Freelance Services Marketplace like Upwork and Fiverr, offering a convenient, reliable, and easy way to access global freelance talents, has become a very popular business model among website and platform owners. These websites offer access to hundreds of millions of freelancers who are experts in different skills and categories. You can literally find a solution to any kind of idea you have; there is always a Freelancer waiting to be hired.
These online marketplaces for freelance services act as a mediator between employers and employees helping them to build business relationships with each other. Every day these platforms help millions of their users to find suitable work or workers, giving huge profits to their owners. Previously considered as mere side gigs and extra jobs, freelance work has now become a major employment option.
The Growth of the Gig Economy and Freelancing
Freelance Services has grown immensely over the past decade and is expected to further increase in the coming years. With such growth, it is predicted that freelancers will account for as much as 80% of the entire workforce worldwide by 2030. With 57.3 million freelancers in the US alone (which makes around 36% of the total country’s workforce), there is no denying the fact that it is now the reality we live in.
The above illustration shows the actual growth and statistics of Freelancing in America. So in summary, here are the top reasons why people prefer working as Freelancers:
- Open for more opportunities – a lot of people are choosing to spend more time working in the Freelancing field since they believe it offers way more opportunities.
- Balanced lifestyle – working remotely also enables people to manage and balance their lifestyles well.
- Values skills and training – remote jobs actually value a person’s skills and training over formal education.
- Offers future growth – people started to be more optimistic about their future in the Freelancing field.
- Flexible working hours – people preferred working remotely because it gives them flexible working hours.
- Tons of helpful resources and guides – there’s a huge repository of documents, guides and help as almost everything can be looked upon the web which makes working easy.
- Internationalization – customers can access a huge talent pool from different parts of the world.
- Requires specialty – huge demand for specialists as some tasks requires in-depth knowledge to work with.
Yet, despite a large number of existing freelance online platforms, none of them are absolutely perfect and can cater and offer a wide span of features and opportunities. That represents an opportunity for website owners to join in and develop a freelance marketplace that can close the existing gaps and build a better platform.
Why using WordPress?
If you are to build your Freelance Marketplace, why not use WordPress? WordPress has become more than just excellent content management tools and makes it quite affordable to start any website. Various plugins offer endless possibilities to enlarge their applications for website creation. Moreover, it is a great content management tool and you will need to work on getting traffic through a great web presence and SEO.
Below are some very important reasons as to why you should consider using WordPress to build your Freelancer Marketplace Platform:
- Open-Source Software – WordPress is freely available online as an open-source website creation tool written in PHP.
- Highly Customizable and Flexible – WordPress meets the demands of its mass of users with a flexible programming framework. This allows designers and developers to create and modify various layouts and applications.
- Rich Eco-System of WordPress Plugins and Extensions – There is a rich Eco-system of WordPress plugins and codes available that can help you improve and optimize your WordPress Freelance Marketplace in any way you want. There are many WordPress Freelance Marketplace Plugin you can use for the job.
- SEO Optimization – Several WordPress Plugins are offered to optimize your Website for Search Engines and content marketing more.
- Many Freelancers and Programmers know WordPress – Many Freelancers and PHP programmers are familiar with WordPress, the same goes for many virtual assistants, content marketers and other people you will need to hire to operate and maintain your website.
Also, you can have a look at the article Why creating a Freelancer Marketplace with WordPress. It could help you a lot to decide a better platform to use for your Freelance Marketplace.
13 Steps to get you started in Building your Freelancer Marketplace
Without further ado, let’s just straight to the steps you know that will help you build an excellent Freelancer Marketplace Platform using WordPress. Here are as follows:
(1) Choose a Catchy Domain Name
A domain name is the foundation of your website. It’s how your website visitors navigate to your site, and it plays a role in how people discover you online. It’s often the first impression that potential visitors get of you and your website as well—so registering the best domain name possible is important.
A great domain name is a concise, easy to type, and memorable URL that reflects your brand or your website’s subject matter. Avoid using hyphens, strings of numbers, or unnecessary words to make it easy for your visitors to remember and find your website. Remember: A great domain name is one that your visitors can type correctly on their first try.
You can use GoDaddy or NameCheap to look for and buy your chosen Domain Name.
(2) Get a Minimum VPS or a Cloud VPS Hosting Account
A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet.
We strongly suggest that you get either a VPS or a Cloud VPS Hosting Account. VPS hosting is one of the most popular hosting services you can choose for your website. It uses virtualization technology to provide you with dedicated (private) resources on a server with multiple users. While Cloud VPS hosting is a great option for website owners who want a scalable and high performing host behind because the resources on Cloud VPS are spread out amongst a bunch of different physical machines. This increases the power of your server whenever you’d like to meet varying traffic needs.
Bluehost is an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider and one of the largest hosting companies in the world. They know WordPress inside out and have the most beginner-friendly WordPress installation process.
(3) Research your Market Niche and Competitors
In building your Freelance Services Marketplace, you should decide whether to create a Generalist Freelancer Marketplace(offer talents in every possible category) or a Specialized Freelancer Marketplace(offer selected talents that have a specific set of skills).
Of course, there will be a lot of competitors in either category. So the next step would be to look for your market competitors and find out what they do best in their services and also where and what they lack. This is to give you a clear vision of what to do and improve on your platform and therefore steer clear of your competitors in the long run.
(4) Define your Unique Selling Proposition or USP
USP is a factor that differentiates a product from its competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind. A USP could be thought of as “what you have that competitors don’t.” A successful USP promises a clearly articulated benefit to consumers, offers them something that competitive products can’t or don’t offer, and is compelling enough to attract new customers.
At this point, you should have come up, decided and defined your own USP. Do you think your platform can excel among tons of your large platform competitors? What features your platform has that makes it stand out among the rest? Can your platform do it better? Would it offer a more user-friendly, excellent and smooth project execution and process?
Users are overwhelmed with options, and they want to quickly understand what makes one platform different than another. Knowing the right way to position yourself and the website can mean the difference between standing out and blending in.
(5) Install WordPress
Next, would be to install WordPress on your website. Fortunately, this is free to use and download! WordPress is well-known for its ease of installation. Under most circumstances, installing WordPress is a very simple process and takes less than five minutes to complete.
If you are looking for a summary on How to install WordPress manually, here it is:
- Download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org
- Unzip the file and upload it to the public_html (or similar) directory
- Create MySQL Database and User
- Configure the wp-config.php file.
- Run the WordPress install
(6) Install Freelancer Marketplace Plugin and Easy Digital Downloads
After installing WordPress on your website, the next thing is to install and configure Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) on your WordPress website. You can download it right on your WordPress Dashboard, moreover, it is also a free plugin!
EDD was primarily built to market digital products, compared with WooCommerce which is more applicable in selling physical products. It is also becoming one of the largest marketplaces for official and third-party extensions and add-ons.
Starting your own Freelancer Marketplace with WordPress would never be easy without the right tools and software, to begin with. To help you with that, you can use the WordPress Freelance Marketplace Plugin for WordPress.
This Freelancer Marketplace Plugin will help you build a freelancer marketplace for WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads. It offers a comprehensive collection of settings and configurations to give you total control over your own freelancer marketplace. This will be your starting point in creating your dream freelancer marketplace using the ultimate freelancer marketplace solution.
(7) Get a transactional email delivery service such as Sendgrid or Mailgun
Since the Freelancer Marketplace Plugin has tons of built-in emails to be sent out to different users every time an action has been made, therefore, you will surely need the help of a third-party transactional email delivery service. Why? When you succesfully onboard many users in your platform, they will be tons of emails that will be sent out to each one of them and this will definitely slow down your process, worse, some of these users won’t even receive the email. To maintain a fast and stable page speed with this plugin, we advise you to use an external email service such as SendGrid or Mailgun.
(8) Configure and Customize your website
After having the above tools and plugins installed, you might need to configure and customize your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress website any way you want. Using the Freelancer Marketplace Plugin, you will have tons of pages you can use, setting configurations to customize, features and functions to better present your platform and many others.
(9) Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most popular digital analytics software. It is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website. Google Analytics is a very important digital marketing tool but seriously underused by most businesses. It allows you to measure the results of individual campaigns in real-time, compare the data to previous periods, and so much more.
You can simply install GA Google Analytics Plugin on your website, or use the built-in Google Analytics Tracker of any plugin that you are currently using, if available. Then, visit the Google Analytics website to signup and finish the configuration.
If you want to see which channels your visitors are coming from, your conversion tracking, customer engagement statistics, and others – this is the perfect tool for you!
(10) Get a Mailchimp Account
In order to send Email Newsletters or even Email Education Series to your platform users, MailChimp would be one of the best tools to use for the process. The purpose of email newsletters and series is to give those on your contact list updates pertaining to your platform, products, and services. This is an excellent way to keep in touch and maintain a good connection with your platform users.
To help you with the job, you can get a MailChimp Account and integrate it with your website using the Mailchimp for WordPress Plugin. To simplify this process, below are the steps to connect your WordPress website to Mailchimp.
- To connect MailChimp to your WordPress site, the first thing you will need is a MailChimp account.
- Then, install the Mailchimp for WordPress Plugin on your WordPress website.
- Next, you’ll need to connect your MailChimp account to the plugin. To do this, you’ll need to get your API key from MailChimp and paste it within the plugin.
- The first thing you need to do in your MailChimp account is set up an email list. On your MailChimp dashboard, click on ‘Create A List’ button.
- MailChimp comes with a built-in basic subscription form. The next step would be to create a signup form to put on your WordPress site.
- Put the Signup Form anywhere on your website, either using a shortcode, widget or a third-party plugin.
If these steps are still a bit confusing to you, simply look on the web the complete steps on how to integrate and connect your Mailchimp Account to your WordPress website.
(11) Setup Social Media Channels
Social media has become an integral part of today’s marketing landscape. It is one of the best ways to connect with people who already love your platform, as well as reaching those who haven’t heard of it yet. Creating an account for different Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube remains a very great way to establish your brand and build an audience.
Keep in mind, depending on your target market, there will be different social networks of relevance. E.g. management professionals you most likely find on LinkedIn, developers there are many on Twitter and Youtube, etc. Try to figure out which social media networks your target audience is most active and these should be the social media channels to focus on.
(12) Reach out to partners who like to post first projects on your marketplace
Now, you have your Freelancer Marketplace with WordPress all set up and configured. The next important step is finding and inviting prospective customers and freelancers to onboard on your platform. The first thing you can do is build a list of companies, agencies, and even individual website owners that would most likely be in need of freelancing services.
Simply by using Gmail, Mailchimp, or any other Email Services Tool you prefer, you can send them out an invitation asking them to check out your Freelance Services Platform, and if they are interested, they can even post their own projects in which they needed help with.
(13) Market the marketplace to Customers and Freelancers
Once your Freelancer Marketplace has been launched, doing promotional activities is important in gaining the attention of future customers and freelancers. Below are a few strategies you can try to promote your platform:
- Content Writing / Guest Blog – Content marketing is a very useful way of introducing your Freelance Marketplace to prospective users. This involves using various types of relevant content in order to present your platform and it’s features and functions. It’s affordable and incredibly effective when done right.
- SEO optimization on your landing pages – Another important consideration when marketing a website is SEO. Investing time in SEO will help potential customers and freelancers find your platform through organic search. Doing keyword research can help you find the proper keywords to use on your landing and blog pages.
- Email Marketing – One goal of your marketing strategy should be to build up an email marketing list. An email marketing list can become a very effective tool for communicating with your audience and incentivize them to come back to revisit your platform.
- Paid Advertisements – if possible (FB Ads, Google Adwords)
- Join forums, social media groups and interact with people on your same niche, to get backlinks and etc.
Opportunity in Niche Freelance Marketplace
Since there are many significant marketplaces for freelance services out there that are difficult to compete with, what you might want to do is to focus on a select niche segment where you feel it’s challenging to identify suitable talent pools. Here you could create an edge by leveraging your expertise and network in the best possible way.
It is without a doubt that a freelancer marketplace business model is extremely scalable and can be applied to various business types and domains. That is why one good opportunity is to build a niche marketplace where you can specialize or even vet freelancers for certain tasks that could be an attractive model to various customers. Another good strategy is that you can have the opportunity to better monetize your digital product marketplace and earn more revenue by selling digital products and offering freelancing services at the same time.
Conclusion: Totally ready on your Freelance Services Marketplace journey
You might have thought that building your own online marketplace for freelance services in today’s very competitive eCommerce field would be impossible for you, well it won’t. What we need is to be fully equipped and ready with all this knowledge and strategies that would give us an edge among thousands of our marketplace competitors out there.
Just make sure to apply and implement these features well on your Freelance Marketplace, as well as the proper marketing and management, soon your marketplace would be up and running, along with many customers and freelancers working with you.