When you are on the hunt for freelance gigs, it’s important to have your own website where potential clients can see your past work and get to know you a little better. That goes for writers, designers, coders, musicians, consultants, just about any freelance specialist. Social media networks, like Facebook, can help. But there is no substitute for your own full-scale website.
1. Get a great domain name and hosting account
For freelancers, it’s best to get your name with a dot-com extension for your domain name. People will be typing your name into the search engines and you want your site to show up first. If your preferred name is already taken, try adding an initial or the word “online.”
So, if www.JohnSmith.com is not available, try www.JohnQSmith.com or www.JohnSmithOnline.com. You can also try adding what you do onto the end of the domain–www.JohnSmithFreelanceWriter.com Domain names are cheap, generally $10 a year. But you can cut the costs even further using GoDaddy promo codes.
You also need to set up a hosting account. These generally run $5 to $7 a month, and are cheaper if you pay for a year or two at a time.
2. Set up WordPress
If you have no idea how to build a website, do not worry. You can use a blog platform. The preferred platform is WordPress because it’s completely customizable and has thousands of themes, templates and plugins to fancy-up your site. If your hosting company has SimpleScripts, you can install WordPress on your domain in about 90 seconds. Oh, and the best part? It’s totally free.
3. Choose a simple theme with a replaceable header
If you type “WordPress themes” into a search engine, you will find thousands of beautiful templates for your new website. This part can take a while because it’s so much fun looking through them all and it can be tough to decide which one to use. There are tons of free themes, and some you have to pay for. No matter which kind you choose, be sure to get a theme with a customizable header. You are going to want to add in your own header.
4. Get a header made
Speaking of headers, this is about the only design decision you will really have to make. If you or one of your friends is handy with Photoshop, you can make your own. But it’s best to spend a few dollars on Elance.com or Fiverr.com and have one made for you. The best headers for freelancers have a professional-quality photo of your smiling face in one corner. Potential clients want to get a feel for who you are before they hire you, and a photo is a great way to do that. Once you have your header made to the correct size for your theme, just upload and install it.
5. Create Five Pages
Freelancers don’t need a huge website. You just need a few pages to help the client get to know you. You will want to create the following pages:
About: This is your bio. Include your experience, credentials, past clients and testimonials here.
Contact: Tell them all the ways they can get in touch with you, including a phone number. If you don’t want your personal phone published online, get a free Google Voice number and have it forwarded to your home or cell phone. You can even set up a separate voice mail there for free.
Samples: Post your best samples here, whether it’s writing, photography, website design, or something else. They want to see that you can complete a job and that you do good work. If you don’t have any samples yet, make some up. Then replace them when you get better ones.
Home: Your home page can be a general welcome, and where you list what kind of gigs you accept. This page is set as a blog or posts page by default in WordPress. But you can change that in the settings. Any page can be listed as your home page.
Services: This is where you tell a potential client what you do, how you work and what your fees are. Some professionals find it’s better not to post fees directly, but rather give a range for different types of products. You can also put links in here to your samples page.
That’s it. A quickie website you can build in an evening. Having your own website as a freelancer makes you look more professional and will help you land more and better paying gigs. What are you waiting for?
Authored by Julie Anne Eason
Julie has been a freelance writer since 1997. She buys way too many domains for her own good, and is very grateful for GoDaddy promo codes and discounts.