In 2021, you no longer need offices, staff, or even capital to start a business. You can in fact use a state of the art website builder to create a side hustle that is entirely online. With the low costs of starting a website, even if you pay for a domain name and premium plan, you can get your business on the online map in no time at all.
A good side hustle takes advantage of the skills you already have. It requires nothing but your ingenuity in finding customers and creating digital content for them. But in order to attract high-paying clients, you’re going to need to sell yourself as a business.
This is why a website is so important, even though you could technically advertise your services on freelance databases. A website positions you as an expert in your field, giving potential clients that all-important confidence in your abilities.
Starting a professional website for your side hustle in 2021 is easy. Simply follow these 5 steps.
1. Brainstorm branding ideas
Before you actually start working on the website, you should be clear on exactly how it will represent you. For this reason, you need to work on branding from the get-go. This includes finding a name for your business, creating a logo, and writing a mission statement.
By doing this first, you ensure that the domain name you choose is both memorable and good for search engine optimization (SEO). You create a color palette from your logo rather than having to force your design to fit in with the theme you already chose. You also know exactly what you want to highlight about yourself on your website.
Once you have a strong idea of how you want to brand your business, it is tempting to jump right in. However, you should do some research first. If you haven’t checked whether your domain name is available, that is where you should start.
Then, go ahead and look at the websites of other individuals and businesses who are ranking high in Google searches. Compare your ideas to their execution. Try and get a feel for what they did right, and how you want to be different.
During this research process, you may find that some of your ideas just won’t work in reality. This is fine – you should not get so connected to an idea that you will push ahead with it even with the knowledge that it is unlikely to work.
3. Choose a theme
With everything you know, both about your own brand and the success of others, it is now time to choose a theme on your chosen website builder. Themes are not just about aesthetics. Rather, they provide a template for your website, with the layout you need in order to best present your services.
Again, consider the themes of those businesses you found in your research. Think about what they got right and how you can emulate their success.
4. Take professional photos
As a business of one, you are by definition the face of your business. While you may be tempted to hide behind stock photos and cute graphics, the reality is that clients are more likely to trust a real person. This is why you should get professional headshots taken.
Even if you cringe at the thought of your face staring back at you from the screen, professional photos will boost your confidence, as you see yourself looking better than ever.
When you actually interact with clients, you’re probably not going to see them face-to-face, so don’t worry that doing yourself up with makeup and a haircut will sell a “fake” version of you. After all, it is still you, and you should by all means feel good about looking so good.
5. Write copy that follows SEO guidelines
Writing copy for your own website is never easy, even if you are selling yourself as a writer. It is perhaps especially difficult for writers, who are best at writing about everyone else!
But your copy does not need to be poetic or inspire goosebumps on the flesh of your potential clients. Rather, it simply needs to draw them in by getting you ranked on search engines.
Following SEO guidelines is absolutely vital. This does not mean packing your copy with keywords, as search engines are a lot smarter than they once were. Well-written prose with keywords in context, as well as variations on your keywords, will give your website the best chance of coming up in searches for your skillset.
It is, of course, important that your copy sells you as the perfect candidate, but clients are looking for someone to get the job done, and flowery language can actually be a turn-off, even if the writing is incredible.
By following all the above steps, you will have a website ready to start drawing in prospective clients. You will have positioned your side hustle as a legitimate business, with you as its confident face.