This Simple Website Tweak Will Lead to More Freelance Writing Jobs

Freelance writing jobs
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If you have a website for your writing business, you undoubtedly have a single goal: You want to land freelance writing jobs.

That’s great! You should be using your website to reel in clients, but what if you’re not seeing results?

You know what I mean. You spent weeks of sleepless nights fighting with your theme, researching plugins and arranging your widgets so that you’d have at least a half-decent writing website.

Do you hear that? That’s nothing but the sound of crickets coming from your contact form. Either nobody cares about your services or you’ve gone the wrong direction with your site.

Tons of people are looking for writers, so chances are it’s not the former. That leaves your writer website as the issue. Where are you going wrong?

You don’t have a clear call-to-action

One thing I see a lot of writers miss is a clear call-to-action (CTA), and it’s crippling your website’s effectiveness.

What’s a call-to-action? It’s web-speak for asking visitors to do something on your website. That could be signing up for your newsletter, or getting in touch for a quote, or buying an ebook. Getting people to visit your website is only half the battle; you won’t make any progress if they don’t take the action you want them to take.

In a case study, ContentVerve.com found that tweaking a single word increased click-through rates by 90 percent. Imagine what having a decent CTA could do for you!

The two most common errors are:

1. You don’t include a CTA at all

You might make this first mistake because you’re under the impression your prospects know where to go next. It’s a no-brainer to head to the contact page to get a quote, right?

However, it’s important to show website visitors what you want them to do next. That way, prospects won’t end up all over the place without any direction.

Even if “contact me” is implied, it’s worth giving the information explicitly. This way, you get prospects onto page two without them having to think too much about it. Plus, there’s no confusion, such as whether you’re available for hire.

2. You include too many CTAs

Here’s an example with too many CTAs:

Want to learn more about me? Check out my about page, then take a look at my portfolio to view my samples. If you’re still not convinced you want to hire me, visit my testimonials page to see what past clients have to say.

Ready to get started? Contact me for a quote!

Here, you’re giving prospects four choices, but exactly what you want them to do next isn’t clear. Should they follow these steps in this exact order? What is the most important step to take next?

If prospects explore your first three pages before getting to your contact tab, they may get distracted or run out of time before they get a chance to contact you.

See where both of these mistakes can point clients in the wrong direction?

How to develop a clear call-to-action

If your site is falling victim to one of these common errors, here’s how to fix it.

Step 1: Determine your website’s goal

As a freelance writer, your main goal is likely to get clients to contact you for your services. It’s not to get them to read your blog or even to download your free gift, yet many writers stick with these CTAs.

If building your email list or getting exposure on your blog really is the focus of your writer website, then by all means go with it, but be sure you’re really thinking about what you want your site to do for you.

Step 2: Explore and decide on a CTA variation

You can say the same thing in lots of ways, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different wording.

Look back at step 1. Your main CTA should be some variation of this ultimate goal.

Here are some examples if you decide to go with the “contact me” CTA:

  • Contact me
  • Shoot me an email
  • Get in touch
  • Let’s chat
  • Drop me a line
  • Get a quote
  • Tell me about your content strategy

Play with CTAs until you find one that fits your goal and your writing voice.

contact me example

Step 3: Place it prominently

A quality CTA includes an eye-catching design, explains editor Ginny Soskey on Hubspot. As she suggests:

Your CTAs’ colors should contrast with your website design, yet also appear large enough to be noticed (we’ve seen them perform best around 225px wide and 45px high).

Lots of writers include a link within their content as their CTA. This isn’t a bad way to go if you’re clear about it.

However, a well-designed CTA button placed prominently is likely to get more attention than a single link in your content, since it really draws the eyes. If your theme doesn’t feature a button on the homepage, create your own at ButtonOptimizer.com and place it above the fold (i.e. so your potential client doesn’t have to scroll to see it).

contact me example 2

Not all prospects will land on your website via your homepage, so be sure your CTA is clear across your website. A sidebar button, for example, can also work well so that it appears on all pages.

Step 4: Consider your alternative CTAs

I’m not suggesting that you should have only one CTA; I’m only saying it should be clear what your main call-to-action is. You might go with “contact me” as a primary CTA, while a secondary one could be “join my mailing list.”

When you have more than one CTA, be conscious of how they work together. If your secondary CTA is higher on the page, has more contrasting colors or features a larger content box, it may appear as your primary CTA when that’s not your intent. Take a look at these web design hierarchical elements to make your primary CTA stand out against the others.

If you have to ask whether your CTA is clear,  it probably isn’t. Even so, it’s worth asking a friend to take a look at your site and to report back on his or her impression.

Do you feature a clear call-to-action on your site? Tell us what it is and how you draw attention to it! Does it work well for you?

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Bio: Alicia Rades is a professional writer and blogger by day and a fiction author by night. Learn more about her writing services at aliciarades.com, or explore her books at aliciaradesauthor.com... .

Website | @aliciarades

Alicia Rades
James Chartrand

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Comments

  1. Nice article. very informative. I did not have much idea about CTA. By reading this post i understood how CTA can help me to reach in success

  2. Great post Alicia,

    My landing page has a “Where Do I Start?” with links to three pages. But this below the fold. My immediate CTA is right next to my picture. It isn’t a button, but I may play around with that.

    Great tips!
    Elna

    • Elna, I don’t think all my advice needs to be applied to EVERY writer website. As you know, I’ve used your opening statement as an example in several articles before, so there are lots of great things I like about your home page! You do have the “Let’s Talk” call-to-action above the fold. I don’t know if you’d be able to fit a button into that section, though.

      But I do think these tactics can really help freelancers who are just starting out and don’t really know where to take their site yet. In my personal opinion, I think call-to-action buttons work better because they’re easier to spot than something that’s hidden in the text that your audience may or may not read.

      Again, though, it’s all about what your goals are and how you can best accomplish them. We won’t all always execute things the same way, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to poke around at things until you figure out what works for you.

  3. Hi Alicia

    I LOVE your tips! I have a question, though.
    My website is on Wordpress and I frequently post my articles on it with the link to the original article published on the websites and magazines I work for.

    Do you think I should move my homepage to my about/contact page and plae a CTA button there?
    Please help.

    • Madiha,

      I took a look at your site. Your “Hire Me” button is a great start! I did notice that your home page and about page are one in the same. I generally don’t encourage writers to do this. While your home page has a lot of good information about what you do and where you’ve been seen, I always encourage writers to use copywriting techniques that direct the copy to your target audience. So, instead of starting with, “I’m a freelance writer,” you might start with something like, “Need a freelance writer?

      You have a really strong portfolio, too! I’d take out the “INK Magazine” page or revise it because I’m not seeing any links on it. Same with “Simpsonizer Magazine.”

      One more thing: I might add a “Services” page that tells prospects what exactly they can hire you for.

      I hope this helps! If you’re looking for more advice, you can download Elna’s and my eBook on the topic: http://www.freelancerfaqs.com/

  4. hi there, thanks so much! I have been thinking about what to do next woth my site and these suggestions are right on target. My biggest challenge has been setting time to give my site attention theses tips will make that time more productive.
    Are affiliate links a good idea?

    • Jireh,

      I probably wouldn’t put affiliate links on pages like your home, about, services, portfolio, etc. I think that’s something that’s more appropriate on a blog since the goal of your writer site should be to attract clients.

      That being said, there are lots of people who roll their writer website and blog all into one site, so as long as you’re using the affiliate links in appropriate places and disclosing the links, I think it could definitely work! I’d just keep it to the blog portion of the site.

  5. Hi Alicia,

    Some great tips you have here, I have always loved the look and feel of your website. It has this “comfy” and welcoming feel and all you want to do is reach out!

    Could you take a peek at mine would appreciate your input. Its http://www.freelancewriteronline.com

  6. Sure, Aisha. The first thing I notice is the word “Home.” Generally, I’d try to steer clear of that. You’re using WordPress, so you could name your home page something else in the page manager and then keep it listed as “home” on your menu bar. So instead of “home,” you could use that space for your opening sentence.

    You’re on track with your first sentence, “Hire me to write quality content that will help you achieve your business goals.” But it’s still a little vague. What type of business goals does quality content achieve? Do you have an idea of what goals your target client has? Maybe they’re looking to boost profit or increase search engine visibility. It would be easier to connect with them if you could pinpoint that problem. However, I understand that different clients might have different problems and goals. But that’s just something to think about.

    Honestly, I think your “Hello! Need a writer?” section is a good place to start if you got rid of everything above it.

    Your home page copy is a little long for my liking, but that’s just a preference of mine. Otherwise, it’s powerful and convincing copy!

    One more thing: I know you have your contact info at the end of every page. That’s great! But I’d also add it to your sidebar or have a “Contact Me” tab on top so that a means of contacting you is always visible.

    Honestly, your site is pretty great! I like your theme, and your copy is well done. 🙂

  7. You made me to understand CTA today,thanks

  8. Hey Alicia,

    I have just come across this very informative post. I am kinda new to the real freelance writing business after working on freelance sites for too long. Could you kindly take a peek at my website and tell me how I can make it better? It’s http://www.elizabethwangare.com

    • Sure thing, Elizabeth! Honestly, it looks great. I like your layout and that everything can be found by scrolling down the page. I also like that you have a photo of yourself on your site (a lot of writers don’t, and it’s kind of impersonal). The only thing I would personally tweak is to get more specific with your tagline, “Creating content that gets you there.” Gets you where? What is it that you’re getting your clients? Traffic? ROI?

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  1. […] your talents on your blog and share examples of your work for past clients. Ensure you have a clear and compelling call-to-action to make it easy for clients to get in […]

  2. […] use a strong call-to-action to convert people from prospects to clients. This could mean a contact button, or, for a softer […]

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