The internet has opened up new marketing channels for freelancers as well as making the joys of working from home a real possibility for tens of thousands of UK freelancers. We hope this guide will give you a good introduction to the online side of your business and show you some possibilities the net opens up for your company.
An online presence (that you make prospects and clients aware of) is a crucial element of your marketing mix, both to showcase your work and to communicate with prospects and clients.
Freelance Alliance offers an online portfolio for a small monthly fee and has been launched to give freelancers a place to showcase their work with no fuss.
There are a number of ways to expand your online marketing efforts by supplying content to relevant websites where they credit you and your freelance company, online directories, and participating in professional forums.
When choosing your company name it's worthwhile checking both Companies House and WHOIS records at the same time to check the availability of your preferred trading name and corresponding domain name. You could also check some of the providers of pre-registered domains if your first choice is not available. Although this option is not as cheap as registering your own domain name, a lot of the better domains have already been bagged by these providers. Some give the ability to type in keywords and they will return the available domains that contain the keyword. Other services exist so that you can monitor domain names that have once been registered but the owner has not renewed them. Every day hundreds, if not thousands, of new domains come back to the marketplace for you to register.
Registering a domain name does not necessarily provide you with hosting and email service provision. A .co.uk domain can usually be registered for around £5 per year whereas a hosting package to provide you with emails and web hosting can cost from £25 a year upwards. The difference in pricing is usually due to the amount of storage space required, the number of email addresses allowed and the amount of data transfer per month. As a rough guide, a fairly busy site may serve around 5,000 pages per month with a data transfer around 100Mb of data.
Company law requires that your company name, place of registration, registered number and registered office address is on your website and emails.
With a live website, you may wish to begin promoting your site to search engines to attract potential customers who may use search engines to source the services you offer.
A recent trend in online promotion is the use of Blogs to spread your creative word. A blog offers the opportunity to openly promote any personal projects or client work that your client is happy you mention on your blog.
Blogs are particularly useful for generating responses and feedback on your articles. In the true style of social marketing, its success lies in communal participation, shared ideas and values.
As a creative personality behind your company blogging can offer a cost-effective means of online promotion. Regularly refreshed content is likely to be found by search engines while you build up an audience base, carve out a personality for your company, establish yourself as an expert in your field and actively manage your reputation.