This month I’ve decided to start with a new format to this blog, because the topics are many. I am a big supporter of quality over quantity, while I also believe in posts of more than 200 words: they should be long enough to be covering more than just the basic content yet short enough to not bore readers to death (at least, that’s what happens after I read for more than 800-ish words online… you know, I’m a millennial after all.) Hence, my decision to give my #rainybrandingtuesday a monthly theme: 4 tuesdays in a month, 4 posts, 1 topic. This April it’s the turn of online visibility, a topic that all freelancers should really keep close to their hearts. The options are many but I am going to cover 4 points (of course!)
- Website / online CV profiles
- Social media platforms
- Video and alternative media
- Brochures + graphics
Website or online profiles
I hate to say this, but this is a lot like dating: IRL you just go out and meet people, you like some better than others and create some sort of connection. Still, you ask for their name, you try to understand what they like and what they have in common with you. I’m sure you put your best suit on, get a good shower and the ladies possibly get their hair done or put makeup on. Online, well, you do the same: a website is like the way you promote yourself in the eyes of others, and you want them to pick you. Just like (online) dating. If you are online, people will know you exist as a provider of services. And only by showing up in their searches, you can compete on the market and captivate your prospects’ attention. When I say website, what I mean really is some sort of profile: a page where those who are looking for your services can look you up and see whether you’re the right match for their needs. The options are several, and even though I ALWAYS recommend a professional look and the work of a real web designer, the alternative to a good, serious webpage done by a pro can be one of these, in no order:
- About me.com: this option is simple and practical. You create a profile on this platform and you can insert a fair share of details, from links to photos and even quite a bit of content. It looks like a single page and it can drive quite a traffic if you’re lucky enough to get featured by the site. I was a few times and I got 10,000 visits over a week. Not everything would turn into business, buy hey, who knows. My AboutMe page can help you get the gist of it.
- LinkedIn: this is like the searchable, indexed CV of the 21st century. Focus especially on a good bio and stay clear of vague descriptions. You may think they’re keywords – and they are – but they’re not working for you the way you need them or want to ie. they’re way too general. Writing “freelance interpreter, 10 years of experience” is not going to drive traffic to your profile so be specific, insert your language and something that really can the eye of the reader (who will end up on your profile driven exactly by that: specific keywords). Remember: a full profile, with a nice, professional headshot (here comes the old adagio: no cut-outs, no bikini or mojito photos, no pets or avatars unless it’s your logo) can really take you a long way, especially if you’re working with the public. First impressions still sadly counts.
- Branded.me: this is strictly linked to LinkedIn (as it draws information from there, basically) so the clearer and the most complete your LinkedIn profile is, the better this one-page website-like platform will look. A similar offer comes from http://vizualize.me which is based on visuals and graphics.
- Facebook business page: FB is rapidly becoming a very good source of traffic and to be honest, it is just that every day place where jumping from “it’s for the family” to “I follow my celebrity crush” to “I need a service, let me look it up there” has proved to be very easy. While it has become something we all are familiar with, with the new call-to-action buttons and the paid advertising, it’s worth considering – and again, if only to leverage its SEO potential. I have a personal and a Rainy London Translations’ business page.
- WordPress: this is like the foundation of a real website. Among the many other options, most designers I know are familiar and choose this one to implement their custom-made design and back-end (ie. your website). As one of the most widely known Content Management System (CMS) WordPress is easy to set up and you can start using it as a blog or a website even if you do not own the domain. WP entitles you to a wordpress.com domain (if the url you choose is available, that is) and if you really like it, you can purchase it and turn it into a hosted domain (roughly $99 a year). This website and blog is hosted on WP. It is such a commonly used site that you can find an endless number of online tutorials on how to set it up and make the most of it.
- Market place websites profiles (like Proz.com or similar for your industry): just like any other profile, they all have sections to fill in with your details and info. The more complete, the better.
- Yelp, Google Places or similar services directories: they’re the ancient history of indexing but what you want is for your name to show up – and to avoid that some other business or someone completely unrelated or with a very similar use it in your stead or shows up in your prospects’ searches for no reason.
All these have in common that the more visibile you are on these platforms, the better indexed you’ll be SEO-wise – if Google likes your content it will rank your pages or profile higher and you’ll be easier to find (this is a very brief, for-dummies explanation so it’s all about the content and the use of the right words your client will be typing when they look for services).
So, here my takeaways:
- If you can, invest in some good stuff: it always pays off. Maybe not in the very beginning, but consider it for the long-run. A good website? My colleague Marta’s is a good example (design by pro designer Fabio Benedetti who also works with me to offer logos and branding).
- If you take the time to create a profile, do it right. Half-way, sloppy never impressed anyone in a good way. Have a look at my LinkedIn.
- If you are not sure, ask. There are options out there for all budgets!
- Good is the way: get a good logo and a few good photos, write nice, concise, clear content and you’re half way down.