As a freelancer, it’s always a good idea to have your own website. Sure, LinkedIn is great for networking and showing contacts a brief resume, but a website is so much more. A website lets you really showcase your work and skills: it can feature your portfolio, a detailed list of your services, client testimonials, a blog, and more. It also adds a degree of professionalism that clients appreciate and facilitates referrals.
All that to say, creating your own website is absolutely worth it. But for those of us who don’t specialize in web design, how does one go about creating a professional homepage that represents your unique skills and personality? Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as tough as it sounds, thanks to website templates and intuitive web development apps. Here’s what you need to know about building your own website.
Pick your website builder
You can build your own website from scratch or hire a web designer to do it for you, but that takes time and money. We recommend going with a website builder. Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy give you the tools you need to create a website without any web development skills. The platforms are largely intuitive, and they have a selection of customizable templates that you can choose from. Website builders such as these do charge to host websites, but it’s a modest fee (as little as $7/month on some platforms).
Buy your domain
Once you’ve decided where you will host your own website, the next step is to choose and buy your domain. This will be your website’s URL. Don’t think too hard about what your URL should be. If your freelance business name or your own name are available, go with that. If not, a variation on your name (like www.last name.first name.com) might be available. Ultimately, a good domain is easy to spell and will be easily searchable. You can find domain availability through online platforms like Google Domains, GoDaddy, and Namecheap. There is a cost to locking down a URL, but it’s fairly inexpensive and can be written off come tax time.
Choose a design
Next comes the fun part: designing your own website. When you’re using a website builder, you can choose from different templates and themes. These will determine your website’s layout, fonts, color scheme, and more. In most cases, you can make adjustments to templates—for instance, you can customize the color palette—but they provide a good place to start, showing you where to upload images, where to type your bio, etc. There are also more advanced website design options, like animations, hover effects, scrolling effects, and more.
The next step in building your own website is to fill it with content. Think about what pages you want to include on your website to showcase your capabilities. Standard pages include a home page, about page, portfolio, services page, and contact form. You can also choose to add more to your website, such as a blog or pricing guide. The goal of the homepage is to draw people in and tell them quickly and clearly what you do. This can be as simple as having your name and freelance profession stated (i.e., Name, Freelance Editor, and Writer). On your “about” page, give more information about yourself and your professional journey. In your “portfolio,” show work that shows off your skills, and on your “services” page, explain what professional freelance services you offer. Finally, provide a clear path for clients to reach out to you, whether it’s an email address or an embedded contact form.
Share it wide
When your website is ready, don’t just let it sit idly; promote it across your networks. Make sure you update any existing profiles you have, such as on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, to include your new website link. It is also a good idea to share your website with current or previous clients, so that if they ever need to refer your services, they can easily share a link. In addition to promoting your website, we also recommend keeping your web pages up-to-date. If your bio states that you’ve been working in a specific field for X years, make sure to keep that number updated. If you have new projects that showcase new or refined skills, add them to your portfolio. You get the gist.
Showcase your skills
Ultimately, having a website as a freelancer will help establish your brand and set you apart from the competition. For more tips on how to strengthen your freelancing career, check out our blog, where we’ve covered how to make a good portfolio, how to connect with a freelance community, and much more.