Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I earn a commission if you purchase a product or service through my exclusive links, at no cost to you. For more details, please read my full disclosure.
So, you’ve decided to become a freelancer. One of the first things to consider is whether you should have a website for your business. You may wonder if it’s even necessary.
Simply put, the answer to that question is “Yes!”
To understand how creating a website for your business can help, here are 10 reasons every freelancer should have a website.
1. You Appear More Professional
Having your own website provides instant credibility and lets prospective clients know that you’re serious about your business. They know where they can reach you, and it gives them a sense of permanence, that you’re not going anywhere. Unfortunately, bad freelancers can be unreliable and disappear before a project is finished. If you’ve committed to building and maintaining your own site, it demonstrates a level of commitment.
2. You Position Yourself as an Expert
Think of your website as a blank canvas. Having control over all aspects of your site allows you to create a brand image you wish to portray to clients. Of course, the quality of your work and the service you provide will have to back that up eventually, but as they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
3. You Can Showcase Your Portfolio
Your portfolio of past work lends to your credibility as a freelancer. This is where clients can view samples of your work and see who you’ve worked for in the past. If they like what they see, it will increase their confidence and your chances of being hired.
4. You Can Include Client Testimonials
Besides displaying your portfolio, your website is the perfect place to share testimonials from satisfied customers. This builds social proof and boosts your credibility. Testimonials highlight your strengths and give prospective clients an idea of the type of service they can expect when they hire you. The perfect place to add client testimonials is to your website’s Work With Me page.
4. It’s Better than Using a Social Media Page
These days, many freelancers use social media to promote their business, whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. This is a good thing because you can find plenty of clients through social media. For example, Instagram is a natural fit for freelance photographers looking to grow their client base because it’s so easy to share samples of their work.
But social media has its limitations and cannot replace having a website. The biggest problem with social media is that you don’t have control. Let’s say you use a Facebook Page for your freelance business. Facebook could negatively impact your ability to earn an income if they suddenly decide to change how you can interact with visitors to your page, aka prospective clients. Even worse, what if Facebook were to go away? While that might seem unlikely, have you ever heard of MySpace?
I do have a caveat for this one, however.
If you’re just getting your freelance business off the ground, it’s perfectly fine to start on social media before you have a website. Building a website takes time and money, and the worst thing would be you deciding not to start your business because building a website felt like too big a hurdle. Get started on social media and develop your site once you’ve become established.
5. You Can Create Other Income Streams
If you’re spending all of your time freelancing, it can become a grind. It doesn’t matter that you are your own boss and have the flexibility to work when you want to. At the end of the day, you’re still trading time for money. It’s for this reason that many successful freelancers eventually branch out and create additional income streams.
Your website can serve as a business platform to launch a podcast, sell courses, or advertise your coaching services. If you can drive enough traffic to your site, you can also generate income with display ads or affiliate marketing.
6. You Can Build an Email List
Further to my last point, if you want to expand your business to sell products – e-books, courses, or other downloadables – you’re going to need paying customers. The most captive audience you’ll ever have are the people who subscribe to your email list. They are your raving fans, the ones who believe in what you’re doing. Though not all, some of them will pay for your products because they see the value. But you need your own website to build an email list. Once you do, that list is yours, you own it. You don’t own your audience on Facebook, Facebook does. Keep that in mind.
8. You’ll Develop Valuable Skills
When you teach yourself to build and maintain a website, you’re developing skills that will make you a more valuable freelancer. These days, just about everything happens online. The more proficient you are with WordPress, web design, or website maintenance, the better.
Take freelance writing, for example. You may be a great writer, but if you can also handle related tasks, like keyword research, optimizing content for SEO, formatting articles in WordPress, and scheduling social media posts, you become that much more valuable to a prospective client.
9. Your Competitors Already Have Websites
As a freelancer, your competition is other freelancers. And the top freelancers all have websites, in addition to their social media channels. With all else being equal, if you want access to the same clients they do, you need to play in the same sandbox, so to speak.
10. It Will Help Your Business Grow
My first 9 points share something in common: they are all key factors in growing a successful freelance business. Ultimately, that’s the goal for most freelancers, whether you’re doing this as a side hustle or taking it full-time.
Remember, don’t let not having a website stand in the way of you starting your business, as it can feel like a big hurdle. It’s perfectly fine to start by using social media or by creating a profile on a freelancing marketplace, like Upwork or Fiverr.
How to Create a Freelance Website
The good news about starting a website is that a) you don’t need to be an expert in web design, and b) it doesn’t cost much money. In fact, there are plenty of free options available. If your only goal is to establish your own space online, it doesn’t matter what platform you choose.
If, on the other hand, you plan to build additional income streams further down the road, I recommend that you go with a WordPress website using a dedicated web hosting service. I use SiteGround to power most of my websites because their customer service and technical support are second to none. They make it easy for someone with little to no web design experience.
If you’re ready to build your WordPress website, you can use my exclusive link to get started with SiteGround for $9.99/month for the first year. Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with SiteGround which means if you sign up through my link, I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you. For step-by-step instructions on how to set up your site, there are plenty of “How-To” videos on YouTube. Here’s one that walks you through a SiteGround WordPress setup.