One of the first steps in starting your freelance business is setting up a website. In order for people to hire you, they have to know who you are and what you offer.
Most of the freelancing work you’ll do is virtual so you need your online presence to look professional and be easy to find.
Setting up a website is not as complicated as you may think! You don’t need to be tech-savvy to do it. You can put together a great looking website in five easy steps (or less!)
Step 1: Purchase a domain name from GoDaddy.com
There are many websites that sell domain names. I recommend GoDaddy.com; it’s inexpensive and easy to use. Most domains range from $5-$20 per year.
Decide what you want to name your freelancing website. You could name it after your business or use your full name. I use www.erinsturm.com and www.freelancingmama.com for my freelancing business. I also own www.thesturmagency.com and a few other domains for future projects because I was able to purchase them for $7/year.
If the domain you want is unavailable for .com, try switching the order of the words or come up with a synonym. You can also check the availability of the name for .co, .org, or .biz.
If you don’t want to use GoDaddy, you can also purchase your domain from a hosting company.
Step 2: Self-host your site at A2 Hosting
Finding a host for your site is easier than it sounds. My recommendation is A2 Hosting. I checked out all of the major hosting companies before deciding on A2.
I’ve been using the service since March 2016 and I love it. I’ve had no issues with uptime and any questions I’ve had have been answered promptly by the customer service team. They even migrated my site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org for free!
I went with A2 because:
- Plans are inexpensive, starting around $3.92 per month
- They are WordPress optimized and load pages up to 6x faster
- WordPress comes pre-installed, saving you time
- They promise 99.9% uptime for your site
- They have an anytime money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied
- They have free site migration if you are hosted somewhere else or on WordPress.com
- They offer great 24/7 customer support
**Step 3: Download WordPress.org
If you use A2 Hosting, you will not need to download WordPress because it comes preloaded with your account. If you go with another hosting option, you may need to download WordPress to add to your site.
There are several reasons to use WordPress.org over WordPress.com.
- WordPress.org is fully customizable; WordPress.com only has certain themes you can use. If you think you’ll want a designer to create a custom site for you, you’ll need WordPress.org.
- WordPress.org allows all plugins; WordPress.com does not allow plugins. Plugins are super helpful for SEO, keeping track of your stats, and adding newsletter signups, social media shares, and more.
- WordPress.org allows full monetization (adding ads to your site); WordPress.com limits the amount of monetization you can do.
- WordPress.org allows ecommerce stores; WordPress.com does not.
- WordPress.org allows membership sites; WordPress.com does not.
All of the reasons to go with WordPress.org boil down to functionality. You have a lot more options on WordPress.org. If you plan on growing your business to offer products or membership sites, you’ll want to start with WordPress.org.
Step 4: Pick a theme for your site (paid or free)
There are hundreds of WordPress themes available. You can go with a free theme or you can pay anywhere from $50-200 for a custom theme.
Themes can be found in the Appearance → Themes section of your WordPress dashboard or on sites such as Creative Market.
Choose one and add it to your site.
Step 5: Create your pages and write your content
For a freelancing business site, you’ll need four main pages. These pages are:
- An About page (See mine here)
An about page should give an overview of who you are, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it and anything else you’d like people to know about you.
- A Services page (See mine here)
Your services pages should explain what services you offer. Be descriptive and thorough! Decide whether you want to include pricing or not. I choose not to because I quote clients on a case by case basis.
- A Testimonials/Reviews page (See mine here)
You’ll want to show your potential customers that others have hired you and been happy with your work. Make sure to ask for reviews from your clients so you can keep adding to your testimonials page.
- A Contact page (See mine here)
You need to have an easy way for potential customers to get in touch with you. A contact page should list the best ways to reach you. For most freelancers, that’s an email address.You can also include your phone number or Skype name.
- A blog (You’re reading mine right now!)
A blog will help your website rank better on search engines. It will also give your customers an idea of your writing style. If you regularly update your blog, you may be seen as organized and dedicated.
That’s it, you’re done! Now you have a professional site that you can refer potential clients to. Now get pitching!
**This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase a product through my links.
You may also like:
How to Choose the Right Client for You
Cold Emailing in 5 Easy Steps
Are You Tracking Your Pitches? The Most Successful Freelancers Do
These are great tips. Thanks!
Thank you for explaining the differences between WordPress.com/.org. So helpful!
Erin Sturm says
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading.
Go Daddy is my fave! I feel that step 5 on this post is very vital. My web copy was hurting when I first started. Over time, I learned to include the important elements and get more inquiries that way. Very informative post.
Erin Sturm says
Thank you! I think the most important thing is getting a site out there. You can always tweak the copy later.
I’ve been wondering about this but it seems like there’s so many things to consider. Thanks for laying it all out! 🙂
Erin Sturm says
You’re welcome! I hope it helps.
Marissa ~ Diytifed says
This is good information. I still get confused about wordpress.com vs wordpress.org I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’m positive I went through WordPress.com but I can customize it and monetize.
Erin Sturm says
Hi Marisssa! The easiest way to tell is Plugins. If you have them, you are on .org, if not you are on .com. 🙂