As you’ve probably already discovered, self-promotion is an important piece of the freelancing puzzle. There are a lot of ways to build a solid freelancing reputation, both on and offline, but an important place to start is through your very own website.
Planning in Advance
Begin by assembling all the things you’ll want to put on your website – photos, links to published work, etc. You might even want to make a sketch of what you consider to be an optimal website layout. Save everything to a file folder, and store it until it’s time for the actual implementation phase.
This part is straightforward: use your first and last name, plus a .com, as your website address. If there are others with your same name, consider adding a middle initial or your profession to the title. Let’s say, for example, that you happen to have the same name as Jane Austen, and you’re a freelance photographer. Website address ideas could include JaneWAusten.com, JaneAustenPhotographer.com, or even JaneAustenFreelancer.com.
Selecting a Host
It’s important to choose a host that provides three main things:
- Affordable monthly or yearly plans.
- Domain privacy as part of the registration.
- Excellent website design options.
I’ve noticed that the costs of hosting plans tend to vary wildly. In general, however, the old adage is true: you get what you pay for. So, if you just want a basic website with a couple of pages, it’ll be far less than if you’re configuring the website to include an online store/be part of online advertising networks. Regardless, the more you pay, the more add-ons you should have access to, most notably when it comes to security.
Domain privacy is a must in order to prevent your information possibly getting sold to various marketing companies. Years ago, when I registered my first domain, I used my regular contact information to do so. Shortly thereafter, I started getting more spam in both postal and email form. For a little extra money, you should be able to have your host company register your site with their credentials instead.
As to web design, make sure your host provides options that reflect your aesthetic – choose a host that lets you customize as many aspects of your website as possible. If you’re new to website design, be sure to contact your host’s support team so that they can get you started as comprehensively as possible.
Put Your Best Self Forward
No matter your freelancing niche, your website should have an engaging homepage, About page, Contact page, and Portfolio page; a page for testimonials would also be ideal. Remember, your website is, for all intents and purposes, your online business card. You should be referencing this website on all of your promotional materials, including your resume, and updating it as you become more established.
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