Most freelance writers’ websites suck, if they even have one at all. That’s great! Because it means you have the opportunity to outshine all those lowly freelance writers with crap/non-existent websites. (I realise I may have just called you ‘lowly’. Sorry ‘bout that. But you won’t be for much longer, baby!)
Seriously, these things I’m about to tell you to do are ridiculously simple. And easy, for the most part. But most people still don’t do them.
1. Add a Picture of Yourself
Because nothing says ‘untrustworthy’ like a faceless website asking you for money. Make sure you’re not wearing sunglasses or otherwise looking shady (HA, A PUN!) too. We wanna see that beautiful face of yours, and in particular we want to see your eyes, because eyes are the window to the soul or something. (Sidenote: have you ever noticed how animals know to look you in the eye? It’s fucking weird, guys. How do they know that’s where they’re supposed to look?)
2. Write a Tagline That’s Relevant and Easy to Understand
You want people to know exactly what you do and how you can help them — and ideally whether you’re the kind of person they want to help them — within seconds of landing on your site. And a great tagline can do that for you. Check out this post I wrote on how to write a good tagline for more guidance.
3. On that Note: Remove that Pointless Gigantic Image on Your Home Page
I’ve seen this on so many freelance writers’ websites, and I know not why. Presumably it’s because there was a pointless gigantic image included in the theme they chose, and they just decided ‘Fuck it, it can stay’. Trouble is, that pointless gigantic image is taking up valuable space on your home page (and no, I will never ever refer to any part of your website as ‘real estate’; I just can’t) — space you could use to really smack your visitors in the face with your message.
‘This is what I do! This is who I do it for!’ ← that, as we just discussed, is what should be apparent to people as soon as they land on your website, and therefore that information should appear on that lovely part of your website we internet folks like to refer to as ‘above the fold’ (AKA the place where your fugly pointless gigantic image currently resides).
4. Make Your About Page More Client-Centric
Did nobody ever tell you that your about isn’t supposed to be about you? Good lord, how did you ever make it so far? Seriously: people go to your about page to find out more about how you can help them. Yeah, the operative word here being ‘them’. You can write about yourself a little at the end, because once these prospective clients know you can help them, finding out that they have something in common with you, or reading something about your story that resonates with them (which is really the same thing) is a great way to seal the deal. Find out more about writing a solid about page here.
5. Put Your Personality on the Page
Unless you’re new to the blog as of, oh, about three days ago, you will have noticed me harping on about the importance of writing with personality. And not just any personality. Oh no, none of that ‘But I want to be just like her!’ nonsense over here. You mustn’t be afraid to be yourself and to slap your own personality on the page.
6. Write in the First Person
I guess this is another point I’ve been labouring over lately, but it’s just so god damn important, alright? Third person narrative = BAD on freelance writing websites. Because it makes you sound like a twat. More info here.
7. Proofread, Dummy
If you already proofread, that’s cool. I retract my insult. But if you don’t, uh, yeah: you’re a dummy. This is such a simple thing but so many people miss it. You know that proofreading is kind of part of your job as a freelance writer, right? You can’t just blitz out a first draft and send it over to your client with giving it a second glance. So why would you do the same on your website? Which, by the by, it your main sales tool? ‘SACTLY. I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to call yourself a professional freelance writer if there are typos littering your website. SORT IT.
I realise now that insinuating that these changes would be ‘quick’ may have been something of a falsehood. And also that I didn’t really insinuate it so much as outright say it. But hey, you’re here now, and you know what you need to do. So might as well get on with it, eh?