Most freelance writers start out with a portfolio on a third-party website which is fine. Setting up your own freelance website is a crucial next step.
If you want big brands to consider your freelance writing services, then you need to position yourself as an expert. Setting up a professional website is the first step in that direction. It proves a key role in establishing you as someone who delivers results for clients.
To establish yourself as a trustworthy professional, you’ll need to integrate a few elements on your freelance writer’s website. In this article, you’ll learn about them and look at the specific steps of buying a domain, hosting, and setting up your site. Let’s get started with the basics.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Freelance Writer Website
Here are answers to some common queries regarding writer websites.
How do I start a freelance writing portfolio?
You can write articles and host them on self-publishing platforms like Medium. Also, consider pitching niche publications and blogs — getting your name as a contributor at reputable websites will establish you as a trustworthy writer.
Do freelance writers need a website?
Yes if you’re serious about growing your freelance writing business, you need to set up a professional site. It could act as a lead generation source for your business where prospects land, learn more about your work, then express an interest to work with you using a contact form.
Do I need a blog to be a freelance writer?
No it’s not necessary to build a writer’s blog. Having one helps your prospective clients get a taste of your writing skills on your website itself. Successful freelance writers publish blog posts on subjects their prospective clients might have an interest in, then promote them. This way a blog could also act as a lead generation source for a freelance business.
How do I start my own freelance writing website?
You need to buy a domain, a hosting, and use a website builder to build your freelance writer’s site. WordPress and Wix are two common content management systems used for creating websites by professionals who don’t want to code. They are robust platforms with which you can build responsive websites, and they are extendable in their functionalities through plugins.
What should a writer’s website include?
It should include a home page with details of your writing business, examples of your past work, and testimonials from clients to establish trust. You also need a contact page with your email and information, a service page containing details of your writing offerings, and a blog page where you publish articles.
Additionally, creating an about page with your backstory — that’s relevant to a prospective client — could add a human touch to your freelance writer website.
How do freelance writers get work?
Beginners start out getting freelance writing jobs by cold pitching prospective clients and replying to queries on job boards. As you grow your business, your network and relationships are crucial — as they can send you your most valuable leads. Your writing website could also attract leads if you create content relevant to your clients and work your site’s SEO.
Best Website Builders For Writers
Once you’ve cleared basic queries around your freelance website, here are the various drag-and-drop website software you can consider. Note that dedicated website builders for authors might not give you requisite functionalities to grow. So we’re going broader with website builder choices below:
1. WordPress (Recommended)
I build all of my websites using WordPress as my CMS because it’s SEO-friendly and has a host of templates you can build a professional website on top of.
It’s a free, open-source, and most web hosting platforms offer quick WordPress installation options through their backend. The platform has a huge repository of free responsive themes, so you’ll easily find one that closely represents your brand.
Starting a blog, integrating payments, and extending the functionalities of your site to ensure you have a fully functional website by using plugins is also possible.
The platform has a bunch of literary arts website templates you can possibly start with. But they are tailored more towards static author websites and specific events such as book releases. So it might not fit for your freelance writing business needs.
Having advanced editing and design tools, its WYSIWYG editor is great for building an elegant website. It also has a blog functionality, though no themes are available specifically to authors. While a great choice if you want to sell products and looking for Ecommerce functionalities, it’s otherwise an expensive choice.
While it has a range of themes you can choose from and the ability to publish multiple pages besides just your portfolio, it’s still a limiting choice. Probably it’s more suitable for building a freelance journalist website.
For instance, glance at the above website of Sarah Brown built with the software — it’s just a preview of the writer’s articles on third-party websites with her social media handles thrown in.
A great platform for creators to send newsletters and build their audience. But it’s geared towards building a community-oriented business around paid memberships.
Assuming you’re moving ahead with my recommended choice of building a WordPress site, let’s look at the five steps you need to create a writer’s website for yourself.
Step 1: Buy A Domain And Hosting
You might have been hosting a website for free with a .wordpress, .tumblr, or some other extension. That could work fine, but it reflects badly on your brand. A professional looking and fast loading website form a great impression on your prospects.
So you’ll need to buy a web hosting plan and a domain name.
You might be thinking, “Oh my God! So I have to pay for a website?”
Shouldn’t clients simply care about your writing quality and hire you for the quality of work?
Yep, they do.
A website sets you apart in the freelance writing market of other writers delivering quality writing. It establishes your credibility as a professional serious about how they are perceived — and so you’ll care about helping brands with the same.
Domains and hosting could be purchased from two separate companies. For beginners, the most affordable choice though is Bluehost. They let you start a website for as low as $2.95 per month. One custom domain of your choice comes as a free add-on in this plan. Their customer service is also responsive, so you’ll have someone to talk to when you get stuck.
Choose the basic plan where you’ll get promoted to set up your domain. Either move ahead with FirstNameLastName.com. Or get a creative appending variation of these words — writing, copy, content — to your first name.
The next page will tell you if your domain is available, or if search for related names. You’ll then need to fill in your account and payment information.
Start without any additional upgrades to the account plan.
Sidenote On Two Other Web Hosts: WP Engine And Siteground
If you plan to build traffic to your website, then WPEngine is a great choice as a web host. Their site security features, automatic backups, and premium Genesis Pro templates are nice addons. I host Elite Content Marketer on WP Engine.
I recommend them if they have the budget to splurge on a concierge hosting service. You’ll need to buy a domain from Google Domains or other registrars, though.
Similarly, Siteground is a great choice for you if you’re working on multiple online projects. Their GrowBig plan comes with 20GB storage, a free domain, and lets you host unlimited websites — with a limit of 25,000 visitors per month. My personal website and a bunch of other projects are hosted on this Siteground’s plan.
Step 2: Setup Your WordPress Site
Once you’ve bought a host, it’s time to install WordPress from the control panel of your website.
Choose A Theme
WordPress has a repository of free themes in its directory you can tailor for your freelance writing business. Begin your search and ensure you choose a mobile-friendly theme that has requisite functionalities for setting up a professional-looking website.
Previews of the themes are generally available.
If you’re willing to get a paid theme, then I recommend the Genesis framework which I personally use at Elite Content Marketer. In this scenario, it might be more affordable to get the WP Engine hosting which offers Genesis as a free add-on.
- W3 Total Cache: A slow loading website could turn off prospective clients and lead them to abandon your website. This performance plugin optimizes your website’s code and ensures fast speed.
- Yoast SEO: It provides a checklist to optimize all the pages on your website — including your blog posts — for relevant keywords. The requirements are referred to as on page SEO and are crucial to drive traffic from search engines.
- Elementor: For building elegant experiences on your website, this drag-and-drop page builder could be handy. I use its premium version to include interactive elements in my content such as table of contents and featured content box. But even the free version is cool.
- WP Forms: Handy for creating contact forms and newsletter subscription for your website.
Step 3: Set Up Important Pages
Here are the set of pages with content you need on your website as soon as it’s up. I’ll share examples of every page through which you can model your content in a Google Document.
This is the default page that most of your prospective clients will land, so ensure it introduces your freelance writing business compellingly. It won’t be a bad idea to hook people with your personal brand statement here which shares how you’re unique.
But even sharing your writing specialty works well just like Samar Owais does below. Also, use a clear Call To Action (CTA) for driving visitors interested in your services to contact you. Owais uses “Let’s Talk!” as hers:
If you’ve worked with or appeared on reputable websites in your industry, then put their logos at the top. It will build instant credibility:
Next, use the homepage to give some additional information about how you can help the businesses browsing your site:
And a blurb of your services with a CTA on each one to get them to the next step of working with you:
Remember that nothing will impress prospects more than some good old talking by your past clients. The bigger the influencer writing a testimonial for you, the better.
This page should include details about your writing speciality, results from past clients, and links to your writing samples. If you like, then also share your rates.
Here’s an example “hire me” page by Elna Cain. She shares her specialty in writing SEO content:
And shares few high-profile websites where she’s been published:
For a visitor who feels convinced about her fit for their business requirements, she ends with an inviting CTA: “Let’s Talk >”
This is a dedicated page where you can share links to your currently published work. Here’s an example from Colin Newcomer where he has broken down his samples by industries he’s written for:
I recommend sharing links to your articles on your “services” page itself as it makes for a better user experience.
When done well, your about page gives your business website a human touch. It could also establish your credibility as a writer and share deeper motivations — or your story — of how your writing journey began.
I like Mariana Kay’s about page because it starts with discussing business.
Then shares such little things about her:
Finally it ends with her core values:
Packs a punch for me!
Writing a couple of posts — which could also go in your writing portfolio — on your blog helps a prospective client get a feel of your writing. The subjects you pick should ideally be related to the industries you write in and should be high-quality, making a strong case to hire you.
Lianna specializes in humor copywriting and uses her blog well to further her brand. Two posts written by her are on the subject of writing funny and warmer copy.
This could contain a simple contact form where prospects could send inquiries about your services. Up to you to include your email and contact number. Here’s the contact form used by Lauren on her freelance writing website:
You can include a subscription form to your email newsletter here if you plan to start one for engaging with your prospects regularly.
Once you’ve drafted these pages in Google Documents and polished them, you can upload them to your CMS: WordPress. If you want to save yourself some time, then use Wordable. It automatically drafts content from Google documents to a WordPress site, and the first three exports are free!
Step 4: Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
Once you’ve finalized your personal brand statement and set up your website, it’s time to optimize your site for search engines. The goal here is that your prospective clients find your website when they go to Google for hiring help.
SEO involves a lot of intricacies, but I just want to share two actionable ideas for building momentum in search:
1. Create And Optimize Web Pages Around Your Writing Expertise
I know it might be too soon to expect you’ve chosen a niche you specialize in. But if you’re already getting freelance writing clients from a specific industry requesting specific kinds of services, you can create a dedicated page for it.
For instance, when I search for “B2B content writers”, the B2B content writing portfolio page by Elise Dopson comes among the top spots. Businesses that are looking for such content writers are probable to perform such a search — so this portfolio page is getting valuable eyeballs.
If you want to set up such a page, then perform a Google search of this phrase template “[your writing specility+ [your niche].” And explore freelance writer’s pages in your niche. A few example phrases are: finance copywriter, SaaS long-form content creator, Ecommerce writer, and the like.
You may find freelancers using their homepage title tag to optimize for such service keywords — as Lizzie Davey does in the example below.
But you can create a dedicated page targeting the keyword including details below. It includes screenshots from the Ecommerce writer page of Ayelet Weisz to demonstrate what I’m talking about:
- Relevant writing samples proving your niche expertise,
- Topics and content types you can handle for your clients.
- Testimonials from industry clients to establish your credibility,
You can create one page each targeting keywords for all writing services you offer. Look how my mentor Len Smith neatly organized his services by types of copywriting services and the markets he served. Many of them used to rank for relevant keywords and used to drive him valuable leads:
2. Write Blog Posts Addressing Pain Points Of Your Prospects
Besides searching for freelance help directly, your prospects might also Google their problems. Consider this as an opportunity to empathize with them and add value through your writing.
If you can write blog posts providing answers to the questions around your area of expertise, it could be a great way to introduce yourself to them.
For example, many businesses might have been researching how to communicate with customers during the pandemic. Suppose you specialize in freelance writing for SaaS businesses, you could write an article *specifically* on communication for such businesses with relevant examples.
If you look at the search result for the query “pandemic communication for SaaS businesses”, you’ll find just one relevant blog post. It means only few publishers have targeted this subject and it’s probably ripe with opportunity.
You can extend this idea to create a library of content addressing as many possible objections and business problems your prospects might face. That will convert your blog to a lead magnet for your freelance business.
Step 5: Promote Your Site And Start Generating Leads
Don’t just build your website and hope people will find it. You need to put yourself in front of prospective clients, so I’ve included promoting it as the final step of setting up your website.
If you had been using a writing portfolio platform such as Contently to share links to your clips, then there might be an option to change your website URL there. Here’s mine with a link to my site:
Also share your website in your social media profiles. Twitter has a separate for sharing your URL and you can consider announcing your freelance writing business to your LinkedIn network as well. Many writers also create Facebook pages and LinkedIn pages sharing they are open for business, so you can consider the same.
The most important promotional method that can even deliver leads through your website though is guest posting in niche publications.
Target Such websites could have a readership of your future clients, so writing a helpful post for them generates awareness for your freelance brand. Most websites allow putting links to your website in the author bio section, so some readers of your articles could end up visiting your writer’s website.
Deep links from such guest posts to blog posts on your website also help your SEO. So ensure you’ve posted on your own site before engaging in the guest blogging. You can strategically choose related subjects to exist articles on your site to create genuine opportunities for linking.
Many writers build their complete freelance business on top of guest posting, but it can take up to six months for leads generated from such writing to start showing in your inbox.
A freelance writer’s website is the beginning of the end of taking your writing casually. You’re signaling brands you’re serious about your services by packaging them in a professional-looking design.
Once you put in the legwork to build a site, you might change your career trajectory and start attracting high-quality writing gigs. So buy a web hosting and domain for your freelance business — and get to work.
Don’t forget to promote your website in your network in the beginning, then keep ongoing marketing efforts through guest posting (or another strategy of your choice). That’s how your website will start to rank for valuable keywords and generate leads for you for years to come.
Hope the freelance writer’s website tips and website examples in this article helped in giving direction to your website building efforts.
Do you’ve any other ideas for creating a writer’s website? Let me know in the comments below.