Why Getting Your First Client Is Difficult
If you’re just starting out, getting your first client can be difficult. That’s because you don’t have any portfolio and social proof under your belt and you appear as a much more risky option to your potential clients. However, everyone has to start somewhere. In this article, I will share my tips on how to get your first client as a freelance WordPress developer fast.
Tip 1: Be Strategic And Patient
If you’re just starting out as a WordPress expert, the number 1 tip I have for you is to be strategic and patient. What I mean by that is that you have to think for the long term instead of rushing out and getting any job that you can get. Think about an industry, type of business or technology that you’d like to work in in the future.
You need to start building your portfolio in a way that you can leverage later on. It doesn’t make much sense to build a portfolio of WordPress websites that you’ve built if you want to be an Android developer in the future or to build React.js apps if you want to be a PHP backend developer.
Once you have a clear vision of what you would like to be in the future, you can start thinking about where your potential clients might be and how you reach them.
At this stage, you won’t have much leverage in negotiations, so may need to work for cheap or for free. Do NOT accept long-term projects (1+ month) and work for free. Think about smaller projects (1-3 weeks) like small websites that you can build quickly and add them to your web developer portfolio.
Tip 2: Go To Places Where Your Potential Clients Are
Once you know who your potential clients are, you need to start going to places where they hang out. Go out there and make genuine connections with them. In other words, try to be helpful and build relationships. Don’t spam them and offer them your services in the first message that you exchange. You can make a soft offer in the middle of a conversation if you feel that they may need your help, but don’t be pushy or salesy. You can also tell them to set up a meeting with you where you can offer some free tips for free, and advertise your skills to do a paid task. It’s really easy to set this up on your website with the help of a WordPress booking plugin.
While these relationships may not get you a paid project in 1 day or 1 week, they will be great for you for long-term success.
On the other hand, if you’re clear on who your ideal client is and what problem you can help them solve, you have a good chance of landing your first client if you talk to enough people.
After you have completed the job, ask the client if they’re satisfied and if they would be willing to give you a testimonial. Ideally, you should strive for a video testimonial, but a piece of written text should do fine as well.
Start collecting those as they will play a huge role in helping you get more clients in the future.
Tip 3: Use Job Boards
If you’re just starting out, consider using job boards. These websites contain job listings of companies that are actively looking for a developer and sometimes they’re searching for an entry-level applicant. Make sure you have a good CV and you can apply to these jobs.
Tip 4: Use Freelancing Platforms
Another good way to find your first client is to leverage freelancing platforms with a big reach like Upwork.com, Fiverr.com. These platforms have a huge reach and popularity and many potential clients go there. The downside is that there is a lot of competition so you would have to be super persistent.
On the other hand, there are platforms like Toptal.com or Codeable.io that test the experts that they let into the platform. It can be harder to get accepted, especially if you’re a beginner but once you’re there, it’s much easier to get clients compared to other platforms. That’s because the platform is not as saturated as other platforms. The rates are usually also much higher than on other freelancing platforms.
Tip 5: Use Google AdWords
If you have some spare money and a website, you can try using Google AdWords to get potential clients to contact you. In my opinion, this strategy can be very useful if you target less competitive keywords or a narrower audience. For example, instead of paying for ads for a “WordPress developer” keyword, which is a very broad one, you can focus on a specific technology or a plugin that you want to get clients in.
A good example might be to target “WooCommerce developer” if you’re good with WooCommerce plugin.
Or, you can also focus on a local search if you’re not in a giant city like New York where the competition is ruthless. If you live in a smaller city, try targeting a keyword like “WordPress developer YOUR CITY”, or “WordPress Developer near me” and only limiting your ads to display when someone searches from your location.
In order to make the ads work well, you need to have a good website with a clear value proposition that states what you do and who you help.
Be careful with the ads and don’t spend huge amounts on them if you’re just starting out.
Tip 6: Use Local SEO
Optimizing for local SEO is another great strategy to get clients in your city or area. You need to create a Google My Business listing and optimize it to get more leads and sales. It doesn’t cost you anything except for time and it pays out in the long run very well.
Another thing that you need to do to become visible in Google search in your area is to optimize your website. Make sure to include your target keywords like “WordPress developer MY CITY” in your <title> tag and multiple times on your website. Make sure your website loads quickly and the user experience is great.
Besides that, I highly recommend adding your business to various listing websites like Yelp, UpCity and others. This will help you build relevant links to your website and make Google rank it higher.
Tip 7: Networking
Networking is a good way to build relationships with your potential clients as well as business partners. Don’t underestimate it. While it may not be the fastest way to get clients immediately, it will definitely pay out in the long run. Becoming more well known and getting access to other business people is what brings the opportunities to your life and your business.
Go to local events where your potential clients may be, reach out to people on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn and start growing your network. Listen to people, empathize with their problems and when appropriate offer your help. You never know when the right opportunity will come up.
As you can see, getting your first client as a WordPress developer isn’t very easy. There is not 1 secret or one best solution. You need to be persistent and try out a few strategies to get one. The only thing that is certain is that if you keep trying, you will eventually get the first client.
I hope this article was helpful and you will get your first client very soon.