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How to Stand out on Upwork as a Freelance Web Developer

Updated on May 3, 2019
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Prachi works as a full-stack developer, specialized in e-commerce and mobile app development.

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Formerly known as oDesk, Upwork is the world’s largest growing freelance outsourcing company. It has immense opportunities for freelancers working in varied fields, especially freelance web developers.

Since Upwork currently has stiff competition in the field of web development, freelance developers need to brandish their profiles to become noticeable with thousands of clients. Your portfolio, experiences and core competencies can give a huge boost to your Upwork profile visibility, which is far more easier than building your portfolio on a personal website or social media channels.

Here are some important points to help you stand out on Upwork:

1. Advertise Your USP

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Since freelancers’ job is more often like running a business. It is important to have a USP (Unique Selling Point/Proposition) that distinguish you from others. USP has the power to communicate about your intellectual abilities with just a few words, it must show why your web programming skills are far ahead of others. Enlist the highly rewarding skills and emphasize the results you achieved from your previous clients.

For example, instead of mentioning that you have 5 or 10 years of experience in development, it is more helpful to mention that your work helped your client to achieve their bottom line and receive higher web traffic.

Add your USP at the top of your profile, so it’s the first thing the client sees and can grasp a quick idea about your skills.

2. Take More Tests

My Test Section on Upwork Profile
My Test Section on Upwork Profile

Tests are the best way to prove your skills. This is especially recommended for those who are fairly new on Upwork and struggling to get their first client. People with the top percentage in their tests receive 10 times higher visibility than others.

Clients, certainly, will never risk their revenue on web developers who pretend to know 6 to 7 programming skills, but in actual can’t do even one of them.

Upwork tests are very competitive and thus, are very helpful for clients to finalize their hiring decision.

Try to take as much test as possible relevant to your skills, for instance, as a web developer, you must try HTML, CSS, React, Angular, PHP, Marketing, SEO, JAVA, and other relevant tests.

3. Add a Professional Photo

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This goes without saying, but still many freelancers fail on this part. Adding a professional photo improves your chances of receiving higher opportunities. Your photo is a glimpse of your professionalism to the client.

4. Craft a Specialised Job Title

The growth of freelancers on Upwork is huge and increasing rapidly day-by-day. So, to stay competitive in the freelance market, make sure to have a specialized job title. While searching freelancers, your photo and your job title are the foremost important things that catch the client’s eyes. Though using “Web Developer” seems sufficient to tell others what you do, it is better to make it specialized by writing either “Full Stack Web Developer” (if you can handle both fronted as well as backend), “React Web Developer” (if you have great expertise in React JS) or depending on your specialization.

5. Finalize your Rate with a Business Growth Mindset

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If you have just started freelancing, then it is recommended to start with lower rates such as $5 to $6 per hour or little more than that. Since, you need to build trust with your clients, establishing lower rates will make them see you as a cost-effective resource for their project.

Once, you have received a firm foot, increase your rate as per your specialization. Rates also depend on the kind of web technology you are familiar with such as JAVA frameworks are always in huge demand as well as JavaScript Frameworks are also trending heavily, so your rate can fairly start from $20 or $30.

Besides this, make sure to check out what others are charging and what is the average rate in the industry.

6. Choose Your Skills Smartly

Highlighted Skills on Upwork Profile
Highlighted Skills on Upwork Profile

Smart work always outruns hard work. Upwork allows you to highlight only 10 skills on your profile. Add the skills which are highly in-demand and neglect the redundant ones. Highlighting skills such as JSON, XML, HTML may sound not that interesting because you are a web developer and these are basic skills that a web developer must know. Instead, use skills such as React, Apache Server, Node JS and so on.

Additionally, adding a certificate to your skills set is a huge boost because not everyone must have received the same training, thus giving you a higher competitive edge.

Many people leave Upwork because they are unable to place their first gig in a short time, but as per my experience with Upwork, receiving gigs are not at all tough. It is possible if you maintain all the above-mentioned strategies and also maintain your profile like a real business person. For some more tips, check out this article to make your presence noticeable on Upwork.

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