There is tons of potential in a freelance blogging career. If you can write well and you have great ideas for new posts, then you can start making money out of your talent. However, it’s not that easy to launch yourself into this competitive market with success.
You need a lot of effort to attract clients who will pay for your work. Your personal website is one of the aspects that make you an attractive freelance writer. The content on it has to be very attractive, since it’s the most important part of your job. If you can’t find time for blogging, you can occasionally search for writing reviews, so you can delegate part of the work to other writers. However, there is another important element that writers are not usually aware of: design.
When you’re at the start of this career, you’re hardly ready to invest money in a self-hosted website. Guess what: you don’t need to do that. Potential clients are interested in your writing, and you can showcase that talent through a free WordPress site.
However, you still have to make it really appealing if you want to distinguish yourself among all other freelance bloggers, who are competing for the same clients. We have some tips that will guide you to success.
1. Choose a less obvious theme
Are you aware of the first thing that gives away a free WordPress site? – The same generic themes that all other bloggers are using. Building a website on the default theme is a mistake, since potential clients will immediately recognize it, and they may assume you haven’t put the needed effort to market yourself as a professional.
You can choose among hundreds of free themes, so avoid the default one and pick something unusual. Here’s how you can do that:
- Open your free WordPress site and find the option My Site in the top left corner. You’ll easily find the option Themes It gives you access to hundreds of themes you can choose from. If you’re ready to make a small investment, you can purchase a theme for your site. If not, choose the option free from the dropdown menu.
- Now, you can preview how your WordPress site would look like with different themes, so you can choose the one you prefer. Here are few options that would look good on a freelance writer’s website: Twenty Sixteen, Shoreditch, Cols, Scratchpad, Escutcheon, Ecto, and Nucleare.
- You’ll notice a Customize button next to the Themes option in the menu. Activate the customizer and play around with the fonts, menus, widgets, header image, and colors to create a more unique appeal to the free theme.
2. Get a custom domain name
This is one of the things that are worth paying for. Here’s an example: Reading-Lifestyle.com sounds way better than Readingsalifestyleblog.wordpress.com. WordPress gave you an option to make a custom domain name when you were creating the site, but here’s what you can do if you missed that opportunity:
- Choose Domains from the My Site
- Choose Add Domain, and WordPress will suggest a list of available Premium domains. If you don’t like them, start typing
and you see other options. Most domain names cost $18 per year.
3. Create and add a logo
A logo is really important, since it helps the visitors to recognize your blog among the many tabs they have opened in the browser. Plus, the logo will be visible when they bookmark your site.
4. Play with the widgets
When you’re trying to make yourself attractive as a freelance blogger, you have to be aware of all elements of design that accompany the content you write. That’s why you want potential clients to see you care not only about writing, but about presentation as well.
- Activate the theme customizer, and you’ll easily find the option Widgets.
- You’ll see 6 types of widgets you can customize; three footers and three front page widgets. WordPress explains where these widgets are when you click on the option, and it enables you to customize them.
- When you click Add a Widget, you’ll be able to choose among different types of widgets: social media icons, search, recent posts, recent comments, and more.
- Add appropriate titles and text to customize the widgets.
- You don’t have to add all widgets. Start with one and add more if necessary.
- Click and drag to reorder the widgets, so you’ll see how they look.
5. Make the menus attractive
The navigation tabs are really important, but many inexperienced bloggers forget to customize them. The default settings result with every new page popping up on the navigation menu. You need to think of something more attractive than that.
First, think of the categories your posts would fall into. For example: blogging, copywriting, social media management, tips, random posts, etc. You need a separate service page for each of them, so your clients will easily find the information they need.
- Choose the Menus option from the My Site You’ll see three menus available: Primary, Social, and Default Menu, but you’ll also see the option Add New Menu.
- When you select one of the available menus, you will see a list of pages you can add to it. Click the + sign, and you’ll be able to add menu items below it, as well as menu items to children.
- You can use these simple settings to arrange the menus as you want them, so experiment a bit to get to the perfect result.
6. Regulate comments on pages
In other words – disable them. Yes, you want tons of comments on your post if you aim to become a popular blogger, but pages are different than posts, and there is no reason to allow comments on them.
- Choose Pages from the My Site Then, choose the page you don’t want comments on.
- Choose More Options from the menu.
- Scroll down and you’ll see an option Allow comments. Make sure the box in front of it is unchecked.
7. Set up the contact info
When you’re trying to attract clients who would pay for your writing, you need to provide clear contact information. The simplest way for them to reach out to you is through a contact form on your site. However, many clients tend to avoid that option, so they are looking for displayed contact info.
To make it really easy for clients to contact you, make sure to include an email address, Skype name, and a LinkedIn profile in this section. You may want to avoid providing your phone number, since some potential clients may be unaware of the time differences, and you surely don’t like getting calls in the middle of the night. You can also add social media buttons if you maintain professional profiles.
When you’re rearranging the widgets, make sure to display the contact info in an easy-to-find spot.
The Only Necessary Investments Are Time and Effort
Launching a self-hosted WordPress site might be the best option for freelance writers and bloggers who want to leave a great impression to prospective clients. However, that’s not an affordable alternative, especially when you’re at the start of your career. That’s why you need to master the skill of building and maintaining a free WordPress site.
The tips listed above will help you add a professional-looking vibe to your site. It will take some time and effort before getting a great design, but that’s a smart investment to make when it comes to attracting clients.