As a freelance professional, the most important tool in your marketing arsenal is your website. This is the first step to project your intentions to potential customers. If you configure it correctly, you can generate a lot of interest, converting prospective customers into paying ones, and your freelance business can flourish.
Shockingly, studies have revealed that countless small businesses do not maximise the benefits of their website. Are you interested in capitalising your business presence online? Implement these 10 vital elements now, and you’ll achieve the desired results.
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1. Manage Your Domain
Many freelance professionals use open hosting solutions like WordPress.com. While it keeps your bank account steady, it doesn’t allow your clients to pay for your services easily. Therefore, spend some money on your domain name, as you’ll look more professional and this will project a better impression on your customers.
2. Easy To Follow Navigation
Your freelance website should be easy to navigate and display a menu of options. The preferred target should always be within reach. You should at least include an ‘Information’ page, ‘Services’ page, ‘Contact’ page and a ‘Blog’ page with links that are displayed in the overhead navigation menu.
For example, if the URL to one of your web pages is “www.umbrellar.com/cloud-platforms/umbrellarcloud/”, you can have a “Cloud platforms” on the menu – so you won’t have to mention the URL every time you refer users to it.
3. Social Test
According to psychologists, humans have a tendency to gravitate towards people, places and objects that are similar to themselves. They refer to this as ‘implicit egoism’, which is why testimonies and other forms of social testing work so well. When you include testimonials and backups on your freelance website, people identify with you and register for your services.
If you add reviews online, you can drum up even more business. According to results from a survey carried out by Dimensional Research, almost 90% of respondents stated that affirmative appraisals have influenced their purchasing decisions. This is a good reason to encourage people to leave comments.
4. A Face to a Name
Avoid archival photos for your ‘Information’ page. If you’re an individual or part of a team, you must show who you are on this page, giving your company a face to put to the name. According to researchers, visitors usually ignore archived photos. If you do use them, you’ll lose an important opportunity to connect and build trust with your readers.
5. Price Information
While there is some controversy about including price lists on websites, it’s still a good idea for freelance workers to display the fees for all services provided.
Buyers want to know the prices before going ahead. Subsequently, if they aren’t forthcoming, they could look elsewhere. If you’re uncomfortable with this idea, ensure you include the price range on your contact form, or you could end up with many unqualified leads.
6. Forms of Lead Generation
The generation of prospects is not just for large companies. You can also take advantage of nurturing your contacts as a freelance professional. Not only will this help you convince customers to sign on the dotted line for the first time, but they can also facilitate new deals.
According to a DemandGen report, companies receive an average 20% increase in sales from potential customers. This means that you’ll need to collect and cultivate potential customers so you can earn more. Blogs on your website and the opening of an email newsletter are good starting points.
7. Mobile Compatibility
Google manages 3.5 billion searches a day and more than half of them occur on mobile devices. If your site is not responsive to mobile devices, Google will not send as much traffic your way – as it will your competitors whose sites are compatible. Therefore, choose a responsive website that works with mobile and desktop users – or instead go with a dedicated mobile site. I use and recommend the latter. In any case, you must showcase your talents. It must be as convincing as your desktop site if you want to reach your target market.
8. Links to Social Media Pages
Give people the opportunity to get to know you better by providing links to your social media profiles. You’ll want to look like a real person – recognisable and reliable; not just an expert, but a pleasant expert. Sometimes, a visit to your Facebook page is all they need to know that you’re the ideal freelance professional for the job.
9. Quick Loading Times
If you’re going to attract many freelance customers, you’ll need a fast website. 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less, otherwise they’ll leave. The satisfaction of a customer decreases by about 16% for every extra second they have to wait. Increasing the loading speed of your website is easy with these tips: have a solid hosting plan, create images that are compatible with the internet, clean your site, write clean code and optimise your files. Ideally, a good web hosting provider will ensure your site loads quickly.
10. A Customer Area
Don’t just create a website focused on attracting customers. Create a site that makes your life easier (and the lives of your customers). With this in mind, create a customer area. Include contracts, payment policies and other important information here. Thus, customers can easily glean the information they need when they hire your services.
This post was written by Jame Cummings. James is a senior manager with experience in managing multiple simultaneous digital projects. He runs a UK writing company (www.dailyposts.co.uk), with staff across the globe.