When I started freelancing nearly two years ago, a website was not at the top of my agenda. My initial priority was simply to find work and, once found, to do a first class job in order to attract repeat business.
This simple strategy seems to have paid off. I now work with a great agency and have some interesting clients of my own. While I have no plans to expand (as a mother of three, the flexibility provided by a freelancing career suits me perfectly,) two years down the line I realise that a more strategic approach is required. This has included organising a website and logo to enhance my credibility. (On a couple of occasions, I have been slightly mortified not to have a business card to hand out. Setting up a website + logo and organising business cards seemed to go hand in hand.)
While I am not convinced that my website will attract new clients, as marketing guru Heidi Taylor points out in her excellent blog below, a website is your "shop window." As a b2b PR, I pride myself on my professionalism and without a website, I risked looking inexperienced, even amateurish. While I could have created a website myself, I would never have achieved such a modern, contemporary design without the help of a website designer. Hopefully, my new website also reflects my approach to work and I look forward to the next opportunity I have to hand out a business card (as opposed to having to make an awkward excuse for not having one...)
When I was doing my research (lesson #3) I looked at a LOT of websites. And while the agency and larger consultancy websites were (mostly) terrific, the vast majority of independent consultant websites were really quite mediocre, and there were many that I could tell they had done themselves. Even if you have the skills to create your website, I highly recommend that you spend the time and the money to hire an expert to do it for you. Your website is your ‘shop window’; this is where every prospective customer will go before they may even make contact with you. It is critical that your website reflects who you are, what you do, and why you do it.