If you’re serious about freelancing for a living, you need to create your own freelance website.
After all, this will serve as your personal online space where you can direct potential clients to tell them more about you, your work and what you can do for them.
That said, it’s not enough just to have a mediocre website. It needs to be beautiful yet practical and — above all — professional.
Follow these 10 simple steps to create your own freelance website, stand out from your competition and ultimately generate new client leads.
1. Decide on Your Platform
First things first, you need to decide on the platform for your website.
Can I build one for free, I hear you ask? Well, you can, but you may not be able to use your own domain name. Your website may also be covered in ads, you won’t have full control over it and you might have to pay for addons.
In other words, it may look a bit amateurish.
- For brand new freelancers on a budget, consider WordPress.com, Squarespace or Wix.
- For those willing to invest a little bit more to get more professional results, opt for self-hosting with WordPress.org via SiteGround (*).
Essentially, self-hosting your website means that you own and control all your content. Anything and everything is customisable.
Plus, you have constant, on-hand help from your platform’s team of experts (or at least you do when you choose SiteGround). Win-win.
2. Buy a Domain Name
The next step when you create your own freelance website is to invest in a domain name.
(You know, the name of the URL that you enter into your internet browser to visit a website, such as “www.dreamscribe.co.uk”?)
If you’re self-hosted, you can usually buy this through your self-hosting platform as part of a package deal. However, the cheapest domain names can often be found on websites such as GoDaddy.
Either way, here are my top tips for coming up with a great domain name:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Use “.com” if possible because it’s more universal
- If “.com” isn’t available, use the most popular local equivalent, like “.co.uk” for the UK
- Get the closest match possible to your business name
Speaking of the latter, it’s all about building a cohesive experience for your website visitors.
3. Create Your Pages
Once you’ve got your platform and domain name up and running, access your website’s Dashboard in the backend. From here, you can create your main pages.
In WordPress, this is super easy. All you have to do is find the “Pages” section on the left-hand menu and then click “Add New.”
Typically, a freelance website will have the following pages showing in its header menu.
If you want to add a blog, this would also be a part of the header menu.
Having said that, if you plan to sell digital products on your freelance website in the near future, you should also have a Terms and Conditions page.
(More about the legal side later!)
4. Invest in a Beautiful Theme
Now that your freelance website is functional, you need to think about its theme. Fundamentally, this refers to the design, layout and aesthetic of your website.
Some website plans offer free themes when you buy their hosting plans, such as WordPress.com. That said, for the most professional themes, you’re going to need to invest.
You also need to consider what will tie in with your personal branding (i.e. your brand colour palette, fonts and logo).
Just performing a quick Google search of “beautiful website themes” will show you a bunch of relevant independent theme providers.
I personally recommend Bluchic (*), run by a husband-and-wife power duo. I’ve used Kotryna Bass Design in the past but I’ve had the best experience with Bluchic.
Not only are their themes gorgeous, but they’re user-friendly, affordable and straightforward to set up. The customer service is also fast and efficient.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to customise your theme according to your business’ colours. However, it’s worth all the hard work to achieve a website that attracts and draws in prospective clients.
5. Write Your Copy
Another element you have to think about when you create your own freelance website is your copy.
Sure, it needs to sound professional, but it also needs to reflect your personality.
After all, as a freelancer, you are your business. Your clients will be dealing with you and building a one-on-one relationship.
Here are some common mistakes that small businesses make when trying to craft compelling website copy:
- They waffle, which results in wordy, fluffy copy
- They write more than they need to (the most effective website copy is short and succinct)
- There are grammar and spelling mistakes, which doesn’t come across as professional
- It sounds bland and isn’t memorable
- They struggle to sell themselves, which makes a potential client wonder why they should work with them
- They don’t insert keywords to make their websites searchable by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.
If you need help with this, hi! I currently offer website copywriting as a service. I’d be happy to sell your services for you so that clients are queueing up to work with you.
My key bit of advice is to keep proofreading, editing and rewriting until your copy is exactly how you want it. After all, given that it serves as an initial introduction to your ideal client, it’s highly important.
6. Choose Relevant Imagery
Going hand-in-hand with your website theme and copy are the visuals.
Every visual element of your freelance website must tie in with your personal branding.
For example, if you’re a freelance interior designer for kids’ bedrooms, you can include fun, colourful imagery on your website with handwritten, child-like fonts. That said, if you’re a freelance accountant for corporate companies, you might want to pick a basic colour palette with professional, formal-looking imagery. Capeesh?
Your website visuals must also align with your business logo (which should be visible in your header menu).
Granted, not every freelancer decides to use a logo. However, I personally think it’s a good idea because:
- It gives your business a face
- If it does its job right, it will communicate who you are and what you do in a single image
- If you splash it all over your online channels, it builds brand recognition
- It makes you memorable in the eyes of your target client
- It demonstrates professionalism
Then all of the above works together to set you apart from your competition.
If you’re struggling to come up with a logo that wows, read this blog post.
7. Make Sure You Include the Fundamentals
There are some freelance websites out there that look pretty, perform wonderfully and feature creative copy.
However, they fail to include some key website fundamentals.
I’m talking about handy widgets such as:
- A search bar, so clients can easily access the information that they need
- Social media link icons visible on every page, so clients can click through to your channels quickly
- Testimonial boxes, where you can show off your best reviews from previous clients
It’s all about creating a seamless experience for your target client, from the moment that they enter your website to the moment that they click away from it.
8. Make Your Website Legal
Newsflash: you can’t create your own freelance website without covering the legal aspect.
In addition to this, GDPR requires you to have a cookie banner that pops up when an EU visitor first enters your website.
Are you planning on selling digital products on your freelance website? If so, you should also set up a Terms and Conditions page. This may not be required by law, but it’s still worth doing for two reasons:
- It can limit your liability if a customer takes you to court
- It can protect your rights to your website content
9. Include an Email Opt-in Form
The last two steps in this “how to create your own freelance website” guide are optional.
That said, they only strengthen your image of being a professional and successful freelance business.
For instance, new freelancers may not have the time, money or resources to set up and grow their email list. But experienced freelancers will know that getting your audience on your email list increases the likelihood of working with them later on down the line.
Why? Well, you can use email marketing to keep them “warm” until they’re ready to convert.
How do you do this? Use a free email marketing platform, such as MailerLite, to build at least one email-opt in form for your website.
Whether this is a pop-up or embedded sidebar form, you can offer a freebie in exchange for a visitor’s email address to encourage more sign-ups.
10. Add a Blog
Lastly, have you considered adding a blog to your freelance website?
If you regularly publish relevant, high-quality and informative content, you can effectively demonstrate your authority in your niche (or specialism).
That said, if you include keywords in your blog posts and optimise them for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you can also drive website traffic from Google.
This increased website traffic can lead to increased:
- Website views
- Website clicks
- Email subscribers
- Client leads
Ergo, happy days.
And the good news is that practically every website platform will provide the option to have a blog, so it’s easy to set up.
If you need help with your blog content or strategy, I currently offer this as a service. Let’s work together to make your blogging dreams a reality!
Setting Up a Successful Freelance Website
Learning how to create your own freelance website can be overwhelming. In fact, it probably feels like there’s so much to do! Right?
Having said that, if you work through this list one step at a time, you’ll soon get it all done.
And then you can relax knowing you have a striking, usable website that sells your services for years to come.
Have you already tried to create your own freelance website? What are you struggling with? Comment below!