As a new freelancer, it can get quite confusing trying to get the most of your career. As you search for jobs, it can get quite frustrating and you will probably contemplate building a website to achieve this.
Having been in the freelance business for some time now, there's a fair share of advice you'll get from more experienced freelancers, and most blog posts will feed you endless information on how to become a freelance writer.
As some gospel of some sort, having your own website is what seems to be popularly preached, and this has been the same basic advice over the years. They would advise that in order to be a successful freelance writer, a website is a must have. Well, unless you want to be stuck writing blog posts for one cent per word. Some would argue that having a website will give you more credibility to potential clients.
Question is, do you really need a website as you start out your career as a beginner? The answer is no. Here is why:
A website does nothing!
A website really does nothing if you don't have a well thought out marketing strategy. How do your clients even find you? You will have to incorporate the use of Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and keywords research so that Google can rank you higher. Unless you have in-depth knowledge in web design, and are an expert in SEO, you will have to hire one.
This in the end turns out to be a waste of money, because you are spending even before you earn, making it a vanity project. Well, you could figure out how to build one yourself, but this will take time as a beginner. This will definitely lead to waste of time, and time is money, and money is our focus at the moment.
What you should do instead is build a portfolio website where you can be able to build your personal brand. Examples of free portfolio websites that you should consider as a freelance writer include; Writerfolio, Squarespace, Wordpress.com, Juno Portfolio, Mack Ruck, just to mention a few. No matter the website you choose, aim for two things, making it simple and easy to read, and having an uncluttered design.
It alters your focus
It can be quite hard to know what your focus is especially when starting a new venture. You will want to focus on areas that bring you money we're in it for the money, right?(and of course not forgetting passion because this is what we love doing). As it is, time and money are limited.
Setting up a website as a new freelancer turns into a huge distraction. Your focus now turns on figuring out how to choose a domain name, a catchy one for that matter. You now start wondering whether to use Wix, WordPress or Squarespace. Searching for stock photos is also upon you.
You may feel you're doing something productive, but not really because your efforts won’t necessarily lead to paid work. As a matter of fact, you’re so busy working on the website that you haven’t quite gotten around to pitching potential clients yet.
Whereas some freelancers know exactly what their niche is from the start, others have no idea. This is the case for most of us. In all likelihood, you probably have a variety of subjects you are interested in, but nothing you’re ready to commit to. You may not even know the type of clients you want to work with.
Here's the thing, you'll have to figure that out by working with clients and figuring out what you like and don’t like. I therefore opine on the thought that it is helpful to get some experience as a freelance writer first, and then you can go ahead and set up your website.
Though many will probably disagree with this statement, I am still of the opinion that you don't need a website to get hired. There are many great freelancers, me included, who started freelancing and earned a substantial amount of money before they could set up their own websites. They found tons of clients and earned good money in the meantime. However, some good writing samples of your work are necessary.
The idea that you need a website to get hired is an idea that’s mainly perpetuated by other freelancers. It’s a made-up rule that new freelancers use to stress themselves out and waste time. I am not saying that you don't need a website, but as a beginner your focus should be on getting clients first.
As earlier mentioned, as a new freelancer, your focus should be finding clients and making money. As you later progress, you can set up your website. Don't get me wrong, you do need that website, but not in the beginning.
Put yourself out there first and focus on getting hired, solving people's problems and making money, then you can get that website.