It's harder, as a freelancer, to get clients when they don't know where to find you. You need a home on the web to effectively grow your freelance business.
As a freelancer, your livelihood depends on people being able to find you. If you want a wider base, you need to go online and set up a home on the web. A profile on one of the many freelancing websites is not enough. You do need a place you can call your own.
Creating a professional website is a good place to start. I use this website as a place where people can find examples of my work and quickly see what I offer. It's really simple and not very dynamic. Honestly, it could probably be better. And it needs to be updated. But it contains my resume, links to some of my work, and the services I offer. It's where I can direct people interested in seeing an overview of what I do.
A website that connects people to samples of your work and your credentials is important. Can you think of the last time you were asked to send in a paper copy of a resume? Or even a resume as an attachment? It doesn't happen all that often anymore.
Of course, I put my website up ages ago, when I started freelancing and had no idea what a “blog” was. So I don't have a blog attached to it. But others combine their blogs with their professional offerings.
Your Own Blog
A home on the web can also include your own blog. For the longest time, I didn't have my own personal finance blog — even though I wrote about finances for a number of websites. I had a blog with b5 Media for a while, but I didn't own it. My longest-running financial blogging gig, AllBusiness.com, offered me a place to direct people interested in my “personal” financial blog. However, I didn't own that blog, either, and when AB recently let independent bloggers go, I wouldn't have had any PF place to call my own if I hadn't started Planting Money Seeds a few months ago.
Creating your own blog can be a great way to highlight an area of special expertise and bring more traffic. It's your home on the web, where you can make your own and showcase your talent. I'm glad I started this blog; it's mine, so I'm not at the mercy of being shut down when a client decides to go another direction.
Social Media Profiles
You should also consider social media profiles. A number of people have personal pages on Google + and Facebook and separate business pages. I don't have separate profiles, although Planting Money Seeds has its own Facebook page. Many freelancers, though, like the idea of keeping things separate. A social media profile or two is important, though. Think about where your audience is likely to hang out. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest are all possibilities. You might even need multiple social media profiles. Just make sure you are consistent across social media profiles and that you are easy to recognize.
It's also a good idea to join social bookmarking websites. I'm not a huge fan of social media, but I know its importance. Look for sites in your niche, whatever that niche is. Submit to those sites, and you will not only find more backlinks to your blog, but you are also more likely to be noticed by potential clients.
Stake your claim in cyberspace. Potential clients can check you out, see your credentials, and determine whether or not you are a good fit. Coordinate your efforts between your blog and your social media efforts, and hopefully, clients will start finding you — without the need for you to constantly look for them.