easy to install and use.
- Always think about what you want your readers to do next. When you start adding in too many calls to action, you risk losing them.
- Use good design and formatting, such as bold lettering and headlines, to draw your reader's attention to those areas. Whether it be a statistic, the "fine print," or your call to action, creative use of typography and colors can help make sure your readers see it.
- Remember to write for the speed reader. Despite the label, "readers" don't do a whole lot of reading -- they actually scan and skim more than read. So try to make sure you're writing in a way that makes it easy to read on the fly (ie., bold phrases, headings, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists).
- Worry about getting it written first. Whether you're trying to write out a blog post, an about me page, or your contact form, don't agonize over it trying to get it perfect. Get it written. You can always go back and fix something later.
- What do you want to be known for?
- Don't just write the same old things. Google and other search engines already have plenty of content to make their users happy. They don't need more content, especially if it's fluff. So if you're going to write something that's been done before, make sure you do it better and add new value.
- Check out the experts and see what they're doing! Go to other writing sites and see what works, what you like, what you hate, etc. Find inspiration and see what aspects of their site might help you improve yours (without copying or plagiarizing, of course).
- Learn what your readers are doing on your site. What are they reading, where are they clicking, how are they using your site? You can sign up for a free account with Microsoft Clarity and track movements on your site and find out everything your site visitors are doing on your site.
- Keep your forms easy to use. Back to the same concept that clients don't want to have to work to hire or talk to you -- make sure your forms are easy to fill out. You don't need to ask them everything on your site. Just get the basics and then followup to get the rest.
- Check your headlines. I love the headline analyzer over at Sharethrough that you can use for free.
- Remember why potential clients are at your site. They don't want to read about how fast you can type or how well you can string words together in a sentence. They want to know how hiring you will change their life -- or their business -- for the better. Be sure to tell them.
- If you don't want to add a blog, be sure to add a portfolio. Take some time to write up various samples that you can add to your portfolio and display them on your site to help give potential clients an idea of your talent.
- Network, network, network. The easiest way to start being seen as an expert is to be seen with experts. So get them onto your site: interviews, guest posts, excerpts, quotes and links back to their site.
- Speaking of networking, don't be a creep. Bring experts on writers onto your site because they will provide value to your readers. Be their friends, and be genuine. Don't use them or poach their readers. Networking is all about relationships within your industry -- not finding ways to use or stomp on people.
- Write a mission statement. And make it a good one. This is the best place to stand out from other freelance writers who all offer the same services and expertise.
- Don't forget to proofread!! Even your past posts that you've already edited. Those typos have a way of sneaking through even sniper-like editing reflexes. So make sure you catch them!!
- Go back and read some of your old content. You may find that you can add more details, or that your viewpoint has changed, or it may even spark some new content that you can add.
- Check out new website plugins and features. Web developers are always looking to improve your experience with your website -- so check out some of the things they've done! Better SEO plugins? Ways to add in a table of contents? Better image handling? Contact forms? Security? Making these regular checks will help keep your site running strong and safe for your visitors.
- Last but not least, pay attention to the people who are paying attention to you. If someone takes the time to leave you a comment, respond to them! Your website and blog will be much more successful if you use them to connect and engage with your audience (rather than just trying to sell your services to them).
The Best Way to Improve your Freelance Writing Site?
Make sure you have a built-in linking system so readers can find more of your content. There's a rule in website design that say you want to make sure your readers can find anything on your site within just three clicks. Yep, it's part of that whole "don't make your readers work for it" mentality that I keep bringing up.
Make sure your related blog posts point to each other. Make sure your related services all point to one another. Make sure you can get to your about page from your newsfeed and your newsletter page from your portfolio. Just make sure it all makes sense -- you don't want to start adding in so many links onto all your pages that your readers get lost!!
The idea is that the first link that brings potential clients to your site will trip them into falling into a rabbit hole—one that will keep them clicking and learning more about you and your services until finally they click to hire you.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Your Freelance Writing Site
Incorporating effective call-to-actions (CTAs) throughout your freelance writing website is crucial for enticing visitors to take action. By placing prominent CTAs that encourage contact for inquiries or projects, as well as offering valuable freebies in exchange for email subscriptions, you can increase engagement and conversion rates.
Remember to optimize your CTAs through A/B testing, tracking performance metrics, and refining based on insights gained. With strategic CTAs in place, you'll be well on your way to turning visitors into satisfied clients who recognize the value of your writing expertise.
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