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Articles on Freelance Writing Success
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by Nick Usborne
One thing that constantly amazes me is the poor quality of many freelancers’ websites.
It makes no sense.
The biggest challenge most freelancers face is getting new clients. Time spent on marketing and lead acquisition is time we all have to spend, but it is also unbillable time.
This means whatever we do to attract new leads and convert them into paying clients has to be done well.
And your website is pivotal to this process. Whether someone first hears about you and your services through a referral, or after reading an article or comment on someone else’s site, or via the search engines...their next step is to click through to your website.
And that moment two things happen. The first takes place within a fraction of a second. The second thing takes place within about 5 seconds.
Get the first fraction of a second right.
Your prospective client is poised to click a link to your site, or has typed in your url and is about to hit the enter button.
Pause for a moment, and consider some of the thoughts going through that person’s mind, during the few seconds before they first arrive at your home page.
“I have a big writing project coming up and don’t have the resources to handle it internally. I need a quality freelancer I can trust.”
“Nice article. Maybe this person is the freelancer I have been looking for.”
“I need a freelancer who knows our business.”
“I need a freelancer who is really good.”
“I need a freelancer I can sell to my boss.”
Then they click that button.
And most of their questions will be answered within the first fraction of a second. That’s the time it takes to get a first impression. It isn’t enough time to read anything or think about anything, but it is enough time to glance at your site and form an impression, favorable or otherwise.
Fair? No. But nor is it fair that books are judged by their covers. But they are.
This means your site has to be totally professional in its appearance. It has to look sharp.
If it doesn’t, here is what is going to go through your prospect’s mind.
“If he or she can’t even be bothered to create a professional site for their own business, why on earth would I trust them to work on mine?”
So why do so many freelancers have unprofessional websites that look as if they were put together using a free template provided by their hosting company? Beats me.
If you want to survive that first moment, and make a good impression, you have to invest in creating a website that looks good.
This applies not only to established freelancers, but also to those who are just starting out.
If you are just starting out, don’t look like you’re just starting out. Instead, look like you are a seasoned professional.
Step two...get the first 5 seconds right.
Your site looks sharp, and you have made a good impression.
What happens now is that your prospect will make a preliminary judgement as to whether you are the right choice for the project he or she needs done.
With five seconds in hand, you can’t rely on your body text. You are going to have to get the job done with your tagline, headline, subheads and links.
Remember, on home pages people scan before they read any blocks of body text.
This means your tagline, headline and subheads have to fulfil a couple of important tasks. (The headline is the most important of these.)
1. They have to communicate your value proposition. In other words, they have to separate you from all the freelancers who say the equivalent of, “Hi, I’m a freelancer. Please give me some work.”
You have to give your prospects a reason to be impressed and reassured. There has to be value there, and a promise. You have to communicate a level of confidence and authority they can trust.
2. You have to let your prospect know what your specialty is. Maybe you serve a particular industry niche, like the hospitality industry, for example. Or perhaps you specialize in a particular form of writing....like email, or sales pages, or white papers etc.
If you are a total generalist, and try to give the impression you can take on any kind of writing task, for any industry, you run the risk of being perceived as a generalist – a Jack of all trades, and a master of none.
If you have a specialty, let the reader know within the first five seconds.
Do that, and your prospects can immediately see you are a good match for their needs, and are likely to invest more time in exploring your site and then, hopefully, reaching out to you.
Summing it up...
If you want to be successful as a freelancer, you have to make a good first impression, and have to communicate your skills and your value quickly and clearly.
And that means investing some time and money in your website.
It doesn’t matter how good you are as a writer or copywriter, if your site isn’t professional, your prospects won’t give you work anyway.
Note: If you think you could use some help in launching or re-launching your freelance business, be sure to check out my coaching service for freelancers.
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