Do you have your own website as a freelancer? Have you ever thought about how to optimize this website? Then this article can help you. For many years I have been supporting companies with the implementation of websites. This includes large companies such as 1&1 Internet SE. To improve the contract conclusion rate I created many concepts there and evaluated them with the help of variant test and eye-tracking analyses. With the help of this very meaningful data I was able to gain many important insights. These insights have helped me to develop significantly better websites. I am convinced that the following tips can also contribute to the success of your freelancer website. Let’s get started:
1. Responsive design is mandatory for the freelancer website!
Responsive design means that your website dynamically adapts to the visitor’s device. For example, the elements of a page are arranged differently on a mobile phone than on a desktop PC. Because the number of visits to websites via mobile phone is increasing rapidly, it is important that your site is attractive to this group of visitors. Most themes for content management systems already support a responsive design presentation. If you are creating a page in HTML format, Bootstrap offers great possibilities to create a website in a responsive design. Bootstrap is free of charge.
2. Reduce loading times
High bounce rates are often the result of long loading times. Of course it is easier and more convenient to embed an existing image directly into the website instead of compressing it beforehand. But because the file size of a non-compressed image is many times larger, the website needs much more time to load. Make sure that the file size of the images remains small. The compression of the pictures works with almost every image editing software. Mac users can also use the “Preview” program for this purpose. For WordPress there are plugins that automatically compress the picture during upload. I use http://cheetaho.com for this. The free basic package is usually sufficient for a classic freelancer website.
3. Place call-to-action elements
What purpose do you pursue with your website? Do you want to receive orders, are you looking for cooperation partners, do you want to sell a product or do you want to build a mailing list by having visitors subscribe to a newsletter? Certainly you have designed your website with a very specific purpose. Use call-to-action elements to ask visitors to perform an action that matches your goal. A call-to-action element could be a well-placed button with a crisp text. Avoid placing several different action prompts on one page.
You might know it when YouTuber say at the end of a video: “Give me a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel and write in the comments”. At the end of such a request, we usually do nothing at all. However, if the YouTuber concentrates on the request for a certain action, the chance that the user will follow this request is much higher.
4. Arouse interest
Already in the upper part of your website the visitor must be clear what this is all about. These are seconds in which the user decides whether to continue to look at your website or to continue surfing somewhere else. The first impression counts. Formulate your services as a freelancer clearly and concisely. Place this text in the upper, directly visible area of your website. Give the visitor the feeling that he is right for you. Confronting the visitor with a question he is likely to ask is a popular way to pick up the visitor. You can find a practical example of this technique in the first few sentences of this article.
5. Insert trust elements
Trust is one of the most important currencies on the Internet (as in real life). Besides a serious appearance of your site, you can strengthen this trust with credible customer opinions, awards or seals of approval. It is not without reason that many online shops invest a lot of money in a seal of approval (e.g. Trusted Shops), because many online merchants are aware of the importance of trust when selling. It makes strategic sense to place such trust elements in places where the visitor is supposed to click on them to perform the action you want him to take.
6. Do search engine marketing
There are many ways to do successful search engine marketing. You can use online ads to point out your offer or your website or you can optimize your site so that it appears more often in the search results of a search engine. While the first variant quickly leads to new page visitors, the second variant requires much more patience. However, the click on a search engine entry is free of charge for you, while every click on an advertisement costs you money. If you run a website that contains a lot of text, such as a blog, good search engine optimization can bring you a lot of new visitors. If your website consists mainly of images (e.g. a portfolio of a designer), you will not be able to achieve much success with search engine optimization. Here you now have two options. Either you invest in online ads or you make sure that your website is well linked to popular sites.
An example of how this can work is this blog. Although this blog is actually only designed to share my experiences with other freelancers, this blog project has brought me many new collaborations and assignments. Because of the many texts this blog is very easy to find in search engines. As a positive side effect, my freelancer website (where search engine optimization is hard to achieve) has many more visitors. The effort is worth it. After all, you have created your freelancer website to present your services to as many people of your target group as possible.
7. Use web analysis tools
Web analytics tools help you see how well your website is performing and what content is really relevant to visitors. For example, you can see which links in your site’s main menu are clicked most often and then highlight that content more clearly in the future and remove other less popular content. In this way, you can adapt your website step by step to the needs of your target group. A good website should always take the wishes of the users into account. Without the help of such analysis tools, you will not gain sufficient insight into the perspective of your site visitors. Besides the widely used tool Google Analytics, there are also tools that are already integrated in Jetpack for WordPress.
8. A description about you
For freelancers, personal contact is an essential component in the implementation of a contract. Of course, the potential customer wants to know who he is actually working with. Therefore it is worthwhile to set up an informative “About Me” page where the potential customer can get to know you a little better before the first contact. At this point I find the counters, which have become fashionable, particularly embarrassing. They count up how many cups of coffee have already been consumed this year or how often the agency dog goes for a walk. Try to fill the “About me” text with really relevant information for your target group. It doesn’t have to be boring and the text can be made more emotional with a little story. Nonsense has no place here from my point of view, if you want to make business with your own site.
The experiences from my previous web projects have shown me that the implementation of the eight must-haves mentioned above really achieved measurable success for the designed websites. I hope that these tips can help you to optimize your freelancer website. From your point of view, have I forgotten another important musthave? Then write it in the comments!