There has never been a better time to become a professional freelance writer. Thanks to the Internet, the need for fresh content has exploded. Modern companies have greater writing needs today than in the past. So there's a lot of business out there for talented freelancers.
But regardless of whether you offer general copywriting services, or web writing services in particular, you need to be visible online. You need a successful web presence to help you acquire clients. After all, that's where they'll be looking for you.
What is a Web Presence?
The Internet has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. These days, there are billions of individual documents online, with millions more added each year. The result, of course, is that it's much harder to be found online today than it was in the past. So for the freelance writer with a business website, this poses certain challenges. If people can't find you, they can't hire you.
That's where the successful web presence comes into the picture. In this context, I'm talking about more than a website. Sure, you need a site to promote your freelance services and to help you get business. But you should be more active online than that. If you publish content through multiple web-based channels, you'll enjoy greater visibility online.
So the purpose of a broad web presence for freelance writers is thus:
- To expand your Internet "profile" so that your target audience has multiple ways to find you online.
- To increase the chance people will find you through search engines when researching the writing services you provide.
- To increase your overall marketing success by creating a passive channel for client inquiries and leads.
- To make you one of the most widely published Internet authorities on matters pertaining to your particular writing services or niche.
The Parts of the Whole
So what makes up this web presence I've been talking about? Well, several things actually, and they all have to do with being active online. Here are the five primary parts:
We have talked about the website already. At a minimum, your site should include your professional bio, writing samples, testimonials from past clients, and your complete contact information. So let's move on to the other parts of the whole...
- Your main website
- A business blog
- Online article distribution
- Online networking
- Website Lead generation
A blog is a great way to expand your Internet presence. Blogging is easy to do, and it will help you boost your search engine visibility and grow your website in general. It also demonstrates your web technology skills, which is a big plus for a freelance writer these days. Popular blogging programs include Blogger (owned by Google), WordPress and TypePad.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a powerful marketing skill at your disposal. It's your writing ability! By publishing content online on a regular basis, you are once more expanding your web presence and making it easier for people to find you. Distributing articles online is a great way to do this. You can create an account with several article-distribution websites (also known as article directories) to publish your writing across the web. This gives people another way to find you online, and it also has the potential of sending direct traffic to your site.
Writers can get a lot of business by networking. After all, every business owner knows at least one other business owner (and probably several). So by networking with many people you will increase your potential client pool exponentially. There are quite a few networking websites online these days, and many of them are intended for working professionals. LinkedIn is a good example of such a website -- it's often referred to as a "MySpace for working adults."
Website Lead Generation
Most people will visit your website and leave without taking any action. That's just a reality of the Internet. But you can increase the number of visitors who contact you by integrating lead generation techniques across your website.
The goal here is to "convert" website visitors into something else. You want them to contact you, or subscribe to a newletter, or fill out an information-request form. Hence the term website converstion -- you are converting them from a casual visitor into a potential client. This is a much larger subject than I can address in this article, so it's worth some additional research on your part.
The Web-Savvy Freelance Writer
Think of each action you take online as an investment in your future Internet visibility. The more investments you make, the more visible you will be to your target audience. And the more visible you are to these folks, the more likely you'll be to get their business. This is one of the keys to being a successful freelance writer in the Internet age.