As a freelancer, your web presence is essentially your digital calling card, the thing that makes or breaks first impressions and determines whether prospective clients hire you or scroll on past. So, why are you treating it as an afterthought?

Every freelancer knows the struggle of getting caught up in day-to-day responsibilities and letting the big picture stuff fall to the wayside. However, neglecting your online presence is a surefire way to get stuck in the feast or famine cycle of freelance work. If you don’t have a digital presence that does the hard work of finding clients for you, then you’ll be left scrambling for work every time your current projects dry up. If you want your web presence to function as a lead magnet, you need to make sure it shines. Here’s where to start.

Develop Great Content

Content is how you establish authority in your field, and it’s a must if you want to convince prospective clients that you’re the person to hire.

Testimonials and reviews from previous clients are a must for any freelancer’s website, but you shouldn’t stop there. Developing original content is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and help clients understand the unique value that you deliver.

Content can come in a variety of forms, but research shows that video is king when it comes to user engagement. Recording audio and designing visuals to go alongside it is a great way to make shareable content for your site. Unfortunately, it’s also time- and labor-intensive. For other ways to engage your audience without writing walls of text, try using voice recording software to record podcasts, interviews, and other types of audio content. With the right tools, you can easily produce a transcript of your recordings so you still reach the readers out there.

Take Advantage of Self-Serve Tools

Is answering inquiries and scheduling clients eating into your productive time? If you’re overwhelmed by the volume of contacts you receive via your website and social media pages, consider how many prospective clients you’re not hearing from.

Too often, if someone can’t easily find the information they need, they’ll move on instead of reaching out. Self-serve customer service tools help you plug the leak and free up your own time by letting people answer questions on their own.

An FAQ page is a simple self-serve tool that every freelancer should have. With an FAQ to answer questions about what you do, how you set your rates and other common inquiries, you avoid answering the same questions over and over and gain the confidence that when customers do hire you, they know exactly what they’re getting.

If you run an appointment-based business, an online scheduling tool is another must. With a scheduling widget, clients can schedule appointments based on your availability so you spend less time booking and more time working. You’ll also find an appointment management tool helpful if you work with subcontractors. Instead of coordinating via back-and-forth, an appointment tool lets you view and edit schedules with a few clicks.

Improve Search Engine Optimization

In order for prospective clients to make use of your carefully developed content, FAQ, and scheduling tools, they need to be able to find your site. However, without SEO to make your freelance website turn up in search results, that may not happen.

Luckily, basic SEO is easy enough to do yourself if you’re reasonably web-savvy. Reducing page load time, adding header and alt tags, and improving your site’s architecture will instantly improve rankings without requiring the expertise of an SEO professional. However, if you take these steps and still aren’t ranking high enough to be found, it may be time to call in an expert.

You don’t have to pause your work to reinvent your web presence, but start thinking about how you can incorporate elements like these to take your freelance website from a digital business card to an effective lead generator. By setting aside a few hours per week to develop content and optimize your web presence, you can create a resource that pays you back in spades.

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