I recently updated my professional website. While I had been concentrating on writing, marketing and sales copy I realized that the work I enjoy doing every day is content creation. With Summer coming to an end and my kids going back to school, it was time for a content update before marketing myself to fill my availability. (I went part time over vacation. It’s a perk.) I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about how your professional site can land you work by marketing your skills 24/7 to potential clients…and how you can use your website to direct the focus of your career.
Know Your Audience
Your professional site is where you attract clients so your copy should highlight what they’ll gain by hiring you. Brush up on your sales copy and study templates of successful landing pages. Many of the sales components used to sell products will also work for your writing services.
Gather testimonials from past or current clients to feature as social proof. You can either display these on their own Testimonials page or sprinkle them around the site as visual text boxes to break up heavy text or your list of clips. Another way to gain social proof is to display the logos of popular companies and sites you’ve contributed to. These don’t have to be full time gigs, either. Write a title or heading, My writing has been featured in: and create a header or image to display on your site that incorporates those impressive logos.
You’ll also be driving traffic to your site when you respond and apply for writing jobs. Keep in mind the types of writing you regularly apply for and think about what those editors want in a contributor or freelancer. If you’re a niche writer with lots of experience on a specific topic, highlight it as a benefit of hiring you.
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Streamline Your Services
The beauty of your professional site is that you control the direction of the content. This means you can market yourself for the types of writing you want more of and essentially direct your career to include the work you love and enjoy.
If you’re like me and have decided to narrow your workload to a certain writing type, write your site copy to emphasize your specialization. You might love to write sales copy, market on social media, edit book manuscripts, design landing pages, create digital content, format white papers, or any number of other projects.
Put A Face To Your Name
Your website should feature a professional picture of you so that potential editors and clients feel they’re hiring a real person. Seeing your smiling face builds trust and helps visitors connect with you. I suggest using the same photo you use for your blog, professional social media and headshot for side articles. This will help editors (and readers) recognize you as they cruise the internet and come across your work.
If you don’t have a professional photo yet, ask a camera-experienced friend or ask around on social media. Chances are you know someone with a high-end camera and a passion for photography who won’t charge you a fortune. Match the tone of your writing and professional site in your photograph. A writer who creates business to business sales tools will probably have a more traditional picture than a freelance writer who specializes in millennial click bait.
Once you have your professional snapshot, use it across all your professional media: your author page on sites you write for, your work-related social media accounts, your bio headshot for guest posts and your Gravitar.
Especially if your clients expect you to have experience with WordPress. If you’re concerned with hosting costs (aka don’t have the funds) you can purchase your domain and set up a url redirect to a WordPress dot com site. It will hurt your ranking in search engines so use this as a temporary fix but it will insure that once you take on a hosting package, you’ll have the domain you want. I’ve used this strategy since I drive most of the traffic to my site through links in direct emails and don’t rely heavily on search engines for work, though there can be big payoffs there.
Get A Custom Email
Once you have your domain you’ll be able to get a custom email @your website. I recently switched to Google business email because my Host Gator email was archaic. I couldn’t embed links into the text of my emails which is a MUST for including clips and your website when applying for work. Do yourself a professional courtesy and create a custom email. If your host doesn’t offer the email features you need, explore other services.
Choose A Professional Theme
Remember you audience. This is not the site to feature that pink and kitten theme you’ve been dying to use. Also keep in mind that this site may not be designed like a typical blog. You probably won’t have regular posts, sidebars or content so choose a theme with a home page that features the information you want to display in a professional and eye-catching way. Play around with your theme’s color palette as well and choose a color that enhances and reinforces how you want your site’s (and your) personality to be perceived.
That’s a lot to do. If you’re ready to land more work or more of the type of work you love doing, it’s probably time to get on your dashboard and start tweaking.
Stay tuned cause next time we’ll talk about the information and pages you should include on your professional website! And I’d love to see your professional sites! You can share them in the comments here or in the Paid Write Writers’ Group.