Your Own Website as a Freelancer – Why it Makes Sense
As a general rule, freelancers who have their own website get more jobs. The reason for this is simply that potential employers can get an idea of the services available, without much effort or the need for follow-up questions, and when interested can easily make contact.
Freelancers rely on always being able to find new projects and jobs to survive self-employment. To facilitate this, it’s initially important to be able to be found, demonstrate presence and in some way advertise yourself. Because freelancers today receive many or even most of their assignments via the internet, a website for a freelancer is more than a chance to just present yourself. It is the best business card you can create.
Do Freelancers Absolutely Need a Website?
The question of whether freelancers absolutely require a website is to be answered with a no. They don’t implicitly need a website. Those who have been working as freelancers for a long time , have a broad customer base, and maybe are also often recommended from agency to agency or company to company, might not need a website. That person can rest on their reputation and be glad they must no longer very actively advertise for themselves.
This is mostly the case for only a few exceptions though. All other freelancers, however, who still need to prevail over the competition and fight for jobs, can hardly avoid having a website these days.
Firstly, not having a website is a sign of unprofessionalism to many clients. Many assume that a serious freelancer simply has a website. They want to get an idea of previous projects from the website, take a look at references, and just in general get a first impression. In this way the website functions as a type of modern and extensive business card and could even include a resume, that then doesn’t have to be requested in a separate step.
Secondly a website helps to attract targeted attention. A good design and professional style will be remembered. In addition, an SEO-optimized website can be more quickly and easily found on Google. And that makes prospects and potential customers more likely to click on your website than your competitors’.
Is Programming Knowledge Required for the Website?
Particularly people who have never had any real experience with websites and blogs frequently worry that the creation of their own website requires a crazy amount of work and knowledge. Setting up your own website entirely without the help of a specialist – that must be much too complex and specialized?!
This fear is completely unfounded. While twenty years ago it was perhaps somewhat more difficult to create your own website, today it is basically the work of half a day, entirely without any experience either. Certainly, no programming skills are needed anymore.
There are plenty of vendors that offer feature-rich website “construction kits” that even those with little IT skills can use to put together a site.. Often many no-charge templates are also available to choose a design from which corresponds to your own esthetic sense. You just need to then fill these templates with content to construct your own individual and professional internet presence.
A Website Pays for Itself
Besides the unfounded fear of the complexity, the question of cost is a common one: isn’t it expensive to create your own website all alone, and especially to operate it for several years? This fear is also unsubstantiated.
For one thing having your own website as a freelancer is a real investment in the future. It is supposed to help advertise your services online and win you more clients. That in turn provides more revenue which will exceed the cost of the website many times over. One reason for this is that today websites don’t cost much anymore in most cases.
Building a website can be done entirely for free and requires merely a couple hours of time. Website hosting costs between 5 and 40 euro per month, the domain between 5 and 20 euro per year, unless you are dealing with very special and popular domains. Those who in addition would like an exclusive template and special plugins can expect an additional cost of 50 euro or more. The sky is the limit, of course, but no simple freelancer website should cost more than about 50 euro a year.
Another point to note is that all operating expenses, including the creation and hosting of a website, are tax deductible. No matter whether as a freelancer you operate one or even several websites, as long as they are used for professional purposes, all related costs are deductible.
How exactly the accounting works for a domain, can be read in detail when the time comes. This is also not too complicated and shouldn’t be an obstacle to building a website as a freelancer and making sure the ensuing costs are applicable tax deductions.
Planning the Website
There are various approaches to creating a website. Those who have never built a website and are not very familiar with doing so can begin by first getting a sense of their competitors. What do other freelancer websites look like? What do you like about them? What maybe makes a bad impression at first glance?
When doing research on the websites of other freelancers you may also quickly notice that you can provide certain services that others don’t have in their offering. Or that you can deliver more and perhaps quicker work under better terms. All these insights pay off when building your own website. You avoid mistakes that others may have made and through good observations can make yourself an individual who stands out.
For the second step the website goals are set and in combination with that, the target group to be addressed is defined. In most cases the task is to present yourself on the website and to show, say by means of already successfully completed work, why you are worth being “booked” by a client. If you know which target group you want to win over with which services, you can set the focus directly on this target audience. Even the emphasis of the website content, the design, the interface, etc. can all be optimized for a specific target group. Doing this sets the website apart from the masses and ideally “reels in” those who were meant to be addressed.
Creating the Website
After planning out the website, you can get started with the first step towards its realization. This requires thinking about a name and a URL for the website. The name that will be displayed on the homepage of the website doesn’t have to exactly match the name found in the URL.
The only important thing about the URL is that it is memorable and uncomplicated. The best-case scenario would be one that you could remember after hearing it a single time. Both the URL as well as the title could, for example, be your own name or your occupation in combination with your name. It should at least be clear, who you are and what kind of services you offer.
As already mentioned, no great programming skill is required to get your own website up and running. A website “building block system” with a simple editor interface is sufficient. Some popular providers for these are WordPress, Jimdo or 1&1.
Once you have decided on a supplier, you can search for templates and choose a design that speaks to your type of work, target audience and your own aesthetic sensibilities.
Once the basic website framework is in place, the next task is to come up with a structure and ensure user-friendliness, a simple and intuitive operation of the website. Of course, as a freelancer you’d like to realize yourself through and on your own website, fully expressing your own personality and qualities.
However, you must never forget that the main purpose of the website is to convey an image of your work to potential customers. For this they must realize quickly and easily where they need to click to find this or that information. Creativity when designing a website is good but should never be considered more important than functionality.
Part of every successful website structure should also be found on a freelancer website, namely certain specific subpages or categories. The following subpages are especially recommended:
- Homepage with the goal to briefly present yourself and welcome visitors
- Imprint, required by law in some countries and easy to create using a free generator available online
- Contact, which makes it possible to quickly find a telephone / cell number or email address at which you can be reached
- Services and Prices, which serves to precisely list which type work you offer
- References, to show previous work and if possible collect reviews from satisfied customers
- About me – A subpage where you introduce yourself in detail and which sometimes also includes a CV
Once these, and where appropriate, additional subpages are set up, the website can go live online. This can usually be accomplished by your provider with just a few clicks. Then the task is to hope for visitors and wait to see if the website has the anticipated effect.
High-quality SEO texts for further web pages, such as blogs, glossaries or guides, can be ordered easily via clickworker.
As a freelancer, the whole thing works best if you perhaps also have traditional business cards printed that also mention your website. Then potential clients you may have met another way can also find their way to the website and get a better impression of your work there.
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