No matter what way you want to earn money online you will eventually come to the point where you need to build a website. In many ways, your website is an extension of you. It needs to reflect your personality, skills and attributes, and display to the world. Everybody who considers the internet their place of work needs to build a website before long.
This is particularly the case should you choose to go into freelancing. You need somewhere where you can display examples of your work to show to your potential clients.
Alright, I write this without my own portfolio being online at the moment. I used to have my own freelance website – Andrew Loader Writer, but I foolishly let it lapse when I had too many writing contracts.
But then I always have had a backup where I have displayed some of my writing – here, The Reinvention Men. Over the next few weeks, you will notice a change to this site as I merge in some of the content that I used to present at Andrew Loader Writer, and alter the copy here to better reflect our current plans. Larry, of course, has both his famous Healthy Lifestyles Living site, as well as his self-titled Larry Lewis site where he promotes his life coaching services.
Why Should a Freelancer Build a Website?
There are several reasons why I every freelancer should plan to build a website:
- So that potential clients can potentially find you
- To make it easier for potential clients to see if you are the right fit for then
- As another way for potential clients to contact you
When I first set up Andrew Loader Writer I was surprised to hear from a client within a few hours of the site going live. This was particularly surprising as I got most of my work through Upwork, and I hadn’t done any form of promotion for the site yet. To make things odder, the first client who contacted me via my website was from Christchurch, New Zealand (my hometown). I still work with Martin, my website’s first client, today.
How did Martin find his way to an unpromoted, new website? Well, I did actually refer to it in one place online from the moment I created it. I added it to my UpWork (freelance writer’s market) profile. Martin saw it there and wanted to learn more about me than he could find from simply looking at UpWork. He came to my site and then approached me based on what he saw.
Even if you are the new kid on the block, if you are a freelancer, you need your own website.
How Do You Build Your Website?
You have several options for building a website.
- You could find somebody, to design your website for you. Great if you can afford it. Not so great if you are a struggling freelancer looking to earn cash quickly. Although you could perhaps barter your skills with somebody who can design websites
- You could create a WordPress website yourself. Although this may sound difficult to somebody who is not into computers, it is not actually that difficult to do. I will write a series of future posts showing you how to do this.
Whichever method you choose to build a website, do remember that you will need to write excellent copy (words) for it. I recently described this in What is Online Copywriting?.
Why Opt for a WordPress Website?
WordPress websites are technically built on a content management system (CMS). What this means is that the content of your site sits in a large database on a computer server held by whoever hosts your site. You don’t have to worry about coding at all. You simply download WordPress, select a theme, alter the theme to meet your needs, and then upload the content. WordPress is clever enough to know to take your content from the database and place it into your customised design based on the theme you select.
You may not realise it, but a huge number of websites are built on WordPress. According to the Ultimate List of WordPress Statistics, around 15,886,000 websites on the entire web use WordPress. That’s about 28% of the entire internet.
There is one thing you should be aware of, though. There are two types of WordPress site:
- WordPress.com free sites
- WordPress.org sites
As lovely as the idea of the free internet may sound, I strongly suggest you avoid the WordPress.com free sites. You don’t own your own website. It could be taken down at any time. Also, you are limited in the URL (web address) you can use, and these sites rarely perform well in the search rankings.
What you want to do is to
- Buy your own URL from a specialist domain company – I use Namecheap, but you will find many other good sites by searching
- Sign up with a hosting company to hold your website – I must be honest here I am uncertain who hosts The Reinvention Men. Larry sorted that out. But I have previously used Go Daddy with great success
- Build your site. Depending on what your host offers, you may need to download a copy of WordPress from WordPress.org to do this.
- Upload your site to your hosting They will provide you with instructions on how to do this
What Is The Minimum You Need on Your Website?
If you are setting up a simple freelancer website you need to begin with the following pages:
- The Homepage (obviously) – this is the front page of the site, that people go to if they simply type in your website URL
- An About page – anybody coming to your site will want to know a bit about you
- A Services page – what do you offer potential customers? What types of work are you happy to take on?
- A Portfolio page – this is where you demonstrate your abilities. For instance, if you are a writer this is where you show some of your “clips” – sample items of work for potential clients to consider
I will discuss more on setting up your own website in future posts. In the meantime, if you are looking to reinvent yourself, and you want to work from home on the internet, you really need to begin to build yourself a website.