Do Freelance Editors NEED a Website?

Sophie Playle

As a freelance editor, do you absolutely need to have a website? The short answer is no. Yet I’m going to argue why every editorial business owner should have a website, because there are a lot of awesome benefits to be had.

When it comes to finding work as an editorial business owner, there are many paths you can take – and not all those paths require you to have a website. However, claiming your own corner of the interwebs will provide you with many great advantages.

Who are your clients?

You might not think having a website is important because you work with a certain type of client. It’s true that not all types of client will actively search for freelance editors on the web, but that’s a short-sighted way of thinking about the purpose of your site.

If you work with publishing houses, large corporate clients or the public sector …

… your potential clients will likely use directories or recommendations from their colleagues to find editors. Either that, or they’ll work with editors who have been in touch with them – through pitching or networking – and who have made a good impression.

These clients may well visit your website to learn more about you before they decide to hire you.

If you don’t have a website, they might choose another editor over you – one who has a website. Why? Because the other editor has used their site to further showcase their skills and knowledge. Their website has helped them stand out in the client’s mind, and has also made them feel like a more knowable (and therefore trustworthy) entity.

If you work with authors (fiction or non-fiction), students or small businesses …

… your potential clients will most likely use search engines to find an editor or proofreader. Which means they simply won’t find you if you don’t have a website. And if they find out about you through other channels – such as social media or printed flyers – they’re still likely to want to find out more about you by looking online.

Without a website, you’ll be invisible to a lot of these potential clients.

Which is obviously a bad thing. Most people look online to find service providers these days. If you’re not visible online, you simply won’t be considered.

Be visible – now and forever

You need to give clients a reason to notice you.

A good web presence is an effective way to gain attention and stand out from the crowd.

There are lots of places you can showcase your business online – in directories or on social media, for example. But it makes sense to have a corner of the web that you control (i.e. your own website). Who knows whether LinkedIn or Facebook will still be around in another five years, or whether they’ll change in a way that will bury your previously visible business into obscurity.

And even if your current client base mostly finds you through other channels now, what if you decide to change your business model later? You’ll be glad to have already set up your website – which you’ll simply be able to tweak to reflect your evolving business. (I have first-hand experience of this!)

Did you know that one of Google’s ranking signals is the age of your website?

That means the older the site, the more Google is likely to trust its content. So you should set up your website as soon as you can, especially if your client base is likely to use a search engine to find you.

Attract the right clients

It will be so much easier to find professional, reputable clients if you have a good website.

Having a website tailored to your services and niches – and that features your own personality, voice and values (your brand) – will enable you to attract the clients who are right for you.

A website provides you with a platform to truly showcase your business.

It’s a place you can go into detail about your services and working methods, present a portfolio and testimonials, and reveal a little bit of your personality too. All this will give your potential clients the information they need to make an informed decision about hiring you – before you’ve even exchanged a word. That’s a valuable system to have set up.

Creating a website isn’t hard

A lot of editorial business owners are put off by the amount of time, effort and money involved in setting up a website. But it really isn’t that hard – and once you’ve put the work in upfront, a website doesn’t take much time, effort or money to maintain. You can then use your website in your wider marketing strategy to attract more and better clients.

It’s a no-brainer, really!

If you want help creating a website for your editorial business that will encourage more (and better) clients to hire you, take a look at my self-paced online course: The Visible Editor.

Sophie Playleis a professional fiction editor. She specialises in developmental editing, critiquing and copy-editing, and loves working with authors and publishers who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction are her genres of choice. She's an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and has a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway, University of London. Find out more:

Sign up to Liminal Letters

Insights into the world of fiction, from the desk of an editor

Editorial considerations, creative revelations and the occasional existential lamentation – sharing my experiences and personal recommendations exclusively with you.