Freelancers Need a Top-notch Website

Freelance Finesse Tip 4: Creating a First-Rate Website

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Most freelancers know that a website is a must-have self-promotion tool, but what makes a site successful? Here are some key characteristics:

Organization. The best sites are well organized, enabling visitors to easily access information. Categorize your pieces so they meet a variety of user needs. For example, offer the option of viewing your work either by industry or medium.

Select samples. Advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group spend an average of 10 minutes reviewing a prospective hire’s online portfolio. Yet some sites contain so many samples, it would take hours to sift through them all. Ten to 25 items is sufficient. The more pieces you include, the better organized they must be to prevent overwhelming visitors.

Adequate information. Writing that concisely describes the project and its purpose, the techniques used and the results achieved puts your work into context.

Efficiency. One-third of advertising and marketing executives polled by our firm said including files that take too long to download is the most common mistake creative professionals make when developing their online portfolios. Optimize your images by using GIF or JPEG files for faster, more standardized downloading.

Professionalism. Including too many personal details can appear self-indulgent. While you want your site to reflect your talent and style, avoid delving into your interests, hobbies, musical tastes, family life, etc.

Timeliness. To be most effective, you should update your site regularly to include your latest projects and successes. Set aside an hour or two a week for Web-site development.

Looking for additional ways to enhance your Web site?
Testimonials from satisfied customers add credibility, which is especially important for attracting clients who may not be personally familiar with your work. If you send an e-newsletter, consider offering access to archived editions online.

Developing a links page to other industry Websites is another way to transform your promotional site into a useful resource.

Finally, don’t overlook basic elements that every site should have:

Printer-friendly resume, Professional biography, Partial client list (with permissions), Work samples, Contact information.

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