7 Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements

What are the essential freelance writer website elements? If you’re a freelance writer, do you even need a website?

Seven essential freelance writer website elements

Essential freelance writer website elements

Around the Internet I see a lot of advice and tips for author websites but I don’t see much out there to help freelance writers.

Why oh why are we left out? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements. Oh, and three things.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

Have you checked out my resource library yet? I have a great training for freelance writers I think will help you sort out what to put on your website!

This exercise is meant to help you break positioning down into four areas: who you best serve (ideal client), what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. Just pop your email into the form below and I’ll send it to you! Once you’re there, navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancing Positioning Worksheet.”

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*back to the training*

First things first, you need it. Every freelance writer needs a website. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

A website is the most critical tool in your freelance writing marketing arsenal. It’s available on-demand, year-round and is the one place you have complete control over what the message is.

You want and need a website. (Which is why we’re going after the freelance writer website elements today.)

Next. There’s a common idea that social networks can replace a website—that’s where your readers and clients are anyway.

But here’s the thing. You don’t own the platform and you can’t control the message. You can add to the conversation, yes. And I think you should be social networking.

However, you don’t want all your eggs in the social media basket. It could go away at any time, and then what?

freelancer website elements

One more thing

Set goals for your website. Yes, I’m talking about S.M.A.R.T. Goals and yes, you need to set some.

  • What’s the primary goal of your website?
  • What do you want people to do when they land on your site?
  • Who do you want to see your writing website?

When you know what your goal is, you will know how to build it to help you achieve your freelance-writing goals.

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Let’s get into it. What are the essential freelance writer website elements?

Less is more here

  1. Clear name. Look at your website. Is your name visible? Anywhere? Make it visible. If you write under a business name you can use that one, but make sure it’s easy to spot and read
  2. About page. This could be called something similar (bio, the company, meet your expert, experience, who I am, my story, profile, ETC.) and it should be on its own web page on your site
  3. Information about your products, services, or portfolio. Or all three. I have lots to say about portfolios (they drive me crazy…they’re out of date so fast in the freelance fast lane!) but I’ll refrain till further notice. Include as many links as you can to recent work and/or merchandise
  4. Social media icons. Do you have a few favourites? (I know I do.) Link to them and give your avid fans a chance to connect with you
  5. Contact page. Yup. You need to let people know how to get in touch with you. How do you want them to contact you? List that information in a clear and visible manner
  6. Email newsletter signup. Even if you don’t have anything to send, start an email list. Do it. You want to keep in touch with people who want to stay in touch with you (by the way, here are some great email marketing tips)
  7. Blog. I mean, I think you should have a blog. But I’ll leave it at the bottom so you know it’s not the first thing you do. Nothing allows your sparkling personality to come through like a blog. I don’t know what it is about the medium, but it WORKS! It serves as your pre-portfolio and helps you improve your writing. Oh, but you do need to keep it updated

Do you have freelance writer website elements to add? I’d love to hear about them!

What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?
What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

Feeling Frustrated About Your IG Reach? Here are 4 Tips for Getting Noticed

Are you trying to get noticed on Instagram? It’s both harder and easier than you think. Here are a few tips for building an audience of engaged followers on Instagram in 2023.

Feeling Frustrated About Your IG Reach Here are 4 Tips for Getting Noticed

Other social media trainings you may also enjoy

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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How to get noticed on Instagram in 2023

Use your bio effectively 

On your main page bio, you have a limited amount of space to let people know who you are and what you’re about. If you’re running a business and using Instagram to capture and nurture leads, skip the vague or cutesy stuff. Get to the point—who you help, how you help, and why it matters.

Extra credit: Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Relevant Hashtags 

Hashtags help categorize your content so they are picked up by the algorithm and placed in relevant feeds. Choosing the right hashtags increases the chances of getting noticed and growing your followers. 

Quick tips for using hashtags on Instagram:

  • Avoid using the same hashtags all the time
  • Choose hashtags that are unique and relevant to the post
  • If you use repetitive hashtags, the algorithm will penalize you
  • If hashtags are not relevant to the content, it also prevents the algorithm from picking them up   

Extra credit: How to Find Hashtags: Tips and Tricks to Gain Followers

Content Timing 

Content timing is worth paying attention to and even if you’ve researched this in the past, it’s a good idea to check into every now again to make sure you’re still posting at the optimal time.

For instance, two years ago the best time generally to post on Instagram was 11 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. However, while these times are still pretty good, now you’ll be better off posting earlier, such as 5 a.m. on weekdays. That said, which posting times work best depends on the type of content you post and when you normally get the most engagement. So take this tip with a grain of salt.

Instagram Shoutouts 

An Instagram shoutout is the best kind of advertising you can get on the platform. It’s (usually) free and acts like word-of-mouth referrals.

Speaking of paid shoutouts, here’s how it works. If you’re trying to gain more organic followers and want to pay for Instagram shoutouts, find a company that works with influencers in your niche and see if that can help you gain traction.

If you’re ready to invest in your social media marketing but you don’t want to do influencer marketing, then you may be ready for paid advertising. This works through your business account in Meta and is a whole other subject I can’t cover properly in this post.

Extra credit: How to Find a Digital Agency

Are you trying to get noticed on Instagram? It's both harder and easier than you think. Here are a few tips for building an audience of engaged followers on Instagram in 2023.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Find Great Freelance Writing Jobs Entry Level Ideas to Get Your Career Started

When you’re just getting started, freelance writing jobs entry level positions seem far and few between. Or impossible to find. And perhaps even like an enigma or puzzle that only a few people can unravel.

But there is hope! You can become a part of this mysterious club and get started freelance writing! You really can!

Find Great Freelance Writing Jobs Entry Level Ideas to Get Your Career Started. Subhead, how to become a freelance writer (the smart way, the way you make actual money that you can sustain).

Here’s my three-step formula for finding writing work at the beginning

I’ll outline my recommendations here but keep reading as I’ll go further in-depth on each of these points, plus link to other resources you can use for deeper study.

  1. First, use job boards to sleuth out good leads (with a few caveats)
  2. Second, network with key influencers and freelancers to gain visibility in your niche (without being desperate)
  3. Third, create and optimize your online personas. This includes your website, your social media profiles and your portfolio.
My top three ways for finding freelance writing work when you're just getting started.

First, use job boards to sleuth out good leads (with a few caveats).

Second, network with key influencers and freelancers to gain visibility in your niche (without being desperate).

Third, create and optimize your online personas. This includes your website, your social media profiles and your portfolio.

Alright, let’s look deeper at the top three ways I found work as a freelance writer when I first got started.

Step 1: Use job boards to sleuth out good leads (with a few caveats)

When I first decided I wanted to be a freelance writer I had no idea what to do next. So I browsed listings on Craigslist. I Googled “how to become a freelance writer,” and “freelance writing jobs entry level.”

And because I had no inkling of what a good rate was (and no ability for discernment for red-flag clients), I just responded to whatever I found that seemed interesting.

Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I still think freelance writing job boards are a good place to start when you don’t have writing work.

However, you have to devise a system for filtering through the gigs and separating good from bad.

I’ve written more extensively on the topic of how to find great freelance writing work so I’ll send you there if you want to learn more about job boards, which ones I recommend and what type of red flags to watch for.

The good thing about job boards is it helps you connect with people or companies who are actually looking for writers. It’s super helpful when you don’t know where to start.

Another good thing about job boards is it teaches you about the types of writing people are looking for or think they need.

Many writers start out thinking they’ll be successful if they write about anything for anyone. And that certainly may help to get you started.

However. The truth is, the generalist approach isn’t sustainable. You’ll end up having to learn new styles of writing on new topics for every project.

While it’s fun and interesting at first, you’ll end up spending so much time learning and re-learning your hourly rate will be decimated and you’ll burn yourself out.

Sorry if that’s an inconvenient truth. Or is the saying unpopular opinion?

Unpopular opinion: generalist freelance writers can't scale their business. Read more in my article on freelance writing jobs entry level.

You may disagree (and, in fact, I hear from many writers that this is their approach) but the freelance writers I know who are making a living from their craft aren’t doing this.

They specialize. They develop a niche and expertise. And they market themselves with confidence.

All this to say, job boards are a good place to find work if you know what to look for. Don’t discount them but also don’t rely solely on them.

Why? Because you’ll usually find better clients and better pay from using more eloquent prospecting methods.

Extra credit: Creative Ways to Make Money from Freelance Writing

By the way, I curate a job bank for the Canadian Freelance Guild and my goal is help freelancers find great gigs faster by doing the filtering for them.

Step 2: Network with key influencers and freelancers to gain visibility in your niche (without being desperate)

If you know me at all, online or offline, you’ll have heard me ramble about how important networking is. In my opinion, networking with freelancers is the best and fastest way to grow and scale your writing business.

But how do you do this without seeming desperate? And how do you network in an equitable way where you’re not only taking but you’re also giving to the community? Because being a literary citizen is important.

Here are my quick tips for networking the right way

First, approach networking with an abundance mindset. In every interaction ask yourself how you can contribute to the greater community.

What this means is you don’t approach interactions looking only for what you can get from the relationships.

Which brings me to my next point.

Second, think of networking as relationship building. As in, building relationships with potential clients, people in your industry and with other freelancers.

Be a kind. Be helpful. Find ways you can be a friend and support, regardless of whether or not it gets you immediate work.

I know this seems counter-intuitive but it honestly works. It’s genuine and it’s long term.

Also, it is completely opposite of the bro-marketing and scammy sales approach that so many people use. That approach is honestly gross. Please don’t take that approach.

Third, be helpful. When you’re new to the industry and just meeting people, watch for ways you can help other people.

Give before you take. Get to know people slowly and be genuine. If you can help someone with their particular pain point, then do.

Be generous with your help! They’ll remember this and may help you out down the road.

But remember, you’re not being helpful so you can get something from the arrangement. You’re being helpful to be kind. To get to know others in your industry. And to become visible.

Extra credit: Want to up-level your freelance writing game? Focus on building relationships with “connectors”

Think of it this way, if an opportunity came up that you couldn’t take, who would you rather pass it on to: a friend who you trust and you find genuine and honest or a colleague who acts from motives of selfish ambition?

It seems obvious.

Be a helper and it will come back to you.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Step 3: create and optimize your online personas. This includes your website, your social media profiles and your portfolio.

Before I go too far hear this: you don’t need to be online to be a successful freelance writer.

However, branding yourself as a freelance writer and having that brand extend to all of your online assets certainly elevates you and your business.

So it’s a next level thing. You can get started without it, but you’ll be able to up-level faster with it.

Make sense?

Think of your online presence as one big business card. You don’t know where people will stumble across you but wherever it is, you want to present a professional image.

Do an audit of your online assets and access how you show up online to someone who doesn’t know you at all.

Would what you present online convince them that they should hire you and trust you with their business?

If so, good job! Keep tweaking and optimizing and showing up consistently.

If not, don’t despair. This is fixable. But you should get fixing it.

Extra credit: Five Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles

Many new freelance writers feel like they should start a blog or have a porfolio site in order to showcase their skills. And sure, those things are great and helpful.

But you have to keep them focused and consistent. So only invest in a blog or portfolio if you’re able to keep it up-to-date.

A simple writing website may be a more sustainable investment at the outset. Here are a few tips for what to include on your writing business website.

Find great freelance writing jobs entry level ideas to get your career started

When you’re just getting started as a freelance writer STARTING is the biggest part. Don’t worry about your logo or your website or your Instagram handle.

Seriously. Those are distractions. Just get started.

From my years of experience of being a freelance writer for hire, I’ve learned which activities lead to paying work and which ones are busywork.

But with so many people making noise about how you “need” to do this or that, it can feel like you do need to engage in all of these activities.

Apply critical thought every time you’re told you should try this or that to find new clients. It doesn’t hurt to try, but keep track of what works for you and your business and what doesn’t.

Pay attention to what actually leads to paying gigs. Keep doing those. Let the other ones go.

When you're just getting started, freelance writing jobs entry level positions seem far and few between. Or impossible to find. And perhaps even like an enigma or puzzle that only a few people can unravel. But there is hope! You can become a part of this mysterious club and get started freelance writing! You really can!

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

5 Simple Tips: How to Improve SEO for Your Blog or Website

I treat my website as the central hub of my digital marketing strategy. This includes my static pages and my blog articles.

In the before-times, people may have treated blogs as non-essential content but that’s definitely not the case now. These are are important pages for SEO, and should be treated as such!

5 Simple Tips: How to Improve SEO for Your Blog or Website

How to improve SEO for your blog or website

This article focuses on ways you can improve SEO for your existing blog, but you can take these tips and apply them to a new blog or even your website pages and benefit from the exercise!

Here are a few other places where I’ve talked about SEO and keyword research.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Define and understand your target audience

The more specific you can be, the better. Writing to a target audience on your blog is as important on SEO as knowing who your ideal reader is for your book or who your ideal client is in your business.

You may assume you know your audience but take the time to look at your web analytics and even talk to your readers if you can. Pay attention to what they find interesting and what topics seem to resonate with them. What makes them happy? What upsets them? How can you help them reach their goals through your knowledge and services?

Do keyword research

The most sophisticated SEO strategies cannot produce effective results if they are not based on the right keywords. These are important phrases or words that your target audience is searching for online.

When doing research, look for keywords that have a high volume of searches but aren’t too competitive. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about then check out this article on how to find keywords for SEO).

If you want to take your keyword strategy up a notch, then take the keywords you find and do your own Internet search on them. Take a look through the top organic results and pay attention to the content in these articles.

  • Do the search results match how you would use the keyword or does it show a completely different type of article? (If the results don’t match how you are using the keyword, then look for a different keyword with the search results you would expect)
  • Is the information in these articles up-to-date? (If not, then this is an opportunity for you to provide new information that is more relevant)
  • Is there anything missing? (Read through the top results and ask yourself what isn’t covered in these articles. This is a great starting point for your articles on this same keyword)

Polish meta description and alt text

When it comes to SEO, the words in the article are only one piece of the puzzle. You also want to pay attention to your title, Meta Description and alt text.

Title

Your article title, also called a headline, is an important SEO tool. This is coded as an H1 title, which in the Internet world means it’s the main explainer for what your article is about. This will perform best if it is a mix of common, uncommon, emotional and power words. Simple, but not easy! Tools like the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer can be a big help when coming up with your article title.

Meta Description

A meta description is a short snippet that summarizes the article or page content. It’s around 160 characters long and is pulled into search engine results and displayed under the title. This helps users see if the article will answer their query so the better your meta description, the better your click-through rates will be. By the way, if you don’t set a meta description Google will choose one for you.

Alt Text

Alternate text is typically used for images and is also importants for SEO. At this point, search engine algorithms cannot decode the content of the image so it’s a good idea (and a best practice) to tell the search engine what the image is about. Alt text is also an accessibility aid for tools such as screen readers, which read web pages aloud for sight-impaired visitors. Keep both humans and search engines in mind when you add your alt text.

Choose content creators wisely

If you don’t have the interest or skillset to do SEO yourself, then make sure to hire the right content creator for the job! Look for copywriters or content writers who understand writing for people and search engines.

Stay up-to-date with SEO

Algorhythms are always changing, but it’s not as scary as it seems unless you’re doing sketchy black-hat SEO, which we’re not covering in this article. Focus on creating useful content that answers the questions your target audience is asking first, then optimizing it for search engines. As best pratices change you’ll likely need to tweak your SEO strategy so invest in training tools such as LinkedIn Learning so you’re in the loop and can keep up with the industry.

Don’t lose the forest for the trees

As important as individual posts are, they are only one tree in the forest that is your website. Every article is part of a larger SEO story, which paints a picture for search engines what your business or blog is about. Stay focused on who you’re writing for and what you write about so things make sense (to humans and robots!) one by one and altogether. Inter-linking posts to one another helps, and staying on top of and discussing the Link Spam Update with your team is always a good idea.

Create a clear structure with pillar and topic clusters

HubSpot taught me about the pillar-cluster model and honestly, it has changed the way I plan and write online.

Here’s the short version: your main topics or areas of focus are PILLARS, or pillar content. These are the keywords you want your site to be known for. Then, you support these main keywords with CLUSTER content, which are additional keywords or phrases that support the main keyword but are longer, less competitive, a bit more niche, etc. Over time, the cluster content helps inform search engines about your pillar content and they all work together to boost your ranking for those main keywords.

This can be confusing to keep track of when you first into it but it is worth it for SEO. An absolute game changer.

I treat my website as the central hub of my digital marketing strategy. This includes my static pages and my blog articles.

In the before-times, people may have treated blogs as non-essential content but that's definitely not the case now. These are are important pages for SEO, and should be treated as such!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you’re wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here’s the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing. I’ve laid out three tips for marketing yourself in a simple way as a freelance writer.

Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

How to start marketing yourself: Build relationships and tell stories

The good news is, marketing isn’t as scary as you think it is.

Serious!

I know we get all spinny about the concept of pitching ourselves but at its core, marketing is building relationships and telling stories.

Good marketing is crafting those stories for a specific person, a person who wants exactly what you’re offering.

Afraid of Marketing? Fearful of promoting yourself? The best way I know how to overcome the fear of marketing yourself is to focus on helping people and to weave in stories.

Your marketing efforts are most effective when you have a consistent strategy targeted at your ideal clients, readers or customers. When these are aligned you won’t feel like you’re marketing, just connecting with likeminded souls.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Three tips for overcoming your fear of marketing

There are many reasons people feel afraid of promoting themselves or their freelance business and some of them are justified. Will you be rejected?

Very probably.

It’s part of the game. Will people criticise you? Yeah, they will. Will you fail? Maybe, yes. These things all could and probably will happen. But you don’t have to let it hold you back.

Tip 1: In order to be an effective marketer you need to identify your fears and move past imposter syndrome.

Much of our fear is rooted in our mindset and worst-case scenarios.

To thrive as a freelance writer (or any kind of freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner), it’s important to accept our strengths and weaknesses, understand who we serve and what we bring to the table and push forward with confidence—even if we don’t have all the answers.

Tip 2: Worried you’ll be seen as a spammer? Then don’t be a spammer.

Be genuine, offer real value, build relationships and be a human. If you’re only connecting with people in order to ask for or get something from them then you’re doing it wrong.

The key here? Make real connections but don’t avoid promoting yourself when the timing is right. Find a tactful way to weave it into your interactions.

Free fillable worksheet for download: discover your ideal reader

Did you know figuring out your ideal client is a lot like your ideal reader?

I’ve developed a workseet to help you walk through this discovery process. Just pop your email address into the form below, confirm your email subscription and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library.

Once you’re in look for “Discover Your Ideal Reader Worksheet” in the writing section.

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Bonus: Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing

My final tip for overcoming your fear of marketing and for marketing yourself:

Tip 3: Focus on the benefits working with you brings to your clients.

Take a little time to figure out why your ideal customers or clients would want to do business with you. What do you bring to the table? If you can get clear on this, you’ll have a much easier time prospecting and reaching out to clients.

Articulate the problem you’re ideal clients have, how you can help them and what the benefits of working with you are.

And remember, you don’t need to know everything about your topic or be the world’s leading expert in your niche. You just need to be a couple steps ahead of your clients.

An example from my life to help you learn how to market yourself

Most of my professional marketing experience comes from the non-profit world where I hear a lot about how people are afraid to ask for money.

In a lot of ways fundraising parallels marketing and even sales. Reaching out and asking for something from someone who might say no (or, worse yet, will be offended at your asking!) is scary.

But here’s the thing, when you have a wonderful service or product or cause you have a duty to let people know about it. If it will benefit them in any way, they have a right to know.

Sure, they may turn down your request, that’s their decision to make. Your job as the marketer (or fundraiser, or sales person) is to let them know about it. That’s all.

If you can’t stand behind the product, service or organization you’re pitching then this is a different problem, one I’m not dealing with today.

But if you do believe in what you’re selling then it’s time to move past your fear of marketing and jump ahead in your business.

Need a bit more? Rachel wrote a great article on this topic I think you’ll love.

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you're wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here's the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you're wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here's the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.