Not every website is full of pictures of products for sale and samples of services rendered. If you’re a freelance writer, designer or artist, for example, you can only advertise your rates, as your clients privacy might prevent sharing samples of the work you’ve done. While you can display a portfolio with sample work, that’s just a start. Focus on strategies for attracting visitors to your website and drawing them there again and again to build word of mouth.
Regularly Update a Blog
Regularly update a blog relevant to your industry. Don’t focus on keywords; focus on providing compelling content people will enjoy reading. Learn more about developing content effectively for your blog. Ideas for content include:
- Coverage of news related to your industry
- Well-researched opinions of industry news; invite debate on your site but try to avoid controversy
- Original research pieces; conduct exclusive interviews, uncover sources and add new theories to hot topics in the industry
- Personal stories with some connection to your work life;i.e., “A Day in the Life of a Website Designer,” etc.
You may not be targeting the casual Web browser, but the more people who visit your site, targeted or not, the better word-of-mouth you’ll build. That means you have to provide something relevant to your industry that even the casual visitor would like to see. For most freelancers, that’s content.
Participate in Social Media
Gone are the days when a website owner could throw up a website and rely on search engine results alone to draw customers. Social media is where many potential site visitors spend their time, and a freelancer needs to integrate online presence with popular social media profiles to attract more site visitors.
Actively participate in social media. Don’t just post promotional information about your services. Use keywords and hashtags to join discussions relevant to your industry. Come to be relied on as an informative, engaging source of relevant news, and followers will share your posts, which could lead to paying customers down the line.
Join Online Freelancing Groups
When using social media, find groups relevant to freelancing in your industry. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, find a group of freelance writers who share tips about clients looking to hire, changes to SEO algorithms, and tips for promoting your business. Although the group will largely be made of your rivals in the business, clients looking for freelancers will flock to these boards to find information about freelancers to hire.
Forge relationships with your fellow freelancers, and you might join together for projects. You might be a website designer, for example, who pairs with a writer and a graphic designer to offer fully-formed websites to businesses. You might also become the go-to professional for overflow work with colleagues who do the same thing; for example, if another website designer has too many projects to complete in a certain amount of time, he might ask you if you can do some of the coding for a portion of the payment.
Write for Online Publications
Part of establishing yourself as a reliable source of information in the industry is demonstrating that reputable sources rely on you. You can publish engaging, informative content on your own website, but you’ll still struggle to attract visitors in the first place. Seek to publish your content on established, popular websites related to your industry. You’ll get a byline, and depending on the website’s policies, you may be able to publish the same article on your website regardless. Remember that these sites value:
- Well-researched, cited material
- New and interesting theories
- New data or original studies performed
Regular visitors to the site will be able to click on the byline to visit your website for more articles. The site might also offer payment for your article, which helps your bottom line; either way it is free advertising for your services on a website with more regular traffic than yours.
As Forbes reports, freelancing is a flexible career choice, but that comes with disadvantages as well as benefits. You might be busier one month than you are the next, and any time spent looking for new clients instead of current projects hurts your bottom line. Let your website do part of the work of attracting new clients for you. Drive traffic to your website by offering quality content and actively participating in your industry.