So, you’re a freelance writer – whether you’re advanced in your career or just starting out (or anywhere in between).
And, you need work.
You need clients.
You need to make money writing!
(or, you just want exposure for being the literary genius that you are!)
Well then, it sounds like you may not know how to create a freelance writing portfolio website. One which will serve to show off your talent and skills, your poetic charm, masterful prose, or your convincing copy.
You need an online writing 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 professional writing portfolio to show off your writing samples to clients on Upwork.com or other writing job boards.
Freelance writers with a great-looking online writing portfolio don’t have to hope and dream about attaining success getting writing gigs – they simply forward their freelance writer portfolio to whoever needs to see it and then get back to work creating beautiful and impactful writing. They let their online portfolio work for them so they can focus more on their art and their craft.
Whatever your reason for needing a great online writing portfolio, and needing it now, without spending a fortune – you’re in the right place!
Here is my step-by-step guide on how to create a stellar freelance writing portfolio website without taking forever or spending a fortune in the process.
Table of Contents
- 1. Understand how to create a freelance writing portfolio website with the future in mind
- 2. Choose your writing portfolio website builder or hosting provider
- 3. Sign up and get started building your writing portfolio website!
- 4. Choose a domain name for your writing portfolio website
- 5. Get your freelance writer WordPress website set up
- 6. Or, get your Wix freelance writing portfolio website set up
- 7. Become a master of WordPress
- 8. Install your theme
- 9. Learn how to customize your theme!
- 10. Create a writing portfolio page on your website to display writing samples
Why is this #1? Because this will be an investment in yourself and your future. Consider these points:
-Do you want to start your own 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 your own awesome products and courses.
-Or, do you want to launch a legit freelance writing business in the near future? This is an awesome opportunity to make great money by avoiding the job boards. Create your own content writing business website and cold email real live 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 domain (JaneDoeWriter.com) is a million times better than a free hosting solution (JaneDoeWriter.FreeCrappyWebsite.com for example) for the sheer professionalism aspect. But also for the fact that you can sign up for one hosting account with a company like DreamHost (the web host I use) and host an unlimited number of separate websites.
For instance, you can have your writing portfolio (JaneDoeWriter.com) and then create your blog (JaneTeachesHobbyX.com) and then even create an agency or freelance writing business 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 other business ideas, hobbies, 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.
Now, for those of you who don’t want to learn WordPress and would rather use the easiest website builder, I would recommend something like Wix. Wix is a website builder with a ton of templates as well as a drag-and-drop editor that is super simple to use. I’ve built a few websites using Wix and actually had a lot of fun letting my imagination take over with the design.
Once you’ve looked down the road of possibilities and decided that “yeah, I’m ready to create a professional writer 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 quite a few very decent companies out there. For me, two of the very best, the crème de la crème of hosting companies, are DreamHost and Bluehost. Now, for this website I use DreamHost because after extensive research, I found that they are one of the fastest hosts providing great customer services at a great price and without any hidden surprises. Website loading speed is really important to me and I know Google punishes websites that don’t load as quickly by sticking them further down on the search results page. So, I went with DreamHost 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, mixed with their affordability and reliability. I have absolutely no qualms about recommending Bluehost as an excellent host as well because I’ve used them for clients’ websites before and had a great experience.
I recommend getting started with DreamHost if you want hosting that’s simple, affordable, fast as heck, and with great support.
Signing up and installing WordPress with DreamHost is very easy. If for some reason you get confused about something along the way, there are helpful articles and videos online for any issue that you may encounter. Just enter DreamHost WordPress into Google or YouTube.
One great thing about DreamHost is they offer a free domain when you sign up for a website hosting package. As long as you choose a 1-year or 3-year plan, you get a .com domain free for the first year.
So, do you have a genius domain name thought of for your freelance writing portfolio yet? If genius hasn’t struck you yet today, you can do what I do… When I have a good general idea for a website, I buy a placeholder domain just to get going. I know that I may change it later, and that’s totally okay to do. I really think it’s better to strike while the coals are hot as they say. Get started while the inspiration is fresh. Otherwise, you may get distracted, and push your freelance writing portfolio website to the back burner…
Let me tell you, it’s always better to get the ball rolling now, today, and figure out all the little details along the way! Momentum is huge when it comes to projects like this. Get the momentum started now and it will be that much easier to keep going.
Once you’ve signed up for hosting and have chosen your domain, you can begin working with WordPress.
If you choose DreamHost, it’s very easy to get WordPress installed on your hosting plan. Just follow the step-by-step instructions within DreamHost.
Once WordPress is installed, you can start building your website by clicking on “Manage WordPress.” Alternatively, you can navigate to “yourdomain.com/wp-admin.php” and enter your login information.
If you opt for a fast and easy Wix website, getting started will be even easier (although I still recommend WordPress for anyone wanting to start a blog).
Just follow their simple step-by-step instructions and choose a pre-built template or start designing from scratch. You can skip the next couple of sections until we talk about creating your writing portfolio page.
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 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 headaches 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!)
There are a ton of great themes out there. ThemeForest is one of the most popular online stores where you can buy professional themes. Just go there and navigate to WordPress themes and sort by popularity or rating to see what other people are loving. Or, save some money and download a free theme to get started with. There are some very nice free themes that can get you far without spending another dime. A simple Google search will help you there.
When getting a theme, make sure that it’s a popular one and that there are current users. This way you can be pretty sure that you’ll be able to find helpful tutorials on how to customize the theme. Spend another hour or two learning how to customize your theme and you’ll be on your way to success in a short matter of 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).
Create a new page and populate it with blog posts comprised of the writing material that you’d like to show off to the world.
To do this, create a new blog post (or multiple) 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.
Next, 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 freelance writing portfolio page, you’re good to go. Just spend some time formatting and working on the look of your website and each page. 11. The portfolio website buildout
Build out your freelance writer website and create pages and content, links, social media, etc. Create your contact page and link it to your email, whatever email you are sure you will not miss anything with. Include a part on your home page for a few stellar reviews your clients or customers have already given you (if you don’t have any yet, maybe you can get some quickly by doing some free or discounted writing for friends or associates). Oh, and be sure to add a professional picture somewhere on your writer website.
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 (if desired) set up. This is where you can definitely take some time, perhaps a day or two, to really make your freelance writer website look professional and functioning properly.
Welp… that’s it for the most part! If you’ve followed the steps and done some of your own research along the way, you will now have a beautiful freelance writing portfolio website. Of course, you can use these steps to create an awesome content writing business website or any other website for that matter.
If you haven’t done so already, sign up for DreamHost and get a special discount for being one of our readers.
If you’re still on the fence about becoming a freelance writer or focusing on writing as a career opportunity, check out my other article here:
That’s it for this guide on how to create a writing portfolio website. 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!