Having a writer website is one of the best things you can do for your freelance writing business; a writer website helps whether you plan to cold pitch clients or whether you want clients to reach out to you directly.
Whenever I send a cold pitch, majority of the businesses I pitch generally ask me two questions first before anything else. The two questions are:
- Can you send me a link to your writer website/portfolio?
- Can you send me a link to samples of your work?
In fact, the two questions can easily be summarized into one: “What is your writer website?” This is because a good writer website will include several samples of your work.
If you don’t have a writer website, you should have one. Here are some of the numerous benefits of having a writer website:
- It makes you look professional; clients will respect you and pay more attention to you when you reference your writer website in your pitch to them, especially if they see that you’re reaching out to them via a professional email address associated with your writer website.
- A writer website makes it easy to organize your services; this ensures that potential clients are not confused, and it increases your chances of being hired.
- It does a better job of convincing clients to hire you; let’s face it, there’s very little you can tell potential clients in your first email, or a cold pitch, to them. If your email is too long, they won’t read it. However, your writer website can feature case studies and, with some good copywriting, convince potential clients much better than your email ever will.
- It can be used to catalogue samples of your work; you can kill two birds with one stone by featuring samples of your work on your writer website. So the two questions I referenced in the beginning of this article? Your freelance writer website is the answer to them. Better yet, you can create a blog for your writer website so clients can see how your skills have improved over time.
- It can serve as a good, long-term source of clients even when you don’t market it; six-figure freelance writer Carol Tice reported that she got hired by two fortune 500 companies in one year due to her writer website ranking well in the search engines.
There are many more benefits to having a freelance writer website, but I’ll take it that you’re convinced already. Without further ado, here are the steps you should take to create your own writer website.
Step 1: Get a Professional Domain Name and Hosting
As a freelance writer, you’re running a business so you should be professional. There are many advocates of hosting your website on the free .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com, and I’ve had people condemn me after publicly recommending against using these free platforms, but I’ll always say it as it is; using a free blog platform to host your business website, no matter your reason for doing so, is simply unprofessional.
A .com domain name usually costs $12 at most and you’ll get good hosting for less than $100 a year (often cheaper) but that’s DAMN cheap for a business investment that could lead to four, five, six figures or more down the line.
You want to make sure that your writer website is your own .com domain name; e.g. mywriterwebsite.com instead of mywriterwebsite.blogspot.com or mywriterwebsite.wordpress.com.
Once this has been sorted out, potential clients will start taking you more seriously; now, you’re finally doing business!
Step 2: Have a Clean Design
Once you’ve registered your writer website, the next step is to ensure that your website is clean and inviting to potential clients; if your website is clunky or convoluted, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice.
While WordPress has a lot of good-looking website templates, you should go with something simple; ideally, you want a simple website that clearly communicates your goals to potential clients, not a “beautiful” website riddled with a lot of useless addons/features.
Here are some resources for finding good WordPress themes for your writer website:
Step 3: Have A Clear About Section
The more real you can appear to your clients, and the more they can feel a connection to you, the higher their likelihood of hiring you.
When clients take a look at your writer website, the first thing they want to know is who you are; are you reliable? Are you qualified? Do they connect with you?
Having a clear about section is important, as it helps you communicate to potential clients that you can help them; do you have 20 years of experience working in sales, thereby making you a persuasive writer? Include it on your about page. Do you have a degree in psychology and understand how the human mind works? Be sure to mention that.
Mention how you came to be a writer and how your unique skills can help those you work with. Include a clear picture on your about page so that clients can be confident that they know who they are dealing with.
Step 4: Properly Highlight Your Services Throughout Your Website
The worst freelance writer website is the one you visit and have no idea that it is owned by a freelance writer; you can be cool, you might have won a lot of awards and have good prestige, but it doesn’t matter if clients do not know that they can hire you.
With a good freelance writer website, it should be clear upon potential clients’ first visit, irrespective of what page they land on, that you are a freelance writer available for hire; feature your services prominently on your homepage and have big, clear call to actions asking clients to hire you.
Step 5: Use a Results-Driven, Benefits-Oriented Headline to Communicate Value
In sales, there’s a common principle that you should sell benefits and not features; telling people that you have 12 years of experience in sales is a feature. Telling them that your 12 years of experience in sales has helped you understand what makes people tick and that you’ll inject that into your work for them to drive results is a benefit.
Going for a headline as simple as “Hire Me” or “Services” isn’t a good idea; I once reported on this blog that experimenting with a change in the headline of my services page led to a significant boost in conversions.
Identify all the benefits clients can get by working with you and highlight the top ones in your headline.
Step 6: Use Effective Social Proof to Increase Your Worth
Today, I can easily charge clients as much as $300 – $1,000 or more for an article, something that wasn’t as easy in the early days, and I can credit this to the fact that I have quality social proof. When I tell clients that I’ve been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, etc, it becomes very easy to justify why I charge “high rates” for my work. Now, it is no longer a question of “isn’t this too much?” but a question of “wow, really, so I can get this celebrity to write for me?”
There are several forms of social proof that you can use on your website to get clients to trust you and pay you well. Some of them are:
- Mentions and coverage in major media
- Contributions to major publications and blogs
- Awards you’ve received
- Endorsements from celebrities and industry leaders
- Testimonials from past clients and people who know you
These are all forms of social proof you can use, sprinkling them all over your website; ideally, you want to use these social proofs on your homepage, about page, contact page, blog posts and everywhere else possible on your writer website.
Step 7. Clearly Outline and Organize Your Services
The greatest mistake you can make as a freelance writer is confusing an already sold client, yet many freelance writers make this mistake.
It’s easy to have services that appear to be the same but are extremely different; for example, telling clients you do “guest posts” and “blog posts” can be confusing. Most will take “guest posts” to be that you’re writing for their blog as a guest and “blog posts” to mean the same, whereas “guest posts” could mean that you’re helping them secure guest posts on relevant blogs in their industry. To you, it could mean something else but that’s not the point; the point is that almost every service you list is open to ambiguity so be sure to properly outline and explain your services so that clients know what you can do and how it can benefit them.
Step 8: Include Samples of Your Work
The aim of your writer website is to convince potential clients to hire you to write for them but many clients have fallen victim to writers who over-promise and under-deliver. By showcasing samples of your work on your writer website, you can help clients see that you’re putting your money where your mouth is.
Link to samples of work you’ve done for other clients, or samples of work you’ve done for yourself. Let potential clients have an idea of the kind of service they will be getting.
If you have a blog, it can also serve as a sample of your work.
Step 9: Make it Easy to Reach Out to You
Assuming you’ve done everything in step 1 – step 8, what can finally kill your efforts is making it difficult to reach out to you. If a client has to search your website before knowing how to contact you, or even if there’s the slightest confusion, that’s a path to failure.
Make sure that you have a clear contact page that at least includes a contact form and, if possible, your direct email address, your phone number and other things necessary for clients to reach out to you.
Also, ensure that you have a contact form on your services page as well as links to your contact page on other relevant pages of your website.
Step 10: Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
The above outlined steps cater towards convincing clients to hire you; it won’t matter a bit if clients can’t find your website. All through steps 1 to 9, I assumed that you have a way getting clients to discover your writer website. However, sometimes you just don’t want to cold pitch. In that case, is it still possible to get clients? YES. It is. You can make this possible by ensuring that your website ranks well in the search engines for relevant terms. As I said earlier in this article, that’s how Carol Tice got 2 Fortune 500 clients in 1 year, including a client paying her $2 per word.
Now, I’m no SEO expert but I can point you to good resources. Neil Patel’s guide to SEO is one of the best on the subject, so be sure to give it a read.
Structure of a Good Writer Website
This article outlined 10 steps to creating a good freelance writer website; so what does a good writer website consist of? Here’s an ideal structure:
- Your homepage; contains an headline inviting potential clients, services you offer and little information about you.
- Your about page; contains information about you, with the purpose of establishing your expertise and getting your clients to connect with you as a real human being.
- Your services page; outlines and explains all the services you can offer to clients.
- “What others are saying”; this is basically your social proof page and should include all forms of social proof including case studies, media mentions, blogs you contribute to, testimonials, etc.
- Your contact page; ideally, this should include a contact form, your email address and/or Skype and phone number. The more contact information you can reveal, the better.
Do You Want to Supercharge Your Writer Website?
If you’ve read this article to this stage, congratulations! Hopefully you now have a solid writer website; the next step is to supercharge your writer website. You can do this by getting The Freelance Writer’s Success Starter Guide, which is my guide for freelance writers who want to build successful freelance writing businesses. It also comes with a case study of how I got a brand new client and convinced him to give me a $625 assignment in just 2 hours. Click here to get it!