Do you need a freelance writer website?
The answer is yes. A resounding, absolute yes. If you’re writing in the online space, clients expect that their professional writer has an online presence as well. Plus, it’s an easy way to grow your business while you sleep. When done well, your website markets your writing services every second of the day.
A few reasons you need a freelance writer website:
- It shows you’re a professional
- Works as your 24/7 online presence
- Creates a nice showcase of your portfolio
- Makes it easy for prospects to get in touch
If the thought of choosing and buying a domain and hosting site is intimidating, don’t let it be. If you’re scared of website maintenance, I’m here to help you past that fear block. Because it’s only getting in the way of you securing more freelance writer jobs.
Below, I walk you step-by-step on how to create a freelance writer website you’ll be proud of.
Read on to learn how to set it up in less than a day!
Creating Your Freelance Writing Website
As long as you’ve got some time and patience, you can get your professional-looking freelance writing site up and running today.
That means all those clips you’ve been saving in a massive Google Drive folder have somewhere to be showcased now — yay!
But first, the technical stuff.
I’m not a techie person (at all!) but I promise it’s pretty darn straightforward and easy to tackle.
The basic steps include:
- Buying your website hosting and domain (Grab your discount code here for your domain hosting. It’s $2.95 a month instead of the normal price of $7.99 monthly!)
- Pick your website builder
- Decide on your layout/pages
- Create your site’s content
Now, without further ado, here are the actual steps to take:
Step 1: Choose Your Domain and Hosting Platforms
Before you get into the “pretty” part of site layout and design, you must pick your domain and hosting. A custom domain that reflects your business is best. You can choose your name or your business name, but you’ll have to see if it’s available through your hosting site, first.
I use Bluehost for this, including the site you’re on now.
A few perks to using a professional hosting site versus a free hosting site:
- Easy to remember – The domain is your URL. Ex: www.bestwriterever.com
- Hosting looks best – It means you’ve invested in your business.
- Domain name is free – If you use Bluehost, it’s a one-stop-shop because you don’t have to purchase a domain and host separately. It’s all together!
Remember, if you use this link, you get a free domain and a monthly hosting discount! Click on that link and follow the below directions step-by-step and you’ll have a writer site set up by the end of this post. 😉
Get Started on Your Freelance Writer Website
Once you’re on the Bluehost site, you’ll see a screen like this:
Go ahead and click that green button that says “Get Started.”
Choose Your Plan
You have four options. Go with what works for your budget. Don’t stress too much about this now as you can always upgrade later once you start bringing in the regular freelance paychecks! Basic is fine for just getting started.
As you can see, all plans include:
- A domain
- SSL certificates
- Scalability options
- Marketing credits
- Resource protection
- Google business verification
There are also extra add-ons, but I’ll talk about those in a minute.
Choose Your Domain
Now you’ve entered the most exciting part! You get to choose your website URL here.
A few success tips for picking your website name:
- Keep it short
- Make it memorable
- Avoid double letters
- Make it brandable
- Use actual words. Nothing cutesy like www.thewriterzsite
Remember: Don’t get stuck here. Pick something professional sounding and move on!
Set Up Your Account
My motto is you can always upgrade later. Seriously, don’t buy an add-on because it looks tempting now. Do some research on it first (you can ask customer service, too!), so you don’t have an impulsive spending moment.
Remember, this is a business investment. It may feel a little spendy, but it’s getting your name out there on the internet so clients can find you! It also makes it super easy to pass along your website to any prospective clients who request it.
This counts as a business write-off come tax time, by the way!
Your business — and desire to become a freelance writer — is well worth the investment of website hosting.
Quick tip: Make sure you uncheck the extras you don’t want so they don’t sneak into your cart at checkout. One important thing to note is that you should set up your SSL from the start. This stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and makes any clients contacting you through your site feel more comfortable in doing so. Google lets individuals know when they’ve entered an “unsecured site” and you don’t want to scare off potential clients with that Google-triggered message. The hosting company you choose will be able to help you with this.
Step 2: Choose Your Website Builder
Now you have to build your website. There are a ton of options, both paid and free. Again, keep your budget in mind as you go through these. It’s easy to get carried away and excitedly overspend!
Let’s take a look at a few website builder options below:
WordPress is kind of like a household name in the digital space.
I recommend using WordPress with BlueHost as do the folks at WordPress. It’s what I use for my site as well. WordPress also recommends Bluehost as its number one web hosting provider. They work well together, so it makes it easy to plug-and-play and get your site up and running fairly quickly.
Why do they work so well together?
They have a one-step install and BlueHost even has a WordPress Hosting Guide to help you out. If you haven’t used WordPress before, it can be a bit much to handle in terms of codes and learning design, but it does offer more customized options.
Up for doing it? Then click over to the WordPress site.
WordPress has a ton of themes to use, including a bunch of free ones to get started. All you need to do now is to download and install WordPress. They’ll lead you step-by-step through it, as long as you’ve already purchased your domain and hosting (see step 1 again if you haven’t).
From start to finish, it will take about 30 minutes to create your site.
The most important part of the whole process is selecting a clean, professional-looking design.
Look at it as a client would and select your template based on that thought process.
This one is a great layout and is rated as one of the most popular ones on WordPress.
If you have some extra cash and want a paid theme, you can also use Divi theme.
Wix is one of the top-rated and free website builders out there. I’ve used it for other websites, and I will say it feels easier for the less-techie peeps like myself.
It’s easy-to-use with over 500 templates to choose from. It’s all drag-and-drop, so it’s super simple to navigate.
First up, head to the Wix website and click “Get Started” to create your account. You’ll have to sign up with your Facebook or Google account or another email address.
Be sure you click “business” and not portfolio!
To make it even easier, Wix outlines 6 steps to start a website on their platform:
Wix even has an Artificial Design Intelligence Option. If you answer a few questions, Wix will build a site for you!
The Wix editor gives you more flexibility and creative options.
Once you do, you’ll get a listing of all the available templates. Click and edit to your heart’s content!
Weebly is another highly-recommended free option. It has a drag-and-drop experience that makes it easy for anyone to design a site.
It offers a robust drag and drop builder along with easy-to-access support. A free plan is a good option for many users, and upgrading won’t break the bank.
Alternative Option: Work With a Freelance Web Designer
As a freelancer, I love supporting other freelancers. Whether that’s referring work to them or using their services in my own business. If you want super customized, one-on-one support when it comes to creating your website, consider working with a local web designing pro.
One of my favorites? Florida Web Architects.
They’re a husband-wife team who do it all: Web design, hosting, domain names, and site maintenance. You know, all the stuff you just don’t have the time or want to do? They take it on.
Have WordPress already and just need a little coaching? They do that, too.
A few tips for selecting a local freelancer to work with:
- Do an interview – Meet with them over the phone or Zoom to discuss what you’re looking for and your needs.
- Ask for work samples – If you’re like me, you can’t just “envision” a website completed. Ask your prospective designer for samples of their previous work. Here’s an example of Florida Web Architects’ work.
- Make sure the proposal is in alignment – After your initial meeting, see how well they listened to you. The proposal will give you an idea of exactly what they see as your pain points while also respecting what you want.
- Sign a contract – Just because you’re working with a fellow freelancer, don’t skip the contract. Draw one up or use a contract template with agreeable terms for both parties.
You may find that working with a local designer suits your needs better if you like regular interaction and even face-to-face meetings. Plus, you can always build a professional partnership and provide each other with referrals!
Step 3: Choose Your Pages
Now you’re at the fun part that you’re probably most comfortable with: content creation! You just need a few pages to get started. You can always build more later.
Here are the pages you need:
- Services and Rates
You can always customize these to fit your brand, but don’t make the menus so obscure it confuses your viewer and they don’t know where to go. You can start with a one-pager website with a section for each of the most important information pieces. Do this if you’re pressed for time and want to get it live.
Content Creation Success Tips:
- Always have a CTA – It’s a good idea to have a Call-to-Action (CTA) above the fold on the home page. This may include a button or menu for a “contact me” or “get started” option. Make sure your contact information is easy to find; there should be a “contact me” or “get started” option on every page!
- Social proof works well – If you have testimonials from previous clients, use them on your site! Consider gathering them from former bosses, editors, or co-workers or pulling any from your LinkedIn recommendations that speak highly of your work.
- Add a rate range – If you’re not sure about rates for your services, you can add a starting rate or a range and ask prospects to “get in touch for specific project rates.”
- Develop your portfolio – No writing samples? No problem. If you don’t have a portfolio, consider adding a menu for a blog to showcase your work.
Beginner Design Tip: Use high-quality free stock photos to add beautiful imagery to your site. You can find these on sites like Pixabay and use them on your site to snag attention.
Step 4: Go Live
Here’s the really fun part: Hit publish!
As a recovering perfectionist, it pains me when things aren’t done exactly right. So I understand the feeling of “but it’s not perfect for launching!”
Repeat after me: Done is better than perfect.
Get some sort of site up and start pitching. It makes you feel like a real writer, and when you’ve got some skin in the game — AKA time and money invested into a site — it makes you sit down in your working chair a bit faster every day.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Freelance Writing Website
If you’ve read all of this and haven’t gotten started, go back and follow each step. I made it easy for you. All you have to do is click a few buttons and your site will be live in no time! Now that you’ve got the run-through and step-by-step guide on how to create your freelance writer website, go back and do it.
A few final reminders if you’re ready to create your site:
- Don’t aim for perfection – Do your best to not get too hung up on any single step. Remember that nothing is set in stone. It’s the web. You can change it at a moment’s notice if you hate it!
- Love a name? Take it! – If you are obsessed with a particular domain name, take it. If you’ve bought a domain name before, you may have noticed it took a few tries to get the exact one you wanted because someone else already purchased it. If you adore a name and want to build a brand around it, consider when you’re buying domains to buy more than one if it’s in your budget. You don’t have to buy hosting for all of them, but you’ll have them for future use when you expand your brand.
- Promote your site – Share your new website on social media and with family, friends, and your network. You never know where that first or next job is coming from. Your website won’t do any good if you’re not promoting it!
Once your site is live, you’ll still need to work on it from time to time. This is especially true if you have a portfolio. You’ll need to check for broken links and update your content with new service offerings. If you host a blog on your site, you’ll also want to add fresh content to boost your SEO rankings!
Your site is your online 24/7 business generator. Take the time in creating it and you’ll start attracting your ideal clients who want to work with a pro writer. Ready to succeed as a freelance writer? Check out these 7 must-have freelance writer skills.
Have questions about building your freelance writer website? Let me know in the comments below! I’m happy to help!
This post contains affiliate links for brands I have used and personally trust. If you use one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep The Write Hive up and running!