Make no mistake: if you are a freelancer or a business owner, and you want to work consistently in today’s market, you need to have a website. While there is a longstanding debate over personal blogs (some, like the folks at Contently, call them necessary and others say it’s a waste of valuable working time), a website that acts as your resume, portfolio, and point of contact and advertising can work wonders.
Utilizing clean, professional web design, potential employers or customers can find you more easily. They can review your work, see recommendations from former clients, and if you do decide to blog, get a taste of your personality. More importantly for those just beginning their freelance careers, a professional-looking website can boost your credibility (if you want proof, just look at a few websites that The Muse has been praising).
If you are new to freelancing, or you’re a small business owner who’s been working since before the Internet age, this may seem overwhelming. Do you really have to master web development and design to keep your business afloat? Thankfully, no; there are many user-friendly website design options you can use to build a great looking website. One of the most common platforms is WordPress. There, you can use pre-designed themes to help you create a professional website. Today, let’s take a look at two of the themes from WordPress designers MyThemeShop.
The first of two themes currently available from MyThemeShop, Socially Viral is a clean and simple layout that looks great for a blog or online portfolio.
Designed to boost your online traffic on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, this theme focuses on the old adage: content is king.
Large square icons leave room for a title and an intriguing photo. You can even mark an article as “featured,” and the icon will appear even bigger. The simple layout helps to direct visitors to your important content, which could help you score more business.
If you’re looking for a theme with a little more fluidity, you will want to check out MyThemeShop’s other selection, Point. This theme features the same content-heavy mindset at Socially Viral but adds extra widgets and variables so you can really make the site your own.
Choose your site’s layout, colors, and even language options. Enable or disable widgets and plugins to suit your needs. MyThemeShop’s intuitive interface makes designing your website easier than you’d have ever dreamed. The site is even SEO optimized, so you can be confident that your content will be seen by more than only a few eyes.
Both of these themes from MyThemeShop bear similar pros and cons. The first (and for some, the most important) pro is that the themes are free to download and use on WordPress. Cost can be a major factor when you’re first starting out, and these themes deliver as a professional, user-friendly option when you aren’t ready to spend on your site.
However, free themes like these are often very simple in design, and this simplicity brings me to the cons. Today’s internet is filled with parallax and animated pages, which can make static sites like these seem outdated. With the fast pace of today’s working world, appearing outdated is a big faux pas.
Of course, the simple layout of these themes can also be lauded as a positive thing. MyThemeShop has created a layout that is clean, clear, and to the point. These themes are a jumping off point for a new freelancer—after all, a simple website is better than none—and with MyThemeShop’s intuitive interface, you can eventually upgrade your theme with widgets and other add-ons.
As for which theme is better, that depends largely on your needs. For example, Point’s content icons are a bit smaller than Socially Viral’s, so it may be a better choice for someone whose site is text-based (for example, a writer vs. a photographer). Both themes put your content at the center of your site – literally and figuratively. Overall, this is a great thing, as it makes managing and updating the site easier for you and it makes gleaning information easier for your prospective clients.