A website is a must-have for every freelance writer.
It gives prospective clients access to more information on you and your business. It shows potential clients that you’re serious about freelance writing and it positions you as a professional.
Companies often ask freelancers to send their portfolio or previous samples of their work to decide whether or not they want to work with you. A perfect place to showcase your work is on your freelance writer website.
Some freelancers also use a website to attract clients organically through search engines.
Considering all those benefits, having a freelance writer website is a must.
For many freelance writers, though, setting up a writer’s website is a headache, especially with all the technical aspects involved. In this post, I’ll show that it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, in five simple steps, you’ll have your site up in no time.
Step 1: Buy a Domain Name and Hosting
Before you choose a domain name, you need to decide between choosing your name or a name that indicates your niche.
Selecting a name that shows your niche is better from an SEO perspective and makes it clear to visitors what niche you specialise in. The downside is that you’ll have to change your name if you change your niche.
Choosing your name provides flexibility. You can change your site to anything you please in the future. However, it’s not as useful from an SEO perspective.
Once you’ve chosen a name, use Whois to assess the availability. If it’s not available, consider others.
Regardless once you have the name, it’s time to buy it.
Some hosting services provide their customers with free “.com” domain names, so make sure you check this out before you buy it from an external domain registrar.
Buying a .com domain name or any similar top level domain – is essential. Free and random domain names inspire doubt and insecurity and decrease the chance of bagging prospective clients.
If you’re on a tight budget, redeem GoDaddy’s one-time $0.99/year coupon. Namecheap.com offers better prices compared to Godaddy and other hosting companies, especially when ordering a handful of domain names.
Don’t know how to buy a domain name? Here’s how using Namecheap.com.
1. Type your domain name in the search bar on the homepage and click “Search”.
2. Choose a suffix (.com or org etc.) and click “View Cart”.
3. Apply a Promo Code (if you have one) and click “Confirm Order”.
4. Create your account and select your payment method
If you’re cash-strapped, consider the open offer posted on The Half-Hog Forum. Our friend Spike Wyatt offered to share his VPN space to all new freelance writers and covers the hosting cost. We cannot confirm if the offer still stands, but do visit the forum to find out.
If you choose to go with paid hosting services and are still torn between which host to use, use web hosting plan comparison websites such as WhoIsHostingThis? to choose the provider that best fits your needs.
Don’t forget to link your domain name to your hosting if you haven’t ordered it from the same company.
Step 2: Set Up WordPress on Your Hosting Space
The content platform we recommend is WordPress. If you don’t have a WordPress account, create one now. Because you’ll have your own host you’ll want to create a WordPress.org account and not WordPress.com. If you create a WordPress.com account, you’ll have to use the WordPress servers.
Now, set up WordPress on your hosting space. Most hosting services provide a one-click WordPress installation in the cPanel. Let’s see this in action, in SiteGround.
1. Login on The Home Page
2. Go to “My Accounts”
3. Click “Manage Account”
4. Click “Go to cPanel”
5. Open the WordPress Icon
5. Install WordPress
7. Set Your Domain Protocol to http://www.
8. Sign in to WordPress
Go to “http://www.[domainname].[tld]/wp-admin” and type your username and password to access your WP dashboard.
Step 3: Choose a WordPress Theme
A theme is a ready-made template from which you’ll build your writer’s website. If you have a tight budget there are free themes available such as the Maskitto Light Theme. Here’s how to install Maskitto Light on your site.
But free themes have limitations. If you want more flexibility to customise your site I’d suggest a paid theme. At WriteWorlwide we use Divi which is a website builder. By signing up for Divi you’ll have access to over thirty premium themes.
I use Illdy for my freelance writer website. It is more colourful and professional than Maskitto Light. Youtuber, WordPress Expert created a three videos tutorial explaining the process of setting up Illdy on WordPress.
Step 4: Writing Copy For Your Key Pages
Writing great copy for your website’s pages is critical for convincing your prospective clients to contact you.
Richard Rowlands, Co-Founder of WriteWorldwide, advises that you focus on solving potential clients’ problems and immediately getting to the pain points in your copy.
Furthermore, include a call-to-action on each page, make contact details prominent, and help people navigate your site with internal links.
The three key pages you need are: About, Contact/Hire me and Services’ pages. As you grow your writing business you can add Portfolio, Testimonials and Awards pages.
An About page is critical for communication with and convincing potential clients that you’re qualified to get the job done.
Whether you’re an ESL teacher in Morocco, a salesman of 7 years, or have a PhD in Marketing, these things should be mentioned on your about page -especially information related to your niche and services.
As an example, visit Richard Rowland’s About page.
What type of value are you going to provide to your clients? Are you into writing e-books? Or blog posts? Or both? Mention all details related to your services and how you can help clients drive traffic, increase leads and make sales.
Email marketing, blogging strategy, newsletters, website copy, press releases, e-book writing, `feature writing and ghostwriting are a few examples of services you could offer.
For an example, visit Nick Darlington’s Services page.
3. Contact/Hire-Me Page
Contact pages usually contain a contact form with three boxes: name, email address and message. Using WPForms, you can quickly add simple contact forms.
Also, pin your email on your website to make it easy for clients to contact you.
A portfolio is a page where you list samples of your previous work.
Ciaran Gilligan, for example, uses his portfolio page to feature previous examples of his blog posts.
Many freelance writers quote testimonials of editors and business owners to build credibility. See how Nick does it below?
You can include awards, contributions, and mentions in publications to showcase your ability. Here’s an example of an Awards page from freelance writer, Carol Tice.
Step 5: Set Up Your SEO
Optimising your website for search engines takes time, discipline and consistency before you see results.
It’s based on pinpointing long-tail and short-tail keywords that match your brand and audience using Google Adwords’ keyword planner. You then extract blog post titles from it.
To make your blog posts and pages SEO-friendly, install Yoast on WordPress to check all the necessary search engine optimisation settings.
Wrapping it Up
A writer’s website is essential to freelance writing success. The problem is many writers don’t have one because of the perceived technical difficulty in setting one up.
The reality is: setting one up isn’t hard. If you’re on of those writers still struggling, follow these five steps and you’ll have your site up in no time.
Do you have a freelance writer’s website? What was your experience creating one?