How to get your freelance website to work for you

How to build a freelance website
Do you really need a website for your freelance business? Are you unsure if it would really benefit what you do?

I’ve made thousands of dollars from product sales (averaging a little over a hundred dollars a month this year), and I haven’t had to do any hardcore cold-calling for client work in a long time – all thanks to my website.

Having your own website can do wonders for you if you apply the right strategy. For me, it’s more than just my portfolio. It’s my online home where I can share my thoughts, work, make connections, and promote the things I’m working on/selling. Using my own strategy of generating traffic then converting that traffic into something more, my website in turn works for me.

In this post I share the strategy behind my freelance graphic design website; why I designed it the way I did, what purpose it has, and how you can build your own freelance business website.

My freelance website breakdown

I’ve redesigned my personal freelance graphic design website a countless number of times over the years. It was only with my recent redesign where I had finally developed my own strategy that started to actually generate results.

I used to think you needed an about page, portfolio, and contact form just because that’s what everyone else was doing. However, that’s not it at all.

You won’t see any results until you strategize the flow and copy of your website. Don’t consider adding pages or content for the sake of having it, rather, consider what you want your visitors to learn the second they land on your homepage. Then where should they go next?

Don’t leave it up to your visitors to navigate your website blindly by themselves. Point them in the right direction – and you’ll do this will the use of calls-to-action.

On my personal website the first thing you’re presented with is a photo of me, my logo in my primary brand color, a very brief intro, with two main calls-to-action. The visitor is instantly introduced to me, what I do, and where they should go next; they can learn more about me or reach out right away. Also, just below that intro they get a glimpse into my latest design work. Then following my recent work is another call-to-action, announcing my design availability.

Brent Galloway - Freelance Website Strategy Notes

I use this same strategy on every single page on my site; I present the most important information first in context to the page the viewer is on. Then I follow it up with a call-to-action.

By no means is my website perfect. Heck, I have a whole list of tweaks that’d I’d like to make but just haven’t had the time to get to yet.

I started from scratch and rebranded my freelance business a couple of years ago. It was the best business decision I had made. Ever since then I’ve been tweaking my website – seeing what’s working and what’s not, then adjusting. If a page isn’t being viewed, if there’s content not being seen, or if I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for, then I adjust.

Building your own freelance website

I highly recommend you build your own freelance website from scratch. Not so much design and develop it from scratch, but rather, build the content and strategy of it from scratch. Having your own place online to display your work, share your ideas, and to allow anyone to get in touch with you instantly is so beneficial.

When you start to consider the build of your freelance website, don’t start with the design, but with the pages and their content. List out each page with a brief description of its purpose, then consider ways you can intertwine them together with the use of calls-to-action (not just with your main navigation).

An effective freelance website may consist of a blog to pull in traffic, a friendly about page with your photo, a simple method of contact, and an easy-to-view portfolio. Do whatever advances your long-term goals. If building a blog has no benefit to you, then don’t waste your time doing it.

Also, not everyone is a developer, so if you’re unfamiliar with coding and designing websites, don’t attempt to do it yourself! There’s no shame in hiring others to do tasks which are outside your skill set, or to use an online service to help build your website. To name a few online services: Squarespace, Behance, and Carbonmade are all great for showcasing your work.

Website design flaws to avoid

Rather than share top design trends, I think it’d be more beneficial to share what to avoid. Website design comes with a wide range of pitfalls, and if you can avoid them, you’ll create confidence in your brand and, by extension, the products and services you offer.

Here are some major design flaw to avoid, but are not limited to:

  • Using blurry or stretched images
  • Interrupting the viewer’s focus with auto-playing video or audio
  • Blinking or flashy imagery to grab attention
  • Using more than three different fonts, pairing fonts which clash, or not providing adequate line-spacing (line-height)
  • Clashing color schemes like blue text on a red background
  • Misuse of stock imagery for key content images like page headers. (Invest in good imagery or design your own)
  • Misaligned elements, which makes the flow of your content hard to follow
  • Cluttered, tight, and compact content

Evaluate your website or keep this list close when designing. If your website falls victim to any of these design flaws, you’re doing yourself a disservice and you need to make some immediate adjustments.

The best way to improve your site is to have someone else evaluate your content and design. It always helps get a second pair of eyes after working on the same project for a long period of time.

Putting your new freelance website to use

Once you have your new (or already established) freelance website online, use your strategy, whatever it may be, and start generating the results you desire.

If it’s to draw in traffic, then start blogging to your target audience on a regular basis. Share your thoughts on the field you specialize in, share your lessons learned, or write about your process on a recent client project. Then share what you create across your social media.

If you paid attention to what I had to share in this post and you have the necessary calls-to-action throughout your website, you should have a better chance at reaching your goals.

Answer this…

Do you have a website for your freelance business?

What do you like most about it? What do you do to generate the results you desire?

Leave your link and thoughts in the comments below so everyone can check it out!

  • http://tristadedmon.com Trista Dedmon

    This was well timed for me, Brent, thank you. I’ve had to rebuild my site this week after a terrible hack on my previous one destroyed it’s usability. I managed to save the content but am definitely rethinking the layout. I agree with your idea about a photo and introduction right off the bat. I had this on my old site but you’ve inspired me to make it look better and use more CTAs. Thank you again!

    Hopefully I will have at least a placeholder site up in a couple days, but my url is here if you want to check back :)
    http://tristadedmon.com

    • http://brentgalloway.me Brent Galloway

      Hi Trista, thanks for taking the time to read and share! Can’t wait to check out your site redesign once it goes live! :)

  • Brennan Scott

    As always, great post! I am just starting out in my freelance business and I have taken a lot of advice and suggestions from your various posts and I am incredibly thankful for the resources. Feel free to take a look at my website if you have a free moment.

    http://www.beardedbeedesigns.com

    Thanks,
    Brennan

    • http://brentgalloway.me Brent Galloway

      Hi Brennan, thank you for the kind words and for taking the time to share! I’m really glad what I have to share can be of use.

      I checked out your website and really love the last line in your about page bio, “I can help you generate the buzz without the sting of a huge price tag.” Fits perfectly with your brand! I tried to view your portfolio, but it kept linking to the homepage. Are you aware of this?

      Thanks again for reading and leaving your comment! :)

      • Brennan Scott

        I was not aware of that, thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. Thankfully I was able to get that issue resolved after some troubleshooting.

  • Sam DeZeeuw

    Hey Brent! I’m 19 and starting a freelance videography business. I just found this website, and I gotta say I’m hooked! I need to go to sleep but I keep reading! Great post too! I just did a lot of updating to my website recently at sammydez.com. I feel as though it looks fairly good and will do the job! I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks!