You need a website.
Because real talk – a professional-looking freelancer website is one of the most important things you can have to grow your business and earn more cash.
When I first started freelancing, I didn’t have a website. I had NO idea how to make one and I assumed it would be expensive and extremely time-consuming to create. So I got clients through freelancing sites and told myself I’d figure it out one day.
Eventually, I knew I wanted to start attracting clients to work with me instead of bidding on low-paying jobs on freelancer sites. I had seen so many beautiful websites from people offering similar freelance services, and I knew it was time to step up my game.
And I’m so glad I did!
Not only was it not expensive at all – I’m talking less than $4/month – it didn’t take me that long to put together something simple.
And the most important part – I started attracting and landing WAY higher quality clients once I had my own site.
I was getting people filling out my ‘Work With Me’ form regularly. I was quoting them double what I was charging on UpWork. And they were saying Yes!
See – when you have your own website you look like a professional. And when you look like a real business, people are willing to pay you more.
That’s why I think creating a freelancer website is one of the most important things you can do to start attracting higher paying, higher quality clients.
I know creating your own site seems really intimidating, but I’m going to walk you through it. I will share my favourite tools and an easy process so you can start today and have a website that’s ready to share with the world in just a few hours.
Here’s what we’re going to cover today to get your freelancer website created:
- Get website hosting and buy your domain.
- Install WordPress (this step takes like 90 seconds)
- Pick a theme and design
- Create your content
(Note: This blog post contains affiliate links, but I only recommend stuff I have personally used and loved. Clicking my link costs you nothing extra – but I may get a kickback from the creator. This helps me continue to make free content for this site. I truly appreciate the support!)
Step 1: Get Hosting & Your Domain
To start a website, the first thing you need is hosting. We recommend a hosting provider called BlueHost to get you started, but there are many options available (more on that below).
There are also options out there for free hosting, such as putting your website on blogger.com, but this is not ideal for a few reasons. If you decide NOT to get professional hosting, you don’t truly have control over your content. You can read tons of horror stories from people who went the cheap route and got their sites shut down for no reason. This is why it’s better to find a good host at a great price to start.
BlueHost is a top-rated website host for freelancers and bloggers.
Plus – if you use my link below to set up your hosting, you can get started for $4/month plus get your domain name free for the first year. All your need to start is the basic plan.
Register Your Domain
Your domain is the name of your website. For example, the domain name of this site is thefreelancehustle.com.
Through this link, you can save on your domain. Most domains cost around $15/year but with this link, you can get yours for free for the first year.
How do you choose a domain name?
If you have a name for your business, use that. Or, just go with your own name! Whether you choose to operate under your own name or a business name, keep it specific, memorable, and easy to type.
Type in the domain you want to see if it is available.
Here you can see that I’ve typed in an example and it shows all the available options. If you can, going with .com is a good idea because it’s most common. But there are plenty of other options these days so check to see what sounds good.
In the shopping cart you’ll also see there will be a checked box for privacy protection. Basically, this means that if someone wants to find out who owns a domain name, they wouldn’t be able to see your information. It costs $12/year to get this protection and it is completely up to you if you want it.
Next up, it is time to pick your hosting package.
You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you do a 3-year hosting deal. It will be less than $4/month! But if you want to sign up for 1 or 2 years you totally can! It’s a great price for that too, and you’ll be paying less today to get started.
Make sure to choose the BASIC package to get started. It’s all you need.
Hosting companies offer additional services like SEO tools, security and backups. You don’t really need these to get started, so you can uncheck them. If you do wish to get the added security you can, of course!
Review Order Details
Give your order a quick review and make sure you’re only paying for what you want. (If there are other costs, you can scroll back up to review if anything was left checked or unchecked.)
Now you have hosting! Do a mini happy dance.
Step #2: Install WordPress
Once you log into your Hostgator customer panel (called the Cpanel), it might look totally overwhelming! But don’t worry. You don’t need a lot of the stuff in there.
Click on Build A New WordPress Site
To get your website up, click on the WordPress icon button.
You should see your domain in a drop-down list. Select it.
Fill in your info.
And click install!
Seriously, it was that easy.
Step #3 Choose A Theme & Design
Start to plan out the look of your site
Before you get too deep into playing around with your site, I recommend putting some time into making a plan.
If this is your first website, it can be really easy to get lost. So starting with a plan will help you to save time and avoid pulling your hair out in frustration.
Start by getting some inspiration. Look at other websites to see what kind of designs and layouts you like. When looking at other sites, try to look for businesses in a similar niche or with similar goals. ie – don’t try to copy Facebook’s design because they aren’t trying to sell a freelance service.
Where can you go for inspiration?
- Google/Google Image
Search for ‘website design *niche*’ or ‘freelance *niche* website’.
What to look for?
- Image styles
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make a nice looking website. Just take note of what you really like, take screenshots, and you’ll be able to incorporate those common elements into your own site.
Now that you have an idea of what you want your site to look like, it’s time to start creating it!
Choose A Theme
The theme you choose will determine the general layout and look of your website. To get to your theme options, find ‘appearance’ in the left menu and select ‘themes’.
There are plenty of free theme options to choose from. You can browse through and see if you can find something that lines up with the vision you have for your own site.
A note on my theme – I started with a free theme but wasted SO much time trying to get it to look how I wanted. I couldn’t figure out how to get my blog pages to look just right, I had a helluva time creating opt-in boxes, and honestly it was all just kind of a hot mess.
Then one day I found Divi and it was like the heavens opened up.
Divi is amazing because it is super customizable and flexible. This theme uses a drag-and-drop builder – so no coding knowledge or previous website building experience is required!
I also love that it comes with templates and layouts for different pages – like your front page, your blog page, your contact page and your portfolio. The layouts look super pro and they’re insanely easy to create by dragging in the elements you want to use.
When I was using a free theme, I was paying over $50/month for Leadpages (another software to create landing pages and opt-in boxes). Divi and Bloom do everything that Leadpages does, and I find it even easier to use. And instead of paying over $50 every single month, Divi is only $89 for a whole year. So by upgrading to a paid theme, I ended up saying myself over $500.
I say all of this because when I started building my website there was no way in hell I was going to pay for a theme! But I wish I would have made the investment sooner because I probably wasted over 100 hours trying to get a free theme to work for me.
That said, there are thousands of themes out there and you just need to find one that works for you.
Step #4 Create Your Pages
A freelancer website doesn’t need to be complicated. But it does need to present you as a professional in your field. You don’t need to create a ton of pages to do that!
The pages you should have:
- Home – the front page of your website should clearly articulate what you do and who you help
- About – your about page should tell your story. But most of all, it should let a client know what’s in it for them
- Services – let clients know what they can hire you for and what your prices are
- Portfolio – display your best work and testimonials from past clients
- Contact – make it really easy to get in touch with you by leaving your email address or using a contact form like typeform.
Step 5 – Publish It
Once you have your basic pages created, it’s time to hit publish and share it with your network!
I know how easy it is to let perfectionism get in the way and hold you back from hitting that publish button. But remember that your website will be an evolving thing and can always be tweaked and changed later.
Take action and, even if you’re nervous, do it anyway.