How to Start a Freelancer Website from Scratch
Having your own website is a proven way to get client leads because it helps with your reputation. In the world of online work, image is everything. You’ll need a place to sell yourself and showcase your experience. However, building a website may sound scary or intimidating. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t need to learn how to code in order to put up one. Whether doing a website for your portfolio or for a client, here’s your ultimate guide on how to do it from scratch.
Avail of a Domain Name
Consider your domain name as your address on the internet. For this website, our domain name is freelancing.ph and it will continue to be ours for as long as we pay the annual fee.
Usually the domain is cheap costing $1 or Php 47 per year or even free when you get a hosting provider.
Here are some tips on availing a good domain name:
- Make it short and memorable. If you’re a freelancer who specializes on services, your name would be your best bet.
- Avoid hyphens. You wouldn’t want your audience to get confused when they start typing it n the search bar so make it simple as much as possible.
- Make it timeless. Think long term as you wouldn’t want your domain name to limit you or your services in the future so be as specific and as general, as possible.
- Make it relevant to your niche. This one is a tricky tip that you could follow or just let go altogether. If you are looking to use your name as domain name, then you could skip this. If you are offering copywriting services, graphic design, virtual assistance, marketing, you could incorporate those in your name. You just have to define those clearly. Some samples are freelancer.ph, freelancetowin.com, etc.
- Check availability. You can easily check your preferred domain name’s availability on godaddy.com then check social media networks name availability through KnowEm which will easily show you various platforms in just one viewing.
- Try doing a research on your chosen name. Make sure it’s original or else you’ll compromise your online presence/ branding.
Get a Good Hosting
If domain is your address in the web, hosting is your lease –it’s a place that holds all your website’s posts, photos, and other data. It works like the domain as well, with monthly or annual fees to be maintained.
According to Reviews.com, there are more than 15,000 web hosting options to choose from but they’ve narrowed it down to the best three. Here’s what they have to say about those:
InMotion Hosting hit the mark with transparent pricing, 99.99 percent uptime, and a cPanel back-end. It won our hearts with the easiest on-boarding, best customer service, and for not sending us a single piece of spam.
Blue Host nearly earned our top recommendation thanks to its solid server uptime rating and competitive prices.
Click the link below to know more!
While it may not be the best fit for first-time or novice users, Media Temple stood out thanks to its impressive speeds and reliability. Advanced users should feel right at home.
Choose a Platform
There are a handful of options to use as your platform — WordPress, Blogspot, Squarespace, Tumblr, or Wix. This post will focus on WordPress because we believe that it’s the most flexible and user friendly of them all.
But first, let’s draw the difference between WordPress.com from WordPress.org. The first is a free version which uses your default name with a wordpress.com extension. The latter however lets you customize it. This portion will talk about the don’ts of maintaining a free website:
- They will take some time to type onto the address bar. Instead of yourname.com, you would have to type in yourname.wordpress.com.
- Free websites won’t be recognized by Google as a credible enough resource in the web so it won’t also be optimized in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
- Ads will pop up on your site and you will not have control over which ad shows up. Aside from that, it also means you can’t sell ads because it’s a free website.
- There is the looming fact that the platform will delete your website and all of its contents anytime if they think you violate any of their terms.
- Your choice of plugins are limited, hence customization becomes limited as well.
Personalize the look of your site
For a professional looking website, you would need to choose from a variety of options available on the net.
Where to get great WordPress themes?
For the free ones, you can find them on:
- Top WP Themes
- Fab Themes
- WordPress.org – Access this by going to your website’s WordPress Dashboard (http://yourfreelancerwebsite.com/wp-admin/). On the left column, click ‘Appearance > Themes > Add New’ and you will see a list of free themes that you can install for your blog.
If you want a more personalized look for your website, you can opt to buy themes. Here are the most popular sites to choose from:
What are plugins? Do I need to install those in my WordPress website?
Plugins are applications you need to install to help your website perform better.
To start, below are the free WordPress plugins that I recommend which you can easily add to your blog by going to your Dashboard: click ‘Plugins > Add New‘. In the search box, type the plugin names below and click ‘Install‘ as needed.
- Akismet – protection from comment spam
- WPTouch – if you want your website to be responsive and mobile-friendly, then you should install this.
- Jetpack – offers a lot of features, including ‘Site Stats’ and ‘Related Posts’
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – the complete website optimization package. This plug in helps you make your website easy to be discovered on search engines as it lets you add title, descriptions, and lets you see real time page analysis.
- Google Analytics – is a tool that helps measure and analyze your blog’s traffic; in the future, advertisers would need data from this platform. So first, you need to register with GA and then install this plugin to easily integrate GA’s tracking with your website.
Start creating the contents
A website should have the following basic items:
- About page – Here you could talk about who you are, what you do, what the website is all about, and what services you offer.
- Contact page – For prospective clients or possible business partners, here is where they could contact you via email.
- Social media links – This one makes it easier to show a part of you outside of your professional website. Promote it so people could follow you.
- Journal – It would be nice to share some of your expertise every now and then. This could also help your readers get a glimpse of your work.
Build your E-mail List
It is important to start building your readers list from the start so you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to create long term connections with the right people. It would be easier to announce promos, contests, or product giveaways if you have your own e-mail list as well. We recommend using Mailchimp, which comes FREE but is limited to only 2,000 subscribers.