How Web Designers and WordPress Developers Can Get Clients Online

I have worked with over 200 clients who’ve contacted me though this site since 2006. It always amazes me how WordPress developers especially don’t use WordPress to get more work.

finding clients around the world with digital technology

Stick with me on this one. There’s a lot of good stuff here about what works NOW, even though SEO, Google and online behavior has changed so much in the last decade.

Keyword research

Have a look at Google’s Keyword Planner tool and find out which keywords with “buying intent” you want to target. Here are a few examples on the number of searches per month certain keywords with “buying intent” get:

Keyword with “buying intent”Searches/month
web designer london590
freelance web developer london140
wordpress developer new york10
web designer scarborough30

The above keywords are what potential clients could key in to search engines. This is what I mean by “buying intent”. The keywords you should target will depend on a number of factors, for example:

  • how would you describe yourself (designer, developer, etc.)
  • your geographical location
  • is there are demand for your services in your location (see keyword research above)
  • what’s the competition like? (google your keywords and see if you’re likely to be able to get on the first page of search results.

This is just the first step of getting clients online.

Put the keywords with “buying intent” into your home page’s title

Let’s say your name is Leslie Othalthwaite and your website’s domain is LeslieOthalthwaite.com, what do you put as your site’s title? Leslie Othalthwaite? No! The domain is enough. Go WordPress > Settings > General and enter the keywords with “buying intent” into your Site Title.

Now the search engines are more likely to return your site in searches for those keywords and people can see what you do from your site’s title which, don’t forget, is what they see in the search results along with the meta description.

laptop with the word blog on it

Put these keywords in your blog posts’ titles

But it doesn’t end there. You can put these keywords in your blog posts’s headings and subheadings. For example:

  • “The life of a London freelance web designer”
  • “How much freelance WordPress developers charge”
  • “How to plan web design and development projects for corporations”

The above three blog post title ideas have three things in common:

  • They target potential clients with keywords (with “buying intent”)
  • They target potential clients with the content (they will be interested in reading the content and therefore could  be interested in working with you)
  • They are clickable and shareable on social media
  • They are quite specific and not general

Try to follow the above four rules when writing some of your blog posts.

Make your blog posts specific not general

“How to run a WordPress web design business” is better than “How to run a business”. The former will get you more traffic from search engines because it’s more likely to come up in searches. The former will get you more interest from social media because WordPress web designers will be interested. The latter doesn’t do anything for anyone. It’s too general.

You will help more people by being specific rather than general.

glasses to illustrate geekiness

Help other web designers

Write blog post tutorials and shoot video tutorials to help other web designers. Make these specific as possible as well. For example, “How to change the domain of a WordPress website with the help of cPanel” will help others trying to perform the same task. This will increase your authority and standing in the community. Other designers and developers will get to know you and this will help you build relationships with fellow professionals in your field. They may link to you. Over time, they will feel comfortable recommending you to their clients when they have too much work on.

But you can also find clients with web design tutorials. For example, I have found clients with my post and video about changing the domain of a WordPress website with cPanel. People who want to perform this task will search Google to find out how to do it. Some will eventually ask someone else to do it for them and they are likely to employ the services of the person who made the best tutorial.

So don’t make your material “web designer only”. Use a combination of technical as well as everyday language. Make your tutorials accessible to the layperson. Don’t be too geeky!

Another example of this is my web design questionnaire. I created this using GravityForms for other designers to use with their clients but I’ve had loads of queries from prospects as a result.

Video / YouTube

But it’s not all about blogging. I would urge web designers and developers to get involved in other media and forms of content distribution. It will help you going forward.

Purchase decisions tend to be emotional. The reason a potential client decides to contact you may not be because you are the best at what you do. For example, a client of mine contacted me because she’d seen me talking to a female client on a YouTube video and thought I related well with women(!)

me and woman on youtube

We may not be able to have control over the reasons someone has to work with us but we can vary the type and platform of the content we put out, so that we increase our exposure and the likelihood of being contacted.

Authority

Authority is of greater and greater importance online. Setting up Google authorship on your WordPress blog is essential but only one of several steps you must take to show your authority. Other ways to increase authority in the eyes of the search engines and the wider web include these:

  • Blog regularly
  • Comment on other relevant blogs
  • Make sure your blog posts can be easily shared on social media
  • Create in-depth profiles on all the major social networks
  • Forge long-term business relationships with other designers and developers online and off

Authority takes time to achieve. Take it one step at a time and concentrate on the areas where you’re getting the most traction. All this blogging, sharing, linking and engagement within the community of designers and developers will, in time, get you links and social signals to boost your authority.

Go local and responsive

Some people like to do business locally. So, if you haven’t got yourself on Google Maps right now, you really should.

And if you haven’t got a mobile responsive website right now, you really should as well.

Call to action

Every website should have a call to action. Every blog post should have a call to action.

loud hailer illustrating call to action

Consider having a “Hire me” rather than – or as well as – a “Contact me” button or link on your website. Add a link to your contact page at the end of a blog post where you’ve given extra special value. Even better, add a contact form at the end of a blog post where prospects can add an email address and click a submit button. You can use GravityForms to add this email address to an email subscription list, if you want.

You can do it!

You can find people online who will want to hire you for web design or WordPress development. Keep blogging and be specific with your blog post titles. Do something everyday to increase your authority in the web design and WordPress niche.

What do you do to find clients? What did you think of my ideas? Let us know in the comments.

This was part of a presentation I did for the London WordPress Meetup group. Here are the slides:

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Comments

  1. says

    Helping other developers and writing specific posts are 2 awesome pieces of advice in a power post Rob! Simply give freely and you’ll receive more easily. Clients seek out free givers persistently, so don’t be stingy with your talents. Help out some folks for free and you’ll find more paid work than you’re prepared to handle. Karma :) Get specific to send a loud and clear message to people about what you do and how it can help them.

    I’m sharing this post on kingged(dot)com to boost your traffic ;)

  2. says

    Hey Rob, you just gave me a HUGE idea about how to properly use my website for local clients and how to give them more value and become an authority at the same time.

    Can’t believe this was right in front of me and I still couldn’t see it myself, thanks a million brother!

    – Sergio.

  3. says

    Hi Rob, the Google Keywords link appears to be broken. I’ve found it via Google Adwords, but it keeps asking me to set a daily budget?? Where did you find the above table showing buyer intent? Cheers Martin

  4. says

    Great tips for those seeking clients. Also periodically writing WordPress tips on your blog can do wonders as far as getting clients is concerned as prospective clients will view you as an expert. Out of curiosity, do you also promote your services off line? What are your thoughts on having a price list?

    • says

      Yes, by blogging you are considered by some to be an expert. We are all experts.

      The only offline promotion I do is going to business meetups in London which I enjoy and would do anyway. I don’t advise publishing your prices but you would maybe want to put a minimum price for web design as that might get rid of the “cheap” clients.

      I hope that answers your questions, Shalu. :)

  5. says

    Hi Rob,

    Many thanks for this post. However, I have a question… On my website, I help clients write content salespages, and do some SEO stuff. But am also skilled in web design as I have designed a couple of websites for myself and a few clients.

    My site name is http://www.MyFreelanceHaven.com. Would you suggest I add a page for web design as well or create an entirely new site strictly for web design? Pls, I am thinking of which will work best with clients. Pls advise me, sir!

    • says

      Hello Adeniyi, your question is really asking what sort of business you are in and I can’t answer that for you. And it also depends on what your clients are looking for. I would experiment and see what helps. You should taylor your site to the demands of your customers. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  6. says

    Thanks for the great advice, Rob. I think I followed all these tips from elsewhere in your portfolio! Maybe, though, you’ve prompted me to revisit my site’s title keywords. Great advice as ever. Garry

  7. says

    Hey Rob! It’s great to know your personal experience and knowledge in the post. I do not know much about how to impress the search engines. I read the point that to increase the authority we should use “Blog regularly”. Do you think that only posting regular blogs on a website will increase the reputation or either I need to promote blogs by other means too and how to do that effectively? Thanks!

    • says

      Good question, Michelle. I would say that if you had to do one thing then “blog regularly” would be it. However, of course, it’s better if you can do as much as you can to promote your site.

      The most beneficial way you can do this is by forming long term business relationships, partnerships and friendships with people who are interested in a similar area. If you nurture these relationships they will reward you with links and social shares. Also, you can maintain profiles on the major social networks and promote your posts there along with other good relevant content. You could also do guest blogging.

      But, relationships are the most important thing.

  8. says

    Thanks Rob, some great ideas and advice as per usual. I personally as of yet haven’t done some of what you outline in your blog post, so it’s a good reminder for me to find time and get it done. Shame I don’t live in London as it would have been good to have gone to one of your meetups.

    • says

      Hey Mark, I glad some of the points here were a good reminder for you, Mark. Yes, shame you don’t get down to London much. But you could check MeetUp for business groups in your area or start your own if they don’t exist.

  9. says

    Rob,
    this is a post of great value from an experienced freelancer like you.
    also the slide share widget as above has no content.
    regards
    vinodh

  10. says

    Rob,
    I have to thank you. because, after seeing this tutorial I changed the title text
    of my personal website as per this post on buying intent. I recently made a new website in wordpress just for getting leads from potential service buyers for my skill set.
    I am not a wordpress developer but an experienced programmer.
    Today I got call from authorized representative of service buyer from abroad
    for my exact skill set. I feel thrilled. This is even before I could write blog posts for my skill set. website has no content other than few pages detailing my skillset .
    leads coming after just after title text change as per this post.
    so I am certain that your advice helped me.
    thats the power of wordpress and learning from a teacher like you.
    regards
    vinodh

    • says

      Hello Vinodh, it’s amazing how many people don’t do this and put their name as the title of their website. These are the most important words on your website and it makes sense to put “java web developer bangalore” (for example).

      Be careful not to “keyword stuff” don’t put the same keyword in there too many times, for example.

      I’m delighted that you’re getting contacts from your website, Vinodh.

  11. says

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    Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I am satisfied to find a lot of useful info here within the post, we need
    work out extra strategies in this regard, thank yyou for sharing.
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