Do Freelancers Need Their Own Websites?
The short answer to the question, "Do freelancers need a website?" is, "Yes, almost always." These days, websites are low-cost and easy to set up and maintain. They're your calling card to the world, so there's little reason not to have one.
That said, let's look at the reasons freelancers might question whether they'd need their own websites.
Do I really need a website?
If you're asking this question, there's something holding you back.
Your obstacle is likely one of the following…
You believe websites are too expensive
It's true that websites can be expensive. Getting a designer to build one for you will typically cost thousands of dollars. But money doesn't need to be an excuse. You don't need a site with bells and whistles. You just need a site that looks good and outlines your services. There's a good choice of paid options that will get your site up and running for under $100 a year, if you're willing to do a bit of work yourself.
You think websites are complicated to set up
You don't know what a web host is, you've never heard of a cPanel, and you don't know the first thing about html. It sounds like a reasonable excuse, but it's not. A decade ago, setting up a website without any coding skills was close to impossible. These days, a novice can set up a professional-looking site in an afternoon. One of the simplest ways of setting up a self-hosted website is through WordPress. You will have to learn a tiny amount, which you can pick up from a quick Google search, but you won't have to write a single line of code.
You're clueless about design
Most websites are built using design templates. Many basic templates are available for free. Templates with more advanced features are available to buy, usually for under $100.
You're not sure what to write on your site
If writing the copy for your website is proving a challenge, it's probably because you don't know where to start. Doing a competitor analysis will help you here. By seeing what information your competitors include on their sites, you'll have a good idea of what you need on yours.
You're blocked over choosing a domain name
Choosing a domain name can be an anxious process. You know the name you choose will be with you for years, yet the domains you want are already taken. A good way forward is to buy the domain for your personal name (firstnameinitiallastname.com). Buying a domain costs just $15, and you can always upgrade to a brand name later when you've settled on one you're happy with. For more guidance on picking a name for your business, check out our naming guide.
You know of plenty other ways to get work
Freelance job boards, social media, and business networking are some of the most fruitful ways to find new clients. A website will reinforce the marketing you do through these.
With these obstacles out of the way, are you still wondering whether a website is necessary? Let's take a look at the benefits of having a website.
4 Reasons You Need a Freelance Website
During my first three years freelancing, I didn't have a website.
I didn't believe I needed one. Only when I finally set up a site did I realize the mistake I'd made. My website has become my main source of leads for new clients.
Why are websites so helpful for freelancers? Here are four reasons.
Is your face to the outside world
Without a website, the only way people can find out more about your services is by talking to you – whether that's face-to-face, over the phone, through email, or on social media. With a website, anyone in the world who's looking for your services can find you and contact you.
Gives your prospects an easy, non-threatening way to explore your services
They check out your credentials, look at your testimonials, and browse your portfolio. You can also use your site to answer common questions that prospects have, giving you more time to focus on projects.
A website gives the impression that you're a serious, established company. It establishes your credibility, helping prospects feel safe in making the decision to hire you.
Is platform independent
Your website belongs to you, which gives you complete control over your marketing. As long as the internet continues to exist, you can have a website. Anywhere else you market your services – jobs boards, social media, bidding sites – could be gone tomorrow or could change their conditions. Relying on them for all your leads is a big risk.
A website is key to the success of your freelance business.
Yes, it's an investment, but it's a tiny investment compared to the returns you will see. If you don't have a website, take the first step in setting yours up today.
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