As a freelance creator, you might be wondering whether to make the leap from social media to your own domain. But, are freelancer websites actually needed?
Whether you’re a freelance writer, videographer, session musician, or photographer, you’ll rely heavily on the internet for finding work. Sites like LinkedIn or UpWork or good for networking and bidding for work, but they aren’t the complete package. Many people utilise social media for their business. For example, Instagram is a powerful content marketing tool for businesses small and large.
With all these options readily and freely available, is a dedicated freelancer website as vital as people make out? There’s plenty of argument for and against having your own website. We’re going to weigh up some of the pros and cons of creating your own website as a creative freelancer, to hopefully help make your decision easier.
You’ll come across a lot of articles that are firmly for or against the need for freelancer websites. We understand that situations differ, so we’re going to offer up both sides of the debate. Here are our reasons for getting your own website!
When you’re searching a new restaurant or hair salon, you head straight to Google, right? Seeing that somewhere has its own website gives us instant reassurance that it is a professional and established outfit. This in turn gives us confidence before we’ve even interacted with the company.
Having your own website will make you appear reliable and trustworthy, which will encourage potential clients to get in touch with you for work.
Display a Portfolio
Social media platforms like Instagram offer the ability to show off your portfolio to a degree, but this largely depends on the type of work you do. If your area is photography or video, you can show off previous work on the grid with ease. However, if your expertise is less visually focussed, it can be tricky. You also can’t share clickable links in Instagram bios.
With your own website, you are able to demonstrate your work with previous customers in whichever manner you choose. You can also link directly to anywhere else online that your work appears, making it incredibly easy for your audience to learn more about you.
A website, whether built from scratch or created using a website builder like WordPress or Wix, allows you to personalise your online presence. Whilst building your website can be challenging, there are plenty of WordPress tutorials and online resources available to make it simpler.
Once you feel comfortable navigating a website builder, you can really personalise your site. This helps your clients to identify your personal brand more quickly, and figure out whether you’d be a good fit for them to work with.
Display Services & Prices
You may have had loads of potential clients view your social media profiles, and they might’ve liked what they saw. But, without being able to clearly view what you offer, and how much for, they may have abandoned their enquiry altogether.
Your own website allows you to explicitly explain what it is you do, and why people should want to work with you. With freelancer websites, you can explain any intricacies of your work, as well as offer custom packages. Offering people a breakdown of your fees, or even just the invitation for them to enquire about costs, eliminates one more barrier on their customer journey.
Get In Touch
Sure, with LinkedIn or Instagram, people can send you direct messages. However, this can turn into a convoluted process, with lots of back and forth and waiting between messages.
Having a dedicated website affords you the opportunity to give clients all the information they need before they get in touch. Setting up a contact page on your site with a contact form to fill in means you can get all the details you require from your clients, without the need for ongoing messaging or hanging around. It also acts as an effective call to action, which could prompt a conversion in someone from lead to customer.
Nothing encourages someone to part with their hard-earned cash more than reviews from previous customers. If you’re looking for a new spot to get a takeaway from, you always scope out the reviews to check what you’re in for. Great reviews go a heck of a long way.
Owning your own website means you can proudly display gleaming testimonials from people you’ve worked with in the past. These can include anything from reviews from Fiverr or Upwork, to positive comments on social media.
It might be sounding a lot like freelancer websites are a great idea, and you definitely should get one. But, we’re all about neutrality. Here are some points to consider that might mean having your own website isn’t the right move for you.
As a freelancer, you’ve likely got a lot on your plate as it is. Adding a website to maintain into the mix could be detrimental to the actual work you’re offering to people.
Simply setting a website and launching it off into the ether isn’t going to get you clients. You’ll need to do plenty of research into SEO, and possibly start a regular blog in order to increase traffic to your site. Whilst manageable in some cases, this is still something that takes a significant amount of time out of your day if you’re already up against it.
Lots of freelancers will create a website with good intentions. It seems like a productive and positive business move, however it can easily become a form of procrastination. Instead of focussing on current projects or reaching out to new audiences, time can be dedicated to tinkering with your new website.
Changing the theme or design sounds like a clever branding update, but it won’t change anything if you aren’t still putting all the other work in.
What’s Your Niche?
Freelancer websites are perfect for people who know exactly what their niche is and who their audience is. If you’re fairly new to your freelancing journey, you may not know how to set your website up to grab the attention of the right people.
At the beginning, an effective way of figuring out your niche is by taking a variety of work. Deciding what you like and don’t like helps you to narrow things down. You’ll miss out on bagging that wider audience if you’re just using a website that is optimised more specifically – and maybe not even to the right customers.
Social media is, largely, free. Anyone can set up an account on Instagram, and anyone can switch a personal account to a business one. You can pay to boost posts, and there is paid advertising available on platforms like Facebook. However, these costs are minimal compared to some premium plans on website building sites.
If you want to own your own domain (which is recommended if you’re going for a professional look) this can add to the expenses. Whilst this can be a fantastic investment, if you’re new to freelancing, you may not have the cash available to lay out for a new site.
We hope that these points help you to figure out whether having your own freelancer website is the right move for you at this time. Whilst we’re talking about time – this is probably the biggest factor in your decision.
Ultimately, freelancer websites are the way to go if you’re looking to build your client base, grow your business, and become the professional creative you always dreamed of. But, a little more time spent on social media platforms and networking sites is beneficial. It allows you to solidify what kind of freelancer you are, and also gives you more content to feature on your website eventually.
In business and creativity, a “one size fits all” approach never truly works. Sometimes, getting your own website right at the start of your journey can help motivate you, and give you a solid foundation to build your business from. You might find you never really feel the need for a website of your own, and that’s fine too!