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A Freelance Writer Website Review: 7 Things This Freelancer Should Change Immediately to Increase Odds of Landing Clients

In the comments section of last week’s post, The Woes Of An Aspiring Freelance Writer: What Am I Doing Wrong?, I promised to do a website review. The reason is, this freelancer has been struggling to get her career off the ground. Once I looked at her site, I saw that it needed a complete overhaul. So, following is what I’d advise her to do — immediately.

Note: I am an affiliate for some of the products and services listed here. Read my affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

A Freelance Writer’s Website Overhaul: Do Any of These Problems Plague Your Site?

1. Remove all Ads: Not only does it scream unprofessionalism, it’s the wrong target market. Your site’s target market should be B2B (other businesses). The ads displayed on the site for ebooks on Amazon, etc., are targeted at consumers (B2C). So get rid of them.

2. Your Freelance Writing Website: The “Must Haves” (IMO): As I wrote in the post, How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less than 24 Hours for $0, following are the things that every freelance writer should list on their site – in my opinion.

(i) writing samples;
(ii) a short bio; and if you want
(iii) your rates (some do, some don’t).

I always err on the side of providing rates, that way, clients have all the info they need to make an informed decision when they’re on my site. After all, either they can afford you, or not.

I’d add two more things to this list: (i) a “Services Offered” page (make this a main tab/page on your site; don’t bury it on the “Bio” page of your site); and (ii) a “Contact” page (again, make this a main tab).

Re Your “Services Offered” Page: This can be part of your “Rates” page obviously, but I have a separate page on New Media Words named “Pricing.” It lists all the SEO writing services we offer, along with our rates because some visitors come specifically seeking this information. So, I make it easy for them to find.

Freelance Writing Website Design TipsRe the “Contact” Page: List all the ways clients can contact you. This includes all social media accounts, phone numbers, email addresses, Skype, etc.

Related Post: Advice for Freelance SEO Writers: Should You Include a Phone Number on Your Site?

Writing Samples Tip: Make sure your writing samples reflect your niche. As I advised you in the comments section of the post you sent in that sparked this post:

One more thing I thought of for you, as you want to do health writing, you should target prospects in that niche if you’re not doing so already. I’ve always believed that targeting a niche makes it much easier to land jobs. Make sure you have great writing samples (in this niche) and put them on your site.

That’s it – these five things are more than sufficient to start with.

3. Remove all Posts: The way your site is set up now, it’s like a personal blog. Again, only list the five things above on your site to start. If you want to add a blog or newsletter later on – great! But, only blog about stuff that will help potential clients reach their goals.

Remember, your audience is B2B – other business owners. They want to know about things like how to get more traffic to their sites, how to convert social media leads into paying clients, how to create content that drives sales, etc. They don’t want to know about your personal travails, or things that have to do with freelance writing.

By the way, Twitter is great for finding useful information to blog about – or just link to on your blog.

4. Professional Bio: Your bio should be a bit more professional and less “folksy” in my opinion. I’d remove the following in particular:

My passion for chocolates has led to my becoming a certified Professional Chocolatier and a love of hair care and hair care products, a certified Cosmetic Scientist. I am a contemporary artist at heart, painting and decorating unusual surfaces turning them into objets d’arts.

My love for jewellery design led my winning the prestigious Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), Shining Light, Diamond Jewellery Designer Award for 2008-2009

It adds nothing to your professionalism or your desired niche (health writing). If you want to keep this info, add a “Personal Interests/Hobbies” section. Keep it simple; following is how I’d set this page up . . .

Professional Profile

I am a public health and communications consultant and freelance writer specializing in health-related topics.

Education

Masters: Public Health (Community Health Sciences/Health Education and Promotion)

Masters: Communication Arts (Specialised in Advertising)

Bachelor of Science: Advertising Design

5. Remove ALL Links to All Sites: Eg, EzineArticles, InkwellEditorial.com (thank you for having it there though!); WritersinCharge, etc. Every link. Again, the job of this site is to attract clients – for you – NOT send traffic to others.

HostGator -- Get a Freelance Website Quickly & Easily!6. Select a Clean Design: While this is definitely a personal choice, I don’t think the design of the current site is professional. It’s too amateurish.

I’m no design guru (as my SEO writing company’s site reflects), but in my opinion, a site should be clean, professional looking and only list what’s necessary, as we discussed above.

FYI, you don’t have to be a web designer to create a professional-looking, functional site. For example, HostGator is my host company of choice. They have hundreds ofpoint and click” templates you can choose from with clean lines that would work great for a freelance writing site. Here’s one I like.

Look for the graphic to the left on HostGator if/when you log onto the site to see what I mean —  and just follow the directions from there.

Most host companies have easy, build-your-own-site options like this. And it’s not hard at all. Just remember, a website doesn’t have to be expensive to look great. If you keep the “clean lines and professional copy” rule in mind, you’ll be just fine.

As I’ve stated, my SEO company’s website won’t win any awards, but it gives prospects all the info they need to make an informed decision. And that’s really all you need just starting out. You can always have a site redesigned later if you want. But don’t let not having money stop you from getting one at the starting gate.

7. Change Name: While the name of your site is inspiring, it sounds like a name for a spiritual advisor or something similar.

Instead of doing all the above, why not just register a new domain name – something that says “freelance writer (who specializes in health content)” — and start fresh? Just something to think about.

Examples of Websites of Freelance Writers Who Specialize in Health

I did a general web search, and following are some sites I came across that you can get some ideas from. When I had this site designed back in 2009, I spent hours looking at the sites of others in my niche to come up with ideas of what I wanted mine to look like. It helped a lot.

http://www.webhealthwriter.com: Not fancy, but simple and effective.

http://www.healthfitnesswriter.com: This is the site of and health/fitness article writing service. See, their site is not fancy (in fact, it’s very simple), but it is effective. 

http://lisa-m-evans.weebly.com/index.html: This freelance health writer set her site up on the free platform, weebly. I don’t advise using free platforms, but if you’re in a pinch, it can work – as this site illustrates. 

Learn more about why not to use free web hosting platforms here. It details some trouble I had with wordpress – and what got me away from using “freebies” when it comes to my online presences forever.

Conclusion

I know this may seem like a lot of information to digest, but in reality, all I’m saying is to keep it simple.  If you:

(i) Keep your target audience in mind; and

(ii) Give them ONLY the information they need to make a purchasing decision . . .

Then you’ll be fine. Where many freelance writers get stuck is trying to make things letter perfect. You can’t. There will always be something to be done – especially when it comes to your site.

I procrastinated on getting my old site redesigned for probably 3-5 years before I finally did it in 2009 – and I still have pages in the old design that need to be migrated over. But, if I’d waited until I could do everything at once, I’d still be “stuck on start.”

The things I’ve laid out here can literally be accomplished in one day. Ok; it’ll probably be a long day – but at least it’d be done. THEN you can start marketing with confidence for clients.

Good luck!
Yuwanda

GetSmallBizonWeb-cover-medP.S.: Get your freelance writing business on the web — quickly and cheaply!

Aspiring freelancers, internet marketers, bloggers, affiliate marketers, etc., all need websites these days. And, many of them have no idea how to go about it.

I still get asked simple questions all the time like how to register a domain name and what’s the difference between a domain name and a web hosting company. I was just as new when I was trying to get my first website up. So, I understand the confusion all too well. This info answers all of your questions — and then some.

P.P.S.: You can now order any of our products (like the SEO copywriting course) and take up to 6 months to pay.

 

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    Comments

    1. Yuwanda, I know that for a guru like yourself to review my website, is what I call an act of kindness because, in this day and age gurus like yourself charge a hefty fee for website reviews; for this, I am totally indebted to you.

      I took a moment to digest your review and I am excited (I love new beginnings)! I am adding all this information to my “Freelance Writing Bible” under the “Inkwell Editorial Arsenal” section. I shall be the litmus test for newbies breaking into this industry and will be documenting my progress from the day my new freelance website goes live and until I snag my very first client.

      I am going to re-edit my Win Against Odds website with all your tips although, I have decided to create a completely new website for my freelance writing purposes. Although the Motivational/Inspirational niche may be a difficult one to penetrate, my intention with Win Against Odds was initially that; to motivate, inspire and inform but also for people to get a feel of my writing “skills”. Granted, this certainly was a bad move.

      I have added Andrea Hess’s article “Why defining your niche can be a terrible thing” which you recommended, to my Freelance Writing Bible arsenal as well. In addition, thank you for the links to other health-related websites and, just looking at Chrislyn’s website, I realise how misleading my website has been for what I want to do.

      I also read your post, “ Is it easier to get SEO writing jobs if you specialize in a niche?” and based on what you said:

      “I’d never advise anyone to choose a niche they didn’t like — even if they had experience in it. That would be a “wrong” move”.

      I realise, this is my dilemma right now. Although I have a strong health background, it is certainly not my passion; but it is a means to an end. I am therefore totally grateful for the links you provided to help me tailor my website in such a way that I can choose to specialise in health yet still write for other niches.

      In your comment to Chrislyn in this post, your words “All most need is the courage to start; once you do, you usually get steam under you — and that’s when amazing things start to happen, as you prove”. This truly resonates with me. I needed to hear it because, as I continue to read the comments, I just can’t wait to start afresh, again!

      Thank you Yuwanda and to all those who have commented to encourage me on my journey.
      Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

    2. Yuwanda, you always give such thoughtful advice! Thanks to you, I finally moved from NJ to Orlando where I have a beautiful view of palm trees and a lovely pool. I write from my living room or the public library when I get a little stir crazy. And now I think I’m ready to hire a part time writer!

      I am always changing my website and will, of course, take this advice and go through it again with a fine tooth comb this coming weekend. Your work matters, Yuwanda!

      And to Esayo — learning how to do a website is a process. So take Yuwanda’s constructive criticism, make those changes, and keep moving forward.
      Halona Black recently posted…Halona BlackMy Profile

      • Halona:

        A pool! Really! I want one! I miss palm trees too. I was born and raised in Florida — and the tranquility of a palm tree swaying in a tropical breeze is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Thanks for stirring up some great childhood memories.

        As for hiring a part-time writer — “Well go on miss thang wit yo bad self!” Rock it girl!

        This brought tears to my eyes, “Your work matters, Yuwanda!”

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

        Continued success Halona — and keep me apprised of the growth of your freelance writing business, ok? I love a good success story.

      • Halona, I am so jealous! If after setting up my new website I end up like you and Yuwanda with views of the ocean and a pool then, I am in full gear to get this done in a day!

        Thank you for the words of encouragement and I’ll keep you all posted with my progress.
        Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

        • Just so we’re clear, I don’t have a pool view — so I am in the “jealous box” with you Esayo. And views of the ocean are only when I’m in Jamaica; I’m landlocked in Atlanta. But, it’s still all good.

          Keep working at it Esayo, and you’ll have your view too one day. 🙂

    3. Chrislyn Pepper says:

      Yuwanda,

      Are you in Atlanta, New York or Jamaica right now? If you’re in Atlanta, that was me screaming at about 8:30 AM EST this morning. Did you hear me? I woke my entire house, scared my neighbors and startled quite a few chickens in Alabama.

      I saw the title this morning and thought, “I need to see if I can afford to buy one of these reviews”. I’ve been tweaking and changing my website since its inception. I’m trying to mesh your advice on SEO writing and advice from industry leaders on professional blogging. My niche is SEO Blog Writing for Health-related Professionals.

      I haven’t let my website issues stop my marketing efforts and neither should Esayo. I take a page from your article “Freelance (SEO) Writing: Do You Have What it Takes to Succeed? When NOT to Take the Plunge” for my outlook. I’m going to make mistakes, learn from them and change my website again.

      I’ve changed the name of my website. I’ve added pages and ditched pages. I’m going to look at my website from the viewpoint of the advice you just gave and change it again. I’m still going to send out my marketing emails and make a few calls.

      So, in the meantime, tell Esayo to keep marketing and getting out there. It’s the only way we’re going to get the successful businesses we dream about.

      Chrislyn
      Chrislyn Pepper recently posted…Can You Die of a Broken Heart?My Profile

      • Chrislyn:

        You are hilarious!

        I’m in Atlanta right now — and I think I may have heard your scream. 🙂

        I’m glad the advice I’ve given over the years has helped you put together an amazing site. All most need is the courage to start; once you do, you usually get steam under you — and that’s when amazing things start to happen, as you prove.

        So congrats!

        FYI, my father’s side is from Alabama — love good ole Bama (go Crimson Tide!).

        Esayo — see Chrislyn’s advice? Take it and run with it.

        • I am Yuwanda and I owe it all to you and your review! If you hadn’t given me this gift, I would not have had access to all these wonderful, inspiring comments directed at ME! Thank you.
          Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

          • You’re very welcome doll; and as you can see, you’re never alone in the freelance waters. There’s always someone who’s been where you’ve been and are where you want to go. I’m glad you’ve taken the advice to heart. Once I read back over the post, I thought, “Hmmm, this may be a little harsh.” But I’ve always believed in telling ppl the truth. It’s how I like to be dealt with, even if at the moment it hurts/sucks.

            So, glad you’ve taken the advice in the spirit it was given, which is to help, not harm.

            I can’t wait to see your revised site. Remember, just keep it simple. It can always be tweaked, added to, redesigned later. Now all you want is a functional, professional-looking web presence that promotes your freelance writing services.

            Have a good weekend! 🙂

            • Yuwanda, you gift is your ‘brutal honesty’ and that is why I continue to follow you. It is called tough love :). Your review was ‘gentle'(I was surprised), I expected worse!
              Enjoy your weekend!
              Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

            • I’ve been told this by my family, who sometimes get sick of my “brutal honesty.” But hey, they have to love me!

              Again, glad you took the advice in the spirit it was meant Esayo. You have some tough skin — which is one of the things it takes to do your own thing. This makes me think you’re going to be just fine — you just needed some solid direction, which I and others here who’ve been kind enough to chime in have provided.

              Now, go get’em Tiger! 🙂

      • Chrislyn, I am so impressed and inspired by your tenacity and perseverance, it brought tears to my eyes because, I don’t feel so alone anymore! Thank you for commenting. Your comment has motivated me even more because, I did have a fear of tweaking my website because I must have read eons ago that when you do that it can cause you to lose subscribers (not that I had any). Thank you.
        Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

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