How true! Everyone is so web savvy nowadays that we know we can get the dish on anybody by Googling their name.
Even if your prospects don’t have online businesses, they know that they can easily find out more about you on the Internet.
And, what are they likely to find? Embarrassing photos in Facebook? Less than flattering remarks you make on Twitter? Or, posts in which you complain about clients on your blog?
Why Your Blog Is So Important
One way to make sure your freelance site or blog projects you at your best is to have the following essential pages. These pages will help your prospects to:
- Find out what you do best and how you can help them
- Discover how good you are
- Determine if they can afford you or not
- Get to know, like and trust you
- Connect with you to explore working together
A good freelance site has one sole purpose: to compel the visitor to get to know you better, either by contacting you directly or by giving you their contact information so you can keep sending them more content.
The ten essential pages for your freelance site are:
1. Home Page
This is most likely the first page visitors see when they arrive on your site. It can be either a static page or a blog index page. Either way, it’s important that visitors know within the first few seconds whether they’re in the right place or not.
To do this, your home page should convey what you do and for whom. It should be immediately obvious that you’re a freelancer for hire. Skip the witty taglines and go for clarity instead.
2. About Page
Visitors who want to learn more about you as a person will look for an About Page. Stick to the basics, such as who you are and where you’re located (if you target local clients, especially).
Let them know what makes you tick and what sets you apart from your competitors. This is not the page to list your qualifications (more on that later). However, this is where you do get to brag about what you’re good at and how you got so good.
If you have personal quirks and interests that have nothing to do with your services–but make you a more interesting human being–you can mention them here. Remember, humans hire fellow humans, not robots.
To illustrate, here’s a story about how I got my first job. I was applying to be a researcher in a children’s television production outfit. I had a degree in communication and some on-the-job training in TV production. However, the boss hired me because she saw in my resume that I enjoyed singing and had performed in a few amateur musicals.
Singing had nothing to do with the job description, but that’s what got me hired over the other applicants. (Years later, I did ghost sing for one of the show’s performers.)
You never know what will get you hired, so mention your passions even if they seem irrelevant.
3. Your Services
Dedicate one page to describing the specific services you do for your clients. If these are complicated, you may even have one page per service, but do make sure you have one service page that lists all of them.
To publish your rates or not? There’s no hard and fast rule. Personally, I don’t like to keep prospects guessing. If they can’t afford me, I want them to move on instead of asking for a proposal and then telling me they couldn’t afford me after all!
At the same time, I charge different rates for different projects, so I publish a minimum rate for each service. See what works for you and what you’re most comfortable with.
The important thing to remember with this page is to be clear about how your services benefit your clients. Remember, you don’t just write articles, design websites or write code. You save your clients time, rescue them from hours of frustration, and help them make more money!
Pick a few of the best feedback you’ve received from previous clients and publish them on a testimonials page.
With testimonials, the more details you can provide, the better. Get your clients’ permission to publish their full name, location (just the city will do), photo and website URL, at the very least.
Your prospects will want to know that they’re not taking a very big risk by hiring you, because you have a string of happy customers.
Here’s where you can be detailed about your professional background and qualifications: where you got your degrees and when; where you’ve worked and what you did; what awards you’ve received and the usual stuff we put on paper resumes.
However, this is the web, so you can spice this up in terms of lay-out and tone. It doesn’t have to be very formal (depending on your target market) and it certainly should not look like a paper resume.
Give your visitors a taste of what you’re capable of. Have a page that showcases your best work, ideally, at least one work sample for every service you provide.
Always ask clients for permission first, before displaying the work you did for them on your site, or linking to them from your site. Most clients are happy to be included in your portfolio, but a few will want confidentiality.
In that case, ask if you can send the work to prospects through email rather than from your site. The extra privacy may be enough for your clients to agree.
Some freelancers say it’s best to have your contact information on every page of your site. At the very least, have one page where they can send you email, or find out how to call you.
You’ll want this page to be linked to every page on your site so that, no matter where your visitors are, as soon as they’re convinced they need you, they’re only one click away from getting in touch with you.
A frequently-asked-questions page can help reduce the number of emails you have to respond to. Make a list of the commonly asked questions you get from prospects. It could relate to your rates, how you accept payment, or your work process.
If you’ve responded to these before, you can copy and paste your answers from those emails and quickly put together a FAQ page.
Other policies you may consider having relate to the copyright of the content on your site. If you promote products and services you’re affiliated with, you’ll need a disclosure on your site.
I’m not a lawyer, so I purchased customizable policies to use on my own sites. You may want to ask around to find the ones that suit yours.
10. Squeeze Page or Sign-up Form
A squeeze page is where you request your visitor for their contact information, usually a name and email address. Alternatively, you could have a sign-up form in one corner of every page on your site.
Realize that not every visitor will contact you. Having a sign-up form or squeeze page gives you the opportunity to capture their contact information so you can communicate with them again through email.
It’s a good idea to offer something free–usually a special report or even a software, plug-in or graphics–in exchange for their contact information.
Once they’ve given you their contact information, you can communicate with them regularly to keep you on top of their mind and make special offers when you need new clients.
And those are what I consider the ten most essential pages in your freelance site.
The key roles of these pages are to offer your services, position you as an expert in your field, and establish a relationship with your prospects.
Did I miss anything else you think should be on every freelancers’ site? Or, are ten essential pages too many?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Image by jonny2love