Update: Please Digg this post. Thanks.
The other day I wrote a post about someone I know who runs a profitable web design company but knows very little about web design. She’s successful because she knows how to promote her company really well. And while I don’t know how she promotes her company, I do know the things that I’ve done to promote myself as a freelancer.
1. Start A Blog
Get your own domain name, install WordPress, and write good content about web design. Not only will it show potential clients that you know what you’re talking about but it will also let them get to know you as a person. A blog is a great way to improve your search engine rankings and it can double as a portfolio too. Clients always ask to see my portfolio (which isn’t that great) but will hire me because they like my blog even if though they aren’t too impressed with my portfolio. Having a portfolio is important but having a good blog has been even more helpful to me as a freelancer.
2. Submit Your Site to CSS Galleries
There are way too many CSS galleries out there right now but they are good for getting a few more visitors to your site. If you get listed on sites like CSS Beauty, Stylegala, or CSS Mania you’ll get plenty of visitors for a few days and it’s also a great ego booster. This site got listed on CSS Mania last month and that day I received an extra 590 visitors and atleast a few of those visitors have stuck around.
3. Create a Theme or Plugin for WordPress
I recently created the Deep Blue theme and so far it has had over 1,000 downloads. Each site that uses the theme provides a link back to this site so if everyone who downloaded the theme used it for their blog then I would have 1,000 more incoming links. This gives me a significant amount of unique visitors daily, it helps my search engine rankings and gives me one more project that I can add to my portfolio.
4. Comment on Other Blogs
Post relevant comments that will add to the conversation on other blogs. The first comment is the most read comment so you are likely to get more visitors if you’re one of the first people to leave a comment. If the discussion continues repeat commenters tend to grab my attention more then those who comment once and leave. Always include your website in your comment and make sure you’re comment doesn’t make you look like an idiot
5. Check Job Boards
Some of my favorite sites to look for jobs include the Looking To Hire section of SitePoint, CSS Monster, Craigslist, and Programmer Meet Designer. All of them are updated often and regularly have some job that I feel like I can do. There are a number of other sites for freelancers that require you to pay to join but I’ve found that these sites are pretty good and they’re free. If you ever see a job that you know you can do, always email the client to introduce yourself and find out more. Even if you don’t get the job atleast you tried.
6. Participate on Forums
Much like commenting on blogs, every time you post something on a forum you can include a link to your website in your signature. The more helpful you are and the more often you post the better. People will start to notice you and will seek out your help. My favorite forum: SitePoint.
7. Get Involved in a Community
What more can I say about this that I haven’t already said. Find a Refresh or BarCamp near your city. If you don’t have one, contact some local web design companies and start one. You won’t regret it. I promise. This has been the most helpful resource for me as a freelancer and a great way to promote myself.
These are some of the things that I have done to promote myself as a web designer and I hope they can help you too.
Gee that looks inspiring.
Why can’t we have designers like these.
London got attacked by the designer of slashdot.
Some good concepts here – I was contemplating playing around with WordPress but now I think I will 🙂
Posted by eddmun on Aug 15, 2006.
Great article. I found a few links I didn’t know about. I was playing with the idea of WordPress theme but now I am sure I’ll do it.
Posted by klevo on Aug 16, 2006.
eddmun: Why can’t we have designers like these? Because we’re England, and hardly anyone interacts. We all just stay away and do our stuff 🙁
Oh and that Refresh London site looks amazing!
Posted by Robert Day on Aug 16, 2006.
Hey klevo! I’m glad you found something useful. If you need any help with the WordPress theme just let me know.
Posted by Mattbob on Aug 16, 2006.