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Chapter
4

Review your current website and check out some inspiration from other consultants

In this step, we’ll dive deeper into what makes an effective website. If you already have a website, you’ll review it, and identify elements that are driving you towards your goals and those that aren’t. Lastly, you’ll take a look at other freelancers’ websites for inspiration and learn what makes their sites stand out and see if you can identify their goals.

If you already have a website

This section reviews your website if you already have one. If not, feel free to skip it, and don’t worry. You don’t need to have a website to build a great new one.

First, let’s get in the right mindset. Pretend you’re looking at your website for the first time. Some questions to keep in mind are: What immediately catches your eye? What do you glance over? Is it clear right away what services you offer?

Now pull up your business goals. For each goal, use the workbook to answer these questions: 

  • Is my website driving me toward my goal? 

  • What’s working in progressing toward the goal? What’s not working?

Now we’re going to look at other websites and after you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll want to look at a few of your peers’ and your competitors’ websites. You’ll answer these two questions in the workbook. 

  • Does this website drive me toward my goals?

  • Does this website drive toward a different goal than we outlined in the last step?

Answering these questions will help make you more aware of how you can use your website to achieve your goals. This exercise also helps you investigate other freelancers’ goals and how they use their websites to achieve them.

Now, we’ll take a look at two freelancers with strong websites and examine what makes them stand out.

How other freelancers leverage their websites

Case Study 1: Wudan Yan

Let’s look at freelance journalist Wudan Yan’s website. Her goal is to sell her various journalism services to potential clients. 

What does Yan do well? 

  • Yan’s website strikes a balance between a satisfying design and enough words without overwhelming the visitor.

  • It’s easy to find what services Yan offers by visiting her website tabs — Writing, Podcast Fact-checking, Book Fact-checking, Coaching, and Speaking.

  • Yan’s ‘About’ page is personable and well-written, while also being professional. As an extra, she lists her professional affiliations at the end of her bio, which only adds to her credibility. 

  • Yan’s ‘Writing’ tab doesn’t overload visitors with all the articles she’s ever written. Rather, she pairs images with the article’s headline, subheadline, and each media outlet the story was published in. The result is a clean look that encourages visitors to click on the images and check out her writing.

  • Yan’s ‘Contact’ form is simple, yet detailed. She makes it clear what services she is and isn’t available for (both with the information at the top of the form and with the “What is this about?” drop-down menu). Yan also provides a helpful “How urgent is this?” drop-down menu so visitors can specify when Yan should answer their message.

  • Yan provides testimonials on her ‘Coaching’ page. Testimonials can level up your business because they can give potential clients confidence that you can deliver high-quality work.

Yan’s website clearly lays out her services in a way that communicates her experience and expertise, all wrapped up in a visually appealing site.

Case Study 2: Alice Lemée

Alice Lemée describes herself on her website as a creator, freelance content writer, and copywriter. Her goal is to sell her services and make it easy for clients to get in touch. 

What does Lemée do well? 

As soon as you land on Lemée’s website, you’re greeted with an intro that succinctly captures what Lemée does, along with a button that helps visitors get in touch and a friendly photo of Lemée.

  • As you scroll past Lemée’s intro, Lemée puts herself in her clients’ shoes by describing scenarios where her writing expertise can come in handy. The writing reads as if Lemée is speaking personally to each person on her website. 

A personal touch, and relatable language, can encourage visitors to stay longer on your website simply because you’re being human, rather than spewing corporate and unfamiliar language at them. 

  • Lemée spells out the value she provides with tangible results she’s gotten for her clients. 

If you’re a beginner freelancer, it can be hard or impossible to showcase results but it's good to keep in mind to add to your website later. 

(You also probably noticed that Lemée listed publications her writing has been in. This helps add credibility and authority to her work. Anywhere you can sprinkle in credibility and authority on your website, do it!)

  • Lemée outlines her process when working with clients. This is something not many freelancers put on their websites, but it’s so helpful. If a client is exploring working with you, they’ll likely ask you about your process during a discovery call. So this gets ahead of figuring out if you and the client are a good fit.

  • Throughout Lemée’s landing page, she provides a link to her contact form. In fact, the contact button appears eight times alone just on her landing page! While that may seem like a lot, it isn’t, because it’s strategically placed each time she presents new information. Here, she easily accomplishes her goal of making it almost effortless for clients to get in touch.

  • Testimonials! Like Yan, Lemée knows the power of a good testimonial. She describes hers as “Kind Words From Past Clients” which speaks to Lemée’s personality. Wherever you can add your own voice to your website, take the opportunity so clients can get a taste of what you’re like.

Lemée’s website is inviting, professional, fun to scroll through, and full of well-written information that demonstrates her value as a writer. This brings up an important point  — don’t forget that your website is a sample of your writing too. Don’t risk turning away potential clients with shoddily written copy, make your words shine!

Review another freelancer and see if you can identify what they’re doing well

Pick one freelancer you look up to or follow on social media. Head over to their website and see if you can identify their goal(s). Think about:

  • What is their goal?

  • How is the website progressing their goal?

  • Is there anything you think they could be doing better?

Before we wrap up, a quick tip on design: Designing your website can be like adding salt to a dish; too much and the meal is ruined. It’s better to add just a little, rather than risk having to throw away the meal altogether. 

It’s the same with images and photos on your website. You want enough that you have a site that’s enjoyable to navigate but, not too much, that it’s cluttered and hard to follow. When in doubt, less is more. If you’re having trouble figuring out that balance, B12 can help because the platform is an expert at creating clean and organized websites.

Recap 

  • Thought critically about your website and whether it’s helping to accomplish your business goals.

  • Analyzed other freelancers’ websites and drew inspiration from their approaches.

  • Learned what makes a strong website. 

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