For a freelance business nowadays online presence is a must. No matter what the specifics of your business is, one of the core tasks would be to deal with your customers online.
Like any other user, you seem to have accounts on social networks, but that isn’t enough! Your business shouldn’t be just an average one. For that purpose, you need a stunning functional portfolio website.
When the main question is how to start a freelance business, be sure that at one of the first stages you will realize how you are going to build your site, which structure and peculiarities it will have.
Customers want to know what products or services you offer. There is no better way to show it than a saturated portfolio.
Let’s presume you have technical skills of the satisfying level and decide to create a site yourself.
Such a decision equals saving money and trouble which working with a developer may cause. Don’t be afraid that you are not a crazy techy to do everything by yourself. There is a way out!
With the sufficient set of tools, you can cope with any creative task and build an impressive online portfolio on your own.
Your main instrument will be a website builder, which is simple and intuitive to work with.
It can fulfill the need of the easy customization of a brand new site, filling in the gaps in your technical knowledge.
It will also allow you to change or renew every component on your site without writing a code. These components include
- adding columns,
- parallax backgrounds,
- images, and
With the help of it, it is also possible to build your own fresh layout.
Here is a step-by-step strategy for you on how to start a freelance business with the help of the portfolio website.
Step One: Layout
So, now we are making the first step on the way to answering the question of how to start a freelance business online – an attractive freelance portfolio website.
Obviously, it includes choosing a layout. The visual structure of a site should be pre-planned.
You need to know exactly what elements you want to excel, what is the first thing a customer notices visiting your website, and what is the flow of it.
There is an opportunity, to begin with, a blank canvas, though a much better idea for a newbie seems to be to choose from a list of well-designed templates when you make a personal portfolio website.
They don’t limit your creativity (you are able to make a full makeover of them any time) and at the same time, they give you a stable background to base on. This choice means lower risk and tension in yourself while commencing.
Step Two: Name and SEO
Branding in online business is not just a word. You need to think carefully about the name your business will have.
Moreover, your supposed clients will associate your production with a brand name, so take into account the psychological factors and possible negative associations with your target audience.
Make your logo and style appropriate and corresponding the brand name. Don’t leave space for a mistake!
If we are talking about the Internet, we cannot but mention first and foremost – SEO (search engine optimization).
What is the point of creating a perfectly designed portfolio website with an appealing brand name if nobody sees it?
You should spend time and efforts on making sure you are fast and easily found by search engines. It consists of several steps:
- being attentive to your texts,
- refreshing your content, and
- finding/placing the right keywords.
It is also impossible to imagine a point on how to start a freelance business website without a regularly updated blog.
That is a science to be learned. Boosting your blogging skills will attract more readers and future clients and at the same time will express your personality, which is of much importance in the competitive market.
Step Three: The Site Itself
You need to consider carefully the content of your portfolio divided into pages. There is a list of necessary pages to be included. They are:
- The homepage which is the very first thing your customers will bump into. The impression should be unforgettable! Except for good-looking, it should contain information about your company and products/services.
- Products/Services – An utter list of what you offer with decent pictures and detailed description.
- Testimonials – In content, marketing testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating. Customers prefer to read about real people’s positive experience, not only to be given pure advertising.
- About Me/Us – This page is aimed at providing required information about your company’s goals, methods, and values.
- Contact Me/Us – If the visitor is supposed to become a customer, give them a chance not to search long for your contact info.
Your pages may also include (and it will be a powerful addition if made right): FAQ to improve your site’s Google visibility and get rid of the customers’ doubts; blog; online store to sell directly from your freelance business site.
Step Four: Optimization
If you ponder on how to start a freelance business, you should think over the idea that your site may become not just a business portfolio.
It can be the one which actually drives leads. However, there are multiple factors to be taken into account to achieve this goal. Otherwise, the site is just a nice business portfolio, not more.
Testing is the essential part of creating a portfolio website that drives leads.
Nice design, structure, and informativeness are important in the beginning, but how else would you know what is working and what isn’t if for testing?
The necessary actions involve:
- CTA (call-to-action) testing – The way you formulate your CTA and its location on the page may drive either more or fewer visitors’ clicks. Make sure your customer knows exactly what to do after they decided what they need and got sure they need it from you.
- Page Testing – There is a wide variety of tools you can use to test pieces of your freelance website: heat-mapping software (for discovering what draws people attention), Google Analytics and other analytics tools, A/B testing software.
Except for Social Proof (provided with Testimonials) and Testing, there is a number of ways to get your supposed customers into the lead funnel. They may include ads and “soft” sell.
Yeah, I know, Ads can be irritating, but if you don’t overload your portfolio website with advertising, but just sprinkle it on the pages, then it will be efficient.
In the method of “soft” sell, you create some limited-access content which asks for a visitor’s email or other contact info.
It is a low-commitment request, which makes your site more attractive to a visitor, and visitors’ data – approachable for you.
The main task of your business portfolio website is to bring you customers and sells. If you don’t know what sphere to start from, there is a bunch of tips on the best ways to earn money online.
Finally, the key of how to start a freelance business is continuous improvement of your portfolio website, which consists of careful testing, analysis, and conclusions.
Keep an eye on how your creativity influences your analytics and challenge yourself to try new things if you don’t like the numbers.