A young man sits at a table in an empty but brightly lit cafe and types on a laptop. The man has a shaved head and a dark beard, and he wears a chambray shirt over a white T-shirt.
In addition to samples of your writing, your portfolio should include testimonials from satisfied clients and pictures to break up the text. — Getty Images/jeffbergen

Freelancer writers have a harder time showcasing their work online than freelance designers or photographers. Writing is, technically, a visual medium, but few website visitors want to spend extensive time reading blog posts, case studies, and other freelance writing work samples. Because only 28% of words are read on the average web page, building an online portfolio for your writing business takes some strategy. These tips can help you create a digital portfolio that highlights your work and brings in new business.

Help out recruiters by anticipating their needs

Recruiters and hiring managers have to wade through hundreds, if not thousands, of freelance applications for each open position. Their goal is to find the right person to do the job as quickly as possible. Therefore, create an online portfolio that helps your audience clearly understand what you have to offer.

Rather than spend time on details like design colors, typeface, and line spacing, make sure your writing portfolio shows the services you offer, your writing skills and expertise, and clients or industries with which you’ve worked in the past. Tom Stoddart, a writer at copyblogger, says that if recruiters can’t immediately find this information, they are likely to just pass over your application and move on.

[Read more: 10 Ways to Make a Living as a Writer]

Choose the right domain and hosting platform

There are a few options for finding the right place to build your platform. The first option is to get a domain name and build your portfolio from scratch or a template. Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress are all good options for DIY online portfolios. Many of these sites offer ways to purchase domain names, too.

Choose writing samples that are relevant to your niche and which demonstrate your writing skills.

Marian Volkwyn, Rock Content

Some platforms offer specific templates for writers to display their work. Journo Portfolio, Carbonmade, Contently, and Writerfolio all offer templates designed with creative professionals in mind. These sites may let you bring in a preferred domain name; otherwise, your site address will be something like “yourname.writerfolio.com.”

Lastly, dozens of freelance sites allow you to build your portfolio directly in a profile that you use to apply to different opportunities. Upwork, Guru, and The Mom Project offer detailed profiles where you can share work, client testimonials, and list specific skills. Of course, you won’t have a unique domain name — your portfolio will be connected to that one database of jobs. On one hand, this makes it easy to apply for opportunities, but on the other, it can limit your potential outreach.

Select your best writing samples

While it may be tempting to post links to everything you’ve written, narrow it down to the very best options to help recruiters understand your skills. “Don’t just throw stuff at the wall and see what will stick,” wrote Marian Volkwyn at Rock Content. “Instead, carefully curate your best pieces. Choose writing samples that are relevant to your niche and which demonstrate your writing skills.”

It’s often helpful to include metrics or business results along with each piece. If relevant, share how your writing sample contributed to higher SEO results, higher conversion rates, or more engagement on social media for the client.

Include client testimonials

Don’t let your writing speak for itself — share what past partners and clients have loved about working with you! You can ask clients to write a recommendation on LinkedIn and then reshare it on your website. Or, send out a short survey at the end of each freelancing contract to get recent material you can use to promote your business.

Add some visuals

Remember, the average attention span of a human is about eight seconds. You will need some visual elements to break up text and hold the attention of your site visitor. Consider using stock images, company logos, and templated elements (like a “Read more” button) to make your website easily navigable and visually appealing. And use SEO best practices to keep your website’s layout organized and easy to read.

Last but not least: Don’t forget to add a contact page and a few calls to action throughout your site! Make sure it’s easy for someone to get in touch with their next proposal.

[Read more: How to Ensure Your Business Website Is SEO-Optimized]

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