How To Create A Freelance Website (With No IT Experience)
Do you want to know how to create a freelance website?
Here is an in depth guide on WHY I decided to set one up and HOW I created one WITHOUT any coding experience, in 8 simple steps.
But first, WHY should you create a freelance website?
In 2017, I left my banking job. I wanted to work remotely and earn my living from any location in the world.
I also wanted to travel but I didn’t want to be bankrupt. Livin’ La Vida broka’ for the rest of my life just didn’t appeal to me.
So I started trying to search for freelance clients, but when I found some, there was one issue.
They didn’t pay very well.
After a lot of tears and frustration, I decided to take a look at other well-paid and in-demand freelancers. And I noticed something they had, which I didn’t.
A professional website.
And then it clicked. I wasn’t marketing myself properly. I wasn’t being offered or paid good rates because potential clients weren’t convinced I was worth their money.
When you buy any product, you will pay more for a product from a store with a professional shop that has good customer reviews, compared to a product at any old market with no warranty.
You pay more because you are guaranteed quality. And how do you know you are guaranteed quality? Because they tell and show you.
So, I needed to make it my business to TELL and SHOW potential customers that they would be getting quality services when they worked with me.
And I would do that by showing them a professional website with my work samples and testimonials from happy clients.
When you work online, your website is your storefront. It’s how you are going to set yourself apart from any other low-paid freelancer.
But then I faced a second hurdle
I didn’t know how to create a freelance website and I didn’t have thousands to pay for a website designer.
Also, I am hopeless at IT and coding makes me want to cry ugly, snotty tears.
So you know what I did?
I paid for some training and spent hours learning how to set one up myself with ZERO coding. And then I produced this! :
The good news is, instead of you having to pay for training like I did, I am creating this free guide for you to save you all the hassle and tears I faced when I was trying to learn how to create a freelance website.
It isn’t too difficult and if you follow my guide below, you can learn how to create a freelance website too!
How To Create A Freelance Website- 8 Steps
- Set up hosting with Bluehost
- Pick a domain name
- Install website builder WordPress
- Set up basic elements of a writers website
- Design logo
- Add a portfolio
- Install essential plugins
- Start promoting!
Hosting : $3.95p/m (for 36 months)
Domain name: FREE with Bluehost
WordPress and theme: FREE
Total cost: $3.95 per month
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Bluehost, and will receive a commission if you sign up through my referral link.This is at no additional cost to you, and you will get great pricing and a free domain name through my link. I recommend them because I use them myself and they have offered me fantastic support and assistance on my freelance journey.
STEP 1 :Set up hosting with Bluehost
Hosting is a place for your website to hang out. Imagine your website is a house, it needs land to be built on, right?
Hosting is that plot of land for your website. You own it and no one can kick you off, as you paid for it.
Free vs paid hosting
Now you may hear about people who say: ‘oh I have free hosting. But you should not have free hosting for a few reasons :
It will make your website look unprofessional
So instead of aishapreece.com, it will look like ‘aishapreece.wix.com’ or aishapreece.wordpress.com.
Clients aren’t going to view you as a credible professional freelancer if you can’t even be bothered to have your own professional website.
In the online world, your website is your shop front, so make it look professional.
It will be difficult to monetize your website with adverts if you don’t have paid hosting, as you don’t own it.
Later on, you may start getting more visitors and traffic to your website.
You can earn a passive income by placing adverts on your site so you earn every time someone visits.
In the long run, having paid hosting will earn you more money.
When I started my freelance writing business, I wanted a reliable, responsible and cheap hosting provider so I went with Bluehost. I still use them now!
If you want to know how to create a freelance website, Bluehost are your best option for a hosting provider because :
- Competitive pricing
Bluehost has affordable plans and when you use my special link you can get started for as low as $3.95/mo).
- You get a FREE domain
With Bluehost, you receive a free domain when you sign up using my special link. Straight away you are saving $15.
Not all web hosting providers offer free domains for their customers, so this is something you should take advantage of.
- They have 24/7 support
When you are just starting out with a website, everything is daunting and the smallest technical problem can throw you off.
This is why I was so relieved when I found out Bluehost offer 24/7 live support.
I use it ALL the time.
Bluehost also has
- a toll-free phone
- a Bluehost knowledge base – which lists common issues you might face
- Automatic WordPress installation
WordPress is a website builder.
It’s one of the most popular and best websites builders on the market, and it’s free.
Now, when you are starting out and learning how to create a freelance website, you need to minimize the stress and confusion with IT-related matters.
When you choose Bluehost, WordPress is automatically installed when you sign up and you don’t have to do a thing!
For me, this was extremely important as I didn’t want to figure out another additional IT step on how to link my host with my website builder.
Bluehost links your WordPress for you.
Ok so head over to Bluehost’s home page and you will see this :
Hit that green button that says “get started” and you’ll be redirected to a page outlining their different hosting plans:
Since you are just starting out, I recommend the cheapest plan, for $3.95 per month.
It is still early stages and you don’t know what is going to happen to your website in the future so you can always upgrade later on when you start getting more clients and freelance work.
Press select on the basic plan and you’ll be sent to the following page:
Next, we’ll set up your domain
Step 2: Pick a domain name
Here is where you input your website name. Keep it simple and professional.
I just put my name : aishapreece
You may also want to put something related to your freelance work i.e. innovative-editing, writing-wizard, sassy social media… you get the gist.
Note- Sometimes the name has been taken (boooo!), so the domain name won’t be available.
Don’t worry, pick a variation of your original domain name.
For example, if aishapreece wasn’t available I would maybe choose :
Essentially, your domain name needs to represent what you do as a freelancer. You can use your personal name as a domain too.
The next step is to fill in your account information
Now it’s time to pick your package. Here’s what I always choose when I’m starting a new site:
You save the most money when you choose the 36-month plan and you don’t have to worry about paying for hosting for the next three years.
I recommend starting out with the 36-month plan. The reason for this is, it works out to be $3.95 per month instead of $5.95 a month for the 12-month plan. This saves you money over those three years.
Also, when you are building a business, you need to be committed and aim to succeed from the beginning. Mindset is everything.
So, if you know your site will still be running in 3 years, you’re giving yourself a realistic time frame to succeed. (Although you can get a new client within one month, more on that later. )
NOTE- Untick everything else except Domain privacy as that protects spammers from getting your contact information. I think it is worth the money.
Finally, fill in your payment information and you are ready to move on to the next stage.
Voila! You’ve now set up your hosting and domain name — simple, right?
Step 3: Install website builder WordPress
Now that you’ve signed up for hosting, it’s time to install WordPress. After completing your Bluehost purchase, you’ll be asked to choose your password for WordPress.
Bluehost will then ask you to pick a theme
When you are learning how to create a freelance website, keep it simple and pick a free theme. My current theme for my freelance writing website is ‘ Lifestyle’.
You can change your theme later on down the road but for now, we need something simple and free.
From here, Bluehost directs you to the backend of your WordPress website!
How to log into your WordPress site
It’s super-simple. Head to http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and you’ll see this screen:
STEP 4: Set up basic elements of a writers website
A huge part of learning how to create a freelance website is having some basic elements.
Your freelance website should have :
- A logo
- Clear font
- A professional picture*
- 4 Basic pages
*My picture is of me on top of a mountain, but it’s still professional, as its part of my brand as I write about travel. Just take a nice headshot with your phone.
Here are the basic pages you need on your website:
- About page
- Hire Me page
- Contact page
This is all you need to start off. Once you have completed a few projects, you may choose to add a Testimonials page if you wish.
NOTE : If you are unsure on what to write in your pages, just copy mine.
STEP 5: Design your logo
Now, when I began as a freelancer, hearing the word ‘design’ makes me feel very panicky.
I am not very creative and anything to do with Photoshop made me want to throw something at someone, hard.
Coding and then design was my biggest barrier when it came to learning how to create a freelance website
If you are the same, I have a solution for you :
Canva: Canva is completely free to use. They have FREE pre-made logos that you can download and use.
Or, you can play around with certain fonts and colors and customize your website name.
I promise you, Canva is easy to use, because I use it and I’m a noob at technology
Fiverr. Fiverr has saved me a lot of tears and sleepless nights.
You can find someone to design your logo on there for $5 to $10. I use it all the time when something doesn’t work on my website and I have paid no more than $10 to fix any IT issue.
If you want to know how to install your logo on your WordPress site, watch this video by WordPress.
Remember there are tons of free videos on YouTube too.
STEP 5: Add your portfolio samples
A portfolio is a sample of any work you have done.
It’s ok if you haven’t done any, just create some free ones.
So, if you want to get into freelance writing or editing, write or edit some documents for free.
If you want to become a graphic designer or freelance photographer, create some designs and take some pictures.
If you want to become a virtual assistant or social media manager, get some examples of where you have successfully increased social media engagement (could be your own).
Once you have some samples, watch this video on how to upload your samples to create a portfolio page on your freelance website.
Watching free videos on YouTube will be the best thing you can do when you are learning how to create a freelance website.
STEP 8: Install 5 Essential Plugins
A big part of how to create a freelance website is learning to use tools that help your website but make your life easier.
If you want to improve the functionality of your site and have access to some cool FREE features which will protect your site and make it look better, you should install some WordPress plugins.
Think about them like little health supplements for your website to make it feel and look better.
Go to Plugins > Add New and search for these names:
Akismet: This is a spam protection plugin. It protects you from spam comments by catching them and deleting them automatically.
Author Bio: This allows you to include a quick author intro on each page. If you take a look at my freelance website, you can see that my author’s bio is on each page.
I don’t know how to code it but I do know how to install a plugin. 🙂
So voila, beautiful author bio installed to remind your potential clients who you are, so they don’t forget you.
Contact Form 7: Make it super-duper easy for a prospective client to contact you once they visit your freelance website.
Include down your email address, social media profiles, and Skype ID.
Having a contact form on your site will increase the likelihood that a potential client will contact you, to hire you.
Ultimate Social Media Icon: Allows you to connect all your social media profiles to build your credibility and connect you with prospective clients.
Use this plugin to promote your social media profiles
Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO is a must-have plugin for your website. It helps to improve your rankings on Google (SEO). Just install it, it’s important.
STEP 8: Start promoting!
All right CONGRATULATIONS!
You have learned how to create a freelance website and you now have your freelance website set up.
You are one step ahead of thousands of other freelancers as you have a professional website to back you up.
Now you just need to start promoting it.
I recommend you include your new website link on :
- In your email signatures
- Anywhere else you can think of.
Whenever you pitch to a prospective new client, you can say :
‘My professional website is xxxxx you can see a portfolio of all my work and testimonials from happy clients.’
How good does that sound eh?
If you are looking for some articles on how to get started with various types of freelance jobs, once you have set your freelance website up, read these.
When you set up your freelance website, let me know in the comments. I would LOVE to see it!