We blog, tweet and keep in touch with friends on Facebook, but is it enough? Not if you want to appear professional and gain more freelance work.
Before you can snag a great assignment, you need a clean, organized way to impress an editor, who most likely is in a big hurry.
Editors work with dozens of people on a daily basis. When they are ready to hand out an assignment, they often view writers websites to see work samples. They do not want to view your Facebook page, check your status, look at baby pictures, or read a stream of tweets about what your friends are doing.
A good portfolio means business
Editors look for a freelancer with a professional portfolio, giving them the confidence to hire you to write for them. They want to know you’re serious about work, not about spending time the beach. They want to see samples of recent work, so they know they can count on you.
At a minimum a writer’s or artist’s portfolio should include:
- Recent work
- How to get in touch
What about a blog?
A blog is a great tool for a free website equivalent. Most people blog at blogger.com or worpress.com, both of which are free. You can choose a style that replicates a website with pages and tabs. However most blogs intentionally list new content in chronological order with the newest posts at the top. That can be disorienting to a visitor expecting to easily find your credentials, work samples, etc. A blog, separate from the one you use socially, can be styled to remain static, rather that showing posts and updates. Search a few templates at blogger or wordpress and you’ll find some are suitable to replace a website.
Here is a brief masthead sample, using the ‘mimbo pro’ design at wordpress.com. Looks just like a website, doesn’t it?
If a blog template won’t do, then expect to pay $200-300 if you can’t do a site on your own. Most web designers will take on a small client for a five-page site in that price range.
Some freelance organizations offer free or low-cost member sites as part of their benefits. If you belong to a national author/writer group, such as authorsguild.org, check their member benefit list.
Free web templates from sites like 1&1.com, webs.com, and wix.com.
Social media is fine for keeping in touch with colleagues and friends, but your website is the best chance you have to make a good impression.
Give yourself a cohesive predictable place to display your credentials, show clips of recent work, state your preference for types of media you work in, and make it easy for an editor to hire you for your next assignment.
I maintain one site for my tech business, one for assistance with self-publishing, and one specifically for my freelance work. It shows editors exactly why they might want to hire me for a specific assignment, and includes a brief tagline that assures them I’m reliable. Curious, visit gallagherink.com and then comment here to share your own writer’s website.
A clean, informative website makes it easy for editors to turn to you again and again. It showcases your work to get your more business, and invites referrals when an editor wants to pass your information on to a colleague.