Your online profile is key to better success as a freelance professional.
When you work as an online freelance professional, it's important that you have a home on the web. A web site isn't enough, though. You also need to make sure that your entire online profile showcases your expertise.
Build a better profile, and you will be more likely to find better clients and higher paying gigs.
Use a Professional Image
One of the best things you can do is to present a professional image. This means your avatar needs to be professional. At least, it needs to match the type of work that you do. Since I bill myself as a freelance journalist, I like my avatar to look straightforward and professional.
I do have some freelance professional friends who do work with celebrities, so their avatars, while mostly professional, also include shots of them in swanky settings.
It's also a good idea to use the same avatar across your online profiles. That way, when clients come looking for you, they recognize you around the Internet. Choose a picture that projects the image you want to convey, and use it regularly.
Choose Appropriate Keywords
Consider the keywords you want to use in your profile. Your area of expertise should be highlighted with keywords, as well as your profession.
The words you use can also present you as an expert. I've made it a point to refer to myself as a journalist. You can use your credentials and advanced degrees as keywords as well. I have a M.A. in journalism, and that is one of the reasons I use “journalist” as one of my keywords.
Other keywords indicate the topics you cover or the services you provide. My profile is clear that I write about finance, and that I've covered technology and science in the past. But, mostly, I focus on keywords that have to do with freelance, and financial topics. If, as a freelance professional, you provide social media marketing, SEO services, graphic design, or anything else, it's important to use those keywords. You're more likely to come up in a search. This can be especially important on LinkedIn and similar professional sites where there is a special search function.
Even if you aren't high in a web search, your profile on different social networks can be of use. I'm regularly contacted by clients who find my profile on LinkedIn or Twitter. With the right keywords and a professional image, you can quickly make a good impression.
Put Your Freelance Professional Qualifications High Up on the Profile
Make sure that your most important qualifications are higher up on your profile. That way, they are the first items seen. Keep it short and simple. An online profile, whether it's Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Twitter, usually provides you the chance to offer a one-sentence bio. Use this chance, early on with your profile, to succinctly share information about what you do.
This is your opportunity to offer an elevator pitch or personal statement in written form.
When possible, put your qualifications and pertinent keywords as high in your profile as possible. You only have a couple of seconds to make a good impression.
Make it Easy to Contact You
Finally, your online profile should have contact information that potential clients can use. My email address is fairly easy to find. Additionally, when you have a profile on sites like LinkedIn, it's possible for people to send you messages. I've also received job offers via @ reply on Twitter. One of the reasons to be active on certain social media is so that others can contact you — even if they don't email you directly.
Look over your online profiles. Spruce them up to focus on your expertise, and add keywords if you are missing them. With a a few tweaks, you could see in an increase in job offers, as well as justify charging higher rates.