The freelancer’s guide to crucial website features 

10 min read
Rachel Román

There are certain website features for freelancers that shouldn’t be ignored. In today’s climate, who you are is just as important as what you are selling. Customers want to know what you represent as well as what you can offer them. 

There is no better way to let them know all about you than through a dynamic, personalized website. It’s the window into your business and (ahem!) your soul.

The time is now to up your game and start your business. And the first tool in any freelancer’s arsenal is…yourself.

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As a freelancer, YOU are your business. 

So, who are you and why does your business best represent you? Let’s say you grew up loving food. Every time your parents cooked spaghetti and meatballs, you dragged a little sea-green stool to the stove. 

Standing on the top step, you stared mystified at the spoon swirling the sauce seasoned with parsley and oregano. 

But soon, those meatballs became bland to your evolving palate. You ditched the stool, took the spoon from your parents’ hands, and dashed in your own herbs and spices, until you had the perfect meatballs. A smooth warmth with a hint of earthy tang.

Fast forward a decade, culinary classes, and a french fry-filled 21st birthday party. You’re an up-and-coming caterer with dreams of opening your own vegetarian restaurant. That spaghetti and meatballs has given way to a curried cauliflower quinoa salad. 

You’re all about healthy living, growing your own produce, and the challenge of concocting delicious and filling veggie dishes. How do you distill all of that into a marketable freelance website?

8 crucial features for an effective freelance website

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can integrate important website features for freelancers and stand out online. 

1. Heading home — Create an eye-catching homepage

Your homepage is the single most important page on your website. An engaging, awe-inspiring homepage is like the most eye-catching window displays. Everyone’s shop is vying for attention, but yours should be the most illuminating. Draw people into your site. 

As with any life-altering project, do your homework. Peruse articles about the top website trends. For 2024, bento grids, large typographic hero images, and retro designs are all savvy styles. 

After this research, act like a consumer. What draws you to a restaurant based on its website? Check out multiple websites and write a list of what makes them attractive to you.

2. Show your face — Fully introduce yourself

You are your product. When consumers head to a food website, they expect to be awed by amazingly plated produce. The first thing people see when entering your website is a large, horizontal close-up of food. 

Showcase glistening pasta noodles bathed in a creamy sauce so thick it looks like red velvet. Consumers immediately know what they’re going to get. They’re going to get hungry, and then they’re going to want that pasta dish for themselves.

Follow up your face with what you’re about. These days, it’s not enough to say, “Hi! I’m a vegetarian chef.” Say WHY you’re a vegetarian chef. Craft a brief intro statement that POPS! on the page. What is your product, Why your product, How do you represent your product, and how will your product benefit them?

Next, show your literal face. No cell phone selfies. Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of you in your element. 

Sprinkling salt onto crisp, bright broccoli. Holding a tray of sauteed shiitake mushrooms. Brandishing a butcher knife. Whatever enhances your intro statement and brand in beautiful lighting slanting gracefully across your cheekbones. 

But, wait, there’s more to this story. 

Make sure to provide a clickable link to an About page, so website visitors can learn even more about you and your freelance business. You can let them know about that little sea-green stool. 

You can even include a cute picture of your sauce-stained face. Expand your story, so potential customers feel like they know you. And be relatable. People don’t typically like being schooled on the virtues of darker egg yolks vs. lighter yolks by some food snob.

3. Sweeten the deal — Offer online forms

Word has gotten out that your chocolate brownies are the best around town. Lucky you because you can benefit from that. Freelancers and small business owners earn extra money with online order forms on their websites. 

Consumers can carry their spaghetti squash burrito bowl back home to eat while watching their favorite show about a struggling chef (hey, you can relate). 

But don’t crowd your homepage with a long order form. Give a tantalizing taste with a picture and brief statement, then provide a link to the order form. Also, it’s shrewd to have a disclaimer that orders will be confirmed via email or text; otherwise, you may get an angry call or bad Yelp review.

Special orders are another benefit of an online order form and menu. These can give your business more visibility and traffic. For instance, you can post that your crave-worthy chocolate layer cake is half off to generate interest and excitement. 

People love bargains, especially on popular products! Alert patrons to the deal in the homepage statement or a banner at the top of the page, so it’s the first thing they see. 

If you’re a service-based freelancer, forms can also help to attract new clients. Customers can use online scheduling software to schedule a consultation, appointment, or service. You can also target them directly, which leads us to our next topic.

4. Bringing you the latest news(letter) — Cultivate a mailing list

Freelancers and small business owners should take advantage of email newsletters to advertise straight to the source. 

On your website, dedicate a section to a newsletter sign-up link. 

Prevent customers from skipping over the form by giving them something everyone loves: a bargain. Offer a discounted rate on their next purchase if they sign up for the newsletter. If they like you and your product, they’ll start typing. 

Now that you’ve got them hooked, reel them in with a great deal highlighted in the email subject line. A subject line like “50% Off Our Greatest Goodies” should entice them to open the newsletter.

5. Take their word for it — Display your testimonials

Why should would-be customers trust you? Of course, your kale pecan pesto is creamy, smooth, and the perfect accompaniment to penne or sandwiches. How do you convince potential customers of that fact? 

Let testimonials do the talking. 

People are more likely to believe your hype if the top-rated local chef is shouting from the heavens about your mushroom tagliatelle. 

Quote that food critic who claimed that your calm, breezy attitude masked the precise perfection of your dishes. Another valuable resource is a fellow customer extolling how your food is always just what they need. 

6. Socialize — Get your freelance business on social media

Love it or hate it, social media is the freelancer’s best friend. There’s no better way of getting the word out there (for free!) about your business than frequent posts. There’s a wide variety of networking platforms to choose from: 

  • Traditional social networking sites (Facebook or LinkedIn)
  • Image-based (Instagram or Pinterest) 
  • Video (TikTok)
  • Livestream (YouTube or Twitch)
  • Discussion forums (Reddit)
  • Private community platforms (Discord, Patreon, Slack)
  • Decentralized social networks (Threads, Mastodon, and Bluesky)

When choosing your primary social media platforms, it helps to know your target audience. For fledgling restauranteurs, it makes the most sense to post pictures of tempting treats on Instagram.

Instagram Reels and TikTok are fabulous for posting videos of a typical day arriving at your pristine kitchen, prepping, cooking, wiping beads of sweat from your face, and the yummy, finished food. If they permit you, you could even show a video of you carrying dinner to excited patrons. 

For more business-based freelancers – like a tech blog – posting to LinkedIn is a clever way to drive traffic. Make sure to use clickable social media icons at the bottom of your website pages. 

Of course, like all double-edged swords, there are best practices when it comes to social media use. Create a community by engaging with commenters. Never insult or get petty. Be authentic. 

Gaining a glimpse of engagement is another benefit of social media. 

If you only have 50 followers, you should probably up the ante. Study your sites. What could you be doing differently to attract followers? Check out other social media pages with lots of users and scour the internet for best practices. You’ll get there one click at a time.

7. Three, two, one… Contact! Don’t neglect the contact form

Curious potential customers have perused your website. They have found everything they were looking for. Ways to order out? Check. Online scheduling? Check. Email newsletter? Check. Social media? Check. About page? Check. And people raving about you? You got it! 

You’re ready for the spotlight because you’ve finished the sound check. All that you have left is to add a contact form, and you’re ready for business. At the least, you should have fields for a customer’s name and email address as well as a subject line and message section.

8. Behind the scenes — Track your website metrics

Now you have a fully functioning, dynamic, beautiful website. It tells everyone about you, your business, and your offerings. Customers are placing orders and expressing interest in your burgeoning business. Now is the time to take stock. 

Like your food, a lot of ingredients go into a high-performance website. It may appear effortless but sweat and tears are going on behind the scenes. 

To measure the traffic to your website, set up Google Analytics. Analytics lets you see where your website is performing well and where it could be improved. 

Another valuable resource is search engine optimization. SEO unlocks the secrets of keyword searches. Keyword research ensures SEO success. After you’ve scoured search engines – like Google and Bing – for phrases and words that people search for, add in keywords throughout your website, so search engines pick up that information. “Vegetarian” and “veggie” are no-brainers and are probably already part of your website content. But make the content organic, don’t just throw in random keywords that don’t fit in.

Another strategic way to shoehorn those keywords into your website is via a blog. If you have the time to write about the different flavor profiles of tomato varietals, then a blog is a win-win. With a blog, you get lots of valuable real estate to insert keywords. 

And, you get to show off your expertise and familiarize customers with your freelance business and you personally. Finally, you can throw in those deal sweeteners that were discussed above.

Summing it all up

Now that you have a blueprint for website features for freelancers, make that winning website a reality! Just save some spaghetti and veggie meatballs for us.

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