I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you’re going to work from home as a freelance writer, you need a website.
Not just any website, either.
It’s gotta be good.
If you’re reading this as part of the series, we’ve already covered:
How To Land More Of The Work You Love With Your Website, which shows you how to design your site to target your market and build a client roster of projects you actually enjoy working on and…
Effective & Proven Marketing Elements That Take Your Website To The Next Level where we look at design elements like testimonials, graphics, logos, and pages and how they can be used to create a website full of sales copy that sells your services 24/7.
You’re more than welcome to go back and re-read these before we get started because in this portion we’ll be looking at the published sites of other freelancers for inspiration. I’ve included a link to each site so you can view it live and experience the design for yourself, but I’ve also included lots and lots of screenshots and examples of the elements I’ve suggested using—plus, just plain cool, creative, and functional web designs.
While we’re clicking around, checking out ideas for your site, pay special attention to each site’s menu and pages. Click on them to see how other writers have organized their professional information—it can give you ideas for your own pages.
Also, a word of caution. Unless you have a minimum project price due to your influence and experience, I don’t suggest posting your rates on your website. While it may seem like a service to your clients, you’ll soon find clients quoting your rate page to you in an effort to command the lowest price possible for your work, despite the extra tasks, costs, add-ons, and edits they might also assign.
I find it’s best to price your services on a per-project basis, especially with new clients. This will also allow you to raise your rates as you gain experience without having to update your website.
If you’re going to post your rates no matter what I say, at least go high to weed out the bargain-hunters.
Now, on to some cool design!
Branded Logos – Kristi Hines
We’re going to start with the website of freelance writer and digital marketer, Kristi Hines, whose site stats must have exploded when Carol Tice featured her in Make A Living Writing’s 10 Writer Websites That Kick Butt and Get Clients. For good reason, too, because Kristi’s clean design allows her supportive elements speak for her expertise.
Her home page features the logos of companies she’s worked with and they highlight her expertise, marketing, which I’m sure lands her more gigs writing about…you guessed it! Marketing!
You can do the same with your niche to draw specific assignments.
Plus, using the names of well-known clients lends you even more authority—and speaking of authority, Kristi has also included badges on her home page to display her certifications. Nice idea!
Kristi’s testimonial page shows how writers can harness the power of LinkedIn to give clients confidence in their decision to hire you:
Fun Writing Facts!
Finally, as a part of her writing services page, Kristi includes some fun facts and highlights the traffic and SEO benefits of hiring her as a writer:
Kristi also keeps an industry-related blog but hosts it on its own page, away from the home page she directs clients to. Still, clients can read it and be assured that Kristi knows her shit. 🙂
Page Production – Carol Tice
Yup, it’s the digital freelance guru’s site itself—and what I love about Carol’s site is how she’s designed her menu to support her strengths and niches. Prospective clients can see exactly what styles of writing Carol specializes in and the types of companies she works with.
Awards & Accolades
Carol also showcases her awards on her site, something any writer with accolades could include. Don’t forget to refer to yourself as an award-winning writer, not just one of us common freelancers! 🙂
Break Up Text
Another thing I like is how Carol has used the logo of each company to break up what is normally a text-heavy list of links to her work, then she sprinkles in some powerful praise from her peers and the result is a website that is clear and enticing (get it—enTICEing? Sorry) to clients.
Clean & Crisp – Elna Cain
First, can we talk about that amazing typing header graphic? You can’t see it in the screenshot, you’ll have to visit the site yourself, but how cool is that? It definitely sets her design apart.
But Elna’s site has far more going for it than one fancy widget.
Notice her use of color. Besides the file folder in the header, the page is primarily black, white, and blue but her restraint allows those colors to pop and gives the page a fresh feel.
Instead of using full-color logos on the home page, Elna showcases them on a grayscale bar just below the header image, so she still gets immediate impression points without sacrificing her design scheme.
But digital writing is only half wordsmithing, so Elna also shows she has the know-how to optimize for Google and search engines. A handy idea!
My other favorite feature of Elna’s site is the use of images in her portfolio. Where most writers use a simple text list of links, Elna has created an eye-catching catalog of her work, complete with internal category links for busy clients and editors.
About Page – Elise Moreau
You know how most writing blogs say that conversational writing is popular but also one of the hardest styles to master? Well, if your website is a potential client’s first experience with your skills and your content gigs are consistently casual, you can do like Elise did and showcase your ability to write conversationally in your About page.
And I LOVE her explanation to editors about her rates:
Yes, she posts them but obviously to keep away the bargain-hunters:
I also love the way Elise categorizes her portfolio. It’s visually stunning and functional at the same time.
And while Elise includes her blog on her website menu, it isn’t hosted there. The menu tab redirects you to the actual site—a great idea for writers who blog on a topic unrelated to their business.
Interactive Categories – KeriLynn Engel
Apparently the Modern Portfolio Pro theme has an interesting feature. I can’t show it to you in a screenshot so you’ll have to visit Keri’s home page yourself to experience it: Click on those centered category tags just below the Portfolio heading. I assume you can change the color of the tabs (if you don’t want that purple) but this could be great for the writer who works in different capacities depending on the project.
Editing & Other Writing Services – Cecily Paterson
If your freelance career has led to editing and other project services, you’ll want to highlight these abilities. Cecily helps fiction writers edit and publish their books so she includes a couple extras on her home page. Since she knows book authors in need of editing are her target market, she offers downloads—and notice the giveaway tab in the corner!
She also includes a sample of her writing (and those reviews on the left) so clients know she walks the walk.
I also like her HIRE ME menu tab. A contact me tab might prompt clients to email you with project descriptions, but HIRE ME implies a decision has been made. Even if that tab leads straight to your contact page to gather the client’s information.
Web Design For Writers
Keep in mind that while coding and plug-ins can customize your site, the design itself will be dictated by the theme you choose. When you’re deciding on your theme, spend less time worrying about the colors (which can usually be changed) and more time looking at the features, like where and how images are displayed.
Next you’ll decide what pages to include and how they will be organized. Who is your audience? What will help them decide to hire you? Make a list of what will best sell your services but don’t overdo it. Keep your design uncluttered yet informative.
Do you have testimonials? Could you collect some? Can you download the logos of your previous clients and companies and add them to your design? I pulled mine together into a header image using Canva:
Whether you’re building a site from scratch or giving your current site a make-over, I encourage you to include proven marketing elements in your design. After all, you are selling. Your services are your product. Make it easy for clients to say YES!
Have you seen an amazing writer site that I missed? What design elements have worked for you on your site? Have you studied sales copy to improve your writing? Is there anything you’re struggling with in your design? What did I miss about website design that you really wanted to know?