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So, you’re a writer – and whether you’re advanced in your career or just starting out (or anywhere in between)
– You need work
– You need clients
– You need money!
(or, you just want exposure for being the literary genius that you are!)
Well then, you may be here because you’re wondering how to create a freelance writing portfolio website. One which will serve to show off your talent and skills, your poetic charm, or masterful prose, or your convincing copy.
You need a portfolio to show to important eyeballs and make them drool with anticipation over working with you or showcasing your work.
If you’re a freelance writer like me, you need a writing portfolio to show off your work to clients on Upwork.com or other writing job boards.
My own writing portfolio has helped to change my life by allowing me to earn $1,500+ a month working online part-time while traveling much of the world.
Once you’re in possession of a great looking website, you can let your online portfolio work for you, allowing you to focus on what you do best (or, what you’re learning to do best!) – writing.
Whatever your reason is for wondering how to create a writing portfolio website, and needing to do so now, without spending a fortune – you’re in the right place!
Here is our step-by-step guide on how to create a stellar freelance writing portfolio website without taking forever or spending a fortune in the process.
1. Think about where you’re at and where you want to go.
Why is this #1? Because this will be an investment in yourself and your future, and you should consider something:
- Do you want to create a blog someday – this can be to fulfill a passion or to join the many thousands of others who earn serious money from blogging, recommending helpful products as an affiliate, or selling their own awesome products and courses.
- Or, do you want to launch a legit writing business in the near future? This is an awesome opportunity to make great money while avoiding the job boards. Create your own content or copywriting business website, then email real businesses with an irresistible proposal to write valuable, business-generating content to help boost their bottom line.
- Or,… Do you have any other foreseeable need to have your own website? (there are a million potential reasons to have a website these days!)
If you answered yes to any of these, then you should go the smart route and make the investment in setting up your own hosting and WordPress website.
Because signing up with a hosting company and having your own domain (ex. JaneDoeWriter.com) is a thousand times better than using a free hosting option (JaneDoeWriter.FreeCrappyWebsite.com for example).
This is for the sheer professionalism aspect, but also because you can sign up for one hosting account with a company like A2 Hosting and go on to host an unlimited number of separate websites. (We use A2 Hosting and love them!)
So, for instance:
- you can have your writing portfolio (JaneDoeWriter.com)
- then create your blog (JaneTeachesHobbyX.com)
- then create your content business writing website (CrushItContent.com – I just came up with that… kind of catchy though! 😉 ).
And, you will be able to create any other website down the road for future business ideas, hobbies, wedding announcements, family reunions, etc. You won’t have to pay for more hosting, just get a new domain for each website. Easy as pie.
Sign up for one affordable hosting account and create countless websites for profit or pleasure. *Just make sure you sign up for one of the plans that include unlimited hosted domains!
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Now, for those of you who have absolutely zero motivation to EVER create a blog, or online business, personal website, then, you technically can get away with a free (non-professional) portfolio blog by using a free account at some place like wordpress.com or weebly.com. However, it won’t come across as professional or serious to prospective clients. But, it’s still doable.
Note: *(A free blog from wordpress.com is very different from a professional, self-hosted WordPress website. For more info, Google “WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.” WordPress.com is a for-profit company that hosts free and paid websites. Their free websites can’t really be customized or used in a professional manner.)
The one cool thing about using a free WordPress.com account is that it could get you somewhat familiar with the general WordPress layout and concept. But, it would still be much better to just jump in and start using a self-hosted WordPress website like a pro!
2. Choose your hosting provider
Once you’ve looked down the road of possibilities and decided that you’re ready to create a professional website and potentially a blog or business website in the near future (or today!)
Then, it’s time to pick a great web hosting company and get started.
But, which company?
Honestly, there are a ton of very decent companies out there and a number of exceptional ones as well.
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Here at Mod Writing, we use A2 Hosting because after some very extensive research, we found that they are one of the fastest web hosts in the world that also provides services at a great price and without any hidden surprises.
Website loading speed is really important to us because Google punishes websites that don’t load as quickly. They do this by sticking them further down on the search results page.
So, we went with A2 Hosting and couldn’t be happier.
Bluehost – you may have seen these guys around as well.
In fact, they are very popular with bloggers because of how easy their setup process is, along with their affordability and reliability.
We have absolutely no qualms about recommending Bluehost as an excellent host as well because we’ve used them for clients’ websites before and had a great experience.
So, I would recommend choosing either A2 Hosting – if you want to crush it with speed and advanced features – or Bluehost if you want something extremely simple to use and popular but still awesome. They are both stellar web hosts.
3. Sign up and get started!
Signing up with either either hosting company is very easy and if for some reason you get confused about something along the way, there are a ton of helpful articles and videos online (Google and YouTube) for any issue that you may encounter. Both companies offer quick start guides on getting up and running quickly.
4. Choose your domain name
One great thing about Bluehost is that they offer a free domain for one year when you sign up for a website hosting package. But, registering a domain is pretty cheap, so you should just pick the web host with the hosting features you prefer.
So, do you have your fabulous domain name thought of yet?
Make sure you’ve spent a little bit of time on this step since you’ll be using that website name for the next year at least (but likely much longer).
5. Get your WordPress website set up
Once you’re all signed up for hosting and have chosen your domain, you can begin working with WordPress.
Each web host is a little different but they will both get you to a WordPress installation area unless you chose a plan that comes with WordPress pre-installed. Either way, follow their instructions on getting started with WordPress.
You will eventually gain access to your new WordPress website by going to “yourdomain.com/wp-admin” or something similar. (“wp-admin” stands for WordPress admin).
Your web host may have a plugin installed that changes your login address to something like “yourdomain.com/?mtix” or something. That is fine. It’s just a security thing to prevent bad players from trying to hack your account.
6. Become a Master of WordPress
Once you’ve managed to get into your new WordPress website by using the login credentials given to you or chosen during installation, you’re over the first hurdle and can get cookin’ with rocking WordPress like a pro 🙂
I really recommend watching some free YouTube tutorials on how to use WordPress. It is not overly difficult to use but by spending some time learning all the basic functions, you’ll definitely avoid some headache and frustration.
(The first time I used WordPress many years ago, I skipped this step and got so frustrated because of a few things I failed to learn… Don’t be that person!)
7. Install your theme
There are a ton of great themes out there. We use Themify Ultra for this website you’re on now. It works great and is user-friendly. The price is around $59 – which will get you a great looking theme that can be fully customized. It can also be used for any future websites down the road.
Another source for WordPress templates/themes is Theme Forest. They have a ton of themes available for purchase. You can filter themes by popularity, rating, price, etc.
As a side note, I’d strongly advise that you buy a theme that’s been highly recommended by others. There are so many themes out there from all sorts of companies, good and bad. So, you need to make sure that you’re getting one that’s been vetted by others and has a community of users who vouch for the product! We recommend Themify Ultra, but there are many others out there as well!
*(One of my first forays into WordPress involved building a website for a client’s car wash business. The theme I chose was from a developer I had no experience with or had ever heard of. Let’s just say that there were quite a few bumps along the road to getting that website looking decent enough to not be totally embarrassed!)
8. Learn how to customize your theme!
When getting a theme, make sure there are a number of specific tutorials on the internet for that theme. This will help you out a ton as you get familiar with it. Spend another hour or two learning how to customize your theme and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.
Ok. Now that you’ve got a killer self-hosted website up and running and looking amazing, work on the reason you created this website in the first place – your portfolio! (or blog, or business website).
9. Create a Portfolio Page on your website
Create a new Page and populate it with Posts comprised of the writing material that you’d like to show off to the world.
To do this:
- create new posts and copy/paste your pieces of writing into the content area. Then format them, make them look nice, perhaps add images if appropriate. Then, add a “portfolio” category to each post.
- Then, create your page and name it Portfolio. Use your theme editor to populate that page with blog posts with the category “portfolio”. (There are other ways to do this as well. Take a minute Googling to see other ways.)
- Then, create a homepage menu button for “Portfolio” by going to Appearance – Menus, then adding your Portfolio page to your home page menu (main navigation menu) and dragging it to the desired position in your menu.
Once you’ve got your menu linking to your portfolio page, you’re good to go. Just spend some time formatting and working on the look of your website and each page.
10. The website buildout
Build out your website and create any relevant pages and content, links, social media, etc.
Create your contact page and link it to an email address you check regularly.
Include a section on your home page for stellar reviews from any clients or customers. (If you don’t have any yet, perhaps try and get some quickly by doing free or discounted writing for friends or associates.)
Assuming you’ve watched some tutorial footage on how to work with your WordPress theme, you should be able to customize your theme, create pages, and ensure you have proper linking and social media set up (if desired). This is where you can definitely take some time, perhaps a day or two, to really make your website look professional and functioning properly.
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Welp… that’s pretty much it! If you’ve followed the steps and done some of your own learning along the way, you should be well on your way to creating a beautiful freelance writing portfolio website.
Of course, you can use these steps to create an awesome copywriting or content writing business website (or blog, or any number of other kinds of websites).
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If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and sign up for an unlimited domain hosting plan and get started!!
(these are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission when you sign up through them! You’ll get a great price on super fast and stable hosting and we’ll get a few bucks to buy more coffee and snacks! :))
If you’re still on the fence about becoming a freelance writer or focusing on writing as the great career opportunity that it is, check out my other article here:
That’s it for this article. Can I ask you to leave a comment and let me know where you’re at with your writing career? Are you a newbie like I was a couple of years ago, or a veteran who’s crushing it with writing!? Let me know below how writing is going for you!
Peace and best wishes!
Hey, thanks so much for reading this guide and hopefully it is helping you get started with your writing website! Please sign up for our newsletter here so that you’ll get updates when we create more valuable content involving freelance writing, becoming a better writer, working from home, making money online, traveling the world while writing, publishing your first book, etc.! Thanks!