As a freelance writer, potential clients want to see samples of your work. They want to check out your style and tone, and make sure you can write well. To land high-paying clients, you need a portfolio as a freelance writer.
A portfolio is simply a place to house your best writing samples. It’s something you can send to people who ask to see what you’ve done.
While having a freelance writing portfolio is a must, what that portfolio looks like is up to you. You get to decide on the format and layout. You can be as creative or standard as you’d like.
Today I want to share three different methods to build your portfolio as a freelance writer. All of these are an effective way to showcase your favorite pieces of content.
- A One-Pager
- A Hire-Me Page
- A Contently Portfolio
In the rest of the article, I walk you through the pros and cons of each of these options, along with any associated costs, so you can decide which route will be best for you.
And remember, your portfolio is not set in stone. You can update it or go with a completely different option in the future. The goal for now is to create your first portfolio so you have something to share when you pitch for gigs.
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1. Freelance Writing Portfolio Option #1: A One-Pager
A one-pager isn’t fancy, but it is a simple way to share your work. It’s a Google or Word document that you can download as a PDF and easily share with others. Ideally you want this to be housed online, with its own unique URL. That way you can direct people to your portfolio.
What Should You Include on a One-Pager?
Your one-pager can include whatever information you want. Here are some basic ideas to get you started:
- A headshot (not a selfie)
- A brief bio
- Rate information
- The services you offer
- Your main writing niches
- Links to some published samples
Beyond the basics, you could consider including:
- Statistics about marketing with written content
- A call-to-action (CTA) at the end to encourage viewers to get in touch
- Testimonials from previous clients
Since you are creating this in a word processing application, take time to format it nicely. You can bring out your creative skills if you’d like, or just use a basic format. Let your personality and passion shine through your one-pager.
Costs Associated with a One-Pager Freelance Writing Portfolio
If you use a program you already have, or a free word processor like Google Docs, you can create a one-pager for free.
To make it shareable via link, you will need to upload it to a storage site like Google Drive (also free.) If you have Dropbox, you can use that as well. Then you can direct people to the link to access the PDF.
Benefits of a One-Pager
There are several benefits of using this style of portfolio.
- You can update it easily.
- If you need a physical copy, you can print one out.
- You can get super creative if you want.
Drawbacks to Using a One-Pager
A one-pager isn’t perfect. There are some limitations to this type of portfolio.
- You will need to create a new PDF copy each time you make changes. This will likely change the link.
- You will need to consistently update it as your rates change, if you change writing niches, or if you need to swap out your samples.
- Some clients may not be familiar with this format or expecting it.
2. A Hire Me Page
If you decide to create a freelance writing website, you will need to secure your own URL. To be professional, you will need to create a self-hosted site. (I recommend using FastComet.)
I walk you through how to create a blog in this post, and you can use the same set of steps to create your website. You can just start with a simple static homepage for now that serves as a hire me page. As you gain confidence with WordPress, you can add additional features.
What Should You Include on a Hire-Me Page?
It’s important to note that your hire me page isn’t about you. It’s about your potential client. Your goal should be to make them feel welcomed, assure them they’re in the right spot, and intrigue them enough that they read through your services and take action.
You can accomplish this in a variety of ways. Here are some things you can include:
- A compelling headline
- Common questions about working with a freelance writer
- Benefits of regularly publishing content that may interest the prospect
- Your writing niches
- Links to your best work
- A headshot (this shows prospects you’re a real person)
- Social proof (such as an “As Seen On” section)
- A way to get in touch with you
As you expand your website, you could consider including:
- A blog to showcase your writing
- Testimonials from clients
- A contact page to make it simple for potential clients to connect directly from your site
Costs Associated with a Hire Me Page Freelance Writing Portfolio
Setting up your own website isn’t free. It will cost you about $100 for the first year of hosting. You can reduce the cost per year by paying for multiple years at once, but there is still a cost. And you will need to pay for this each year, or your site won’t stay live.
With FastComet, you get a URL for life so you won’t have to worry about paying a renewal fee on that. If you use a different hosting company, remember to add that fee to your total to see what you will need to pay each year.
You can opt to purchase a premium theme, though I recommend starting with a free one. There are plenty of free options to choose from.
Benefits of a Hire Me Page
Having your own website shows that you are serious about your business and willing to invest in it. It’s professional looking. There are also other benefits, including:
- It shows you have knowledge of the backend of WordPress (which some clients may prefer)
- The link remains the same even when you update it
- You can customize it through themes and make it look exactly how you want
Drawbacks to Using a Hire Me Page
A Hire Me page isn’t your golden ticket to landing high-paying freelance writing jobs. You don’t need one to get started. And, it does come with some drawbacks:
- It’s not free.
- There is a steep learning curve if you aren’t familiar with WordPress already
- You can have tech issues to solve, which can cause a headache. Thankfully FastComet has a great support team.
3. A Contently Portfolio
Contently is a content marketing platform where you can create a free writing portfolio. Once you create an account, you can link to your samples. Then you can update your profile with a bio, headline, and more.
One element that sets Contently apart is that they use the portfolios to match their clients with freelance writers. I’ve heard of many freelancers (especially in the personal finance niche) who have landed good paying gigs through their Contently page.
What Should You Include on Your Contently Profile?
Contently has a standard format for each of its freelancers. This means your portfolio with them will include:
- A headline
- Links to your social profiles and website (if applicable)
- A headshot
- A brief bio
- Your skills
- Links to your work (called projects)
- Images for your projects (if you have them)
Costs Associated with a Contently Freelance Writing Portfolio
Contently is free to use. You can register and upload your samples without an associated cost.
Benefits of a Contently Portfolio
Contently is an aesthetically pleasing platform. Their freelance writing portfolios are streamlined and look nice.
Additional benefits include:
- You have a static link to share with prospects.
- You can showcase your best work at the top.
- It can be easily updated any time.
- The platform is user friendly.
- There’s the potential to get recruited for writing projects by Contently.
Drawbacks to Using a Contently Portfolio
Contently is beautiful, but it’s not perfect. There are some drawbacks to this platform, such as:
- It’s not customizable. You are limited to the options available.
- You need to frequently update it to stay relevant and increase your chances of getting noticed by Contently editors.
- Not all photos for projects are automatically detected. You need to manually upload photos for each one.
You Need to Build a Freelance Writing Portfolio
An online portfolio is not optional as a freelance writer. In this post, I shared three viable options for creating yours.
Take time to evaluate each option and decide what you feel comfortable with as you look for gigs as a beginning freelancer. You may decide to try more than one (or even all three) of the ideas to see which one feels best for your business.
As you gain experience, remember to go back and update your portfolio. Purge any samples that aren’t high quality. Now, go create a thriving freelancing business. You can do this.