This is Day 28 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where youâ€™ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll see some options for creating a website for your freelance business.
Time To Get With The 21st Century
If out of the hundreds of millions of websites out there you don’t lay claim to one of them, then its about time to get out of the dark ages. This is especially true for the freelancer.
Having a website for your business is essential if you want to get your name out there and show off what you do. If a potential client visits your website, he can base his hiring decision right then and there.
But not having a website makes you an anonymous freelancer. Besides, we really have to get with the times, don’t we?
If you already have you own website for your freelance business, read on anyway. I’m going to include some useful resources for creating the best website to show yourself off as a freelancer and you may pick up a tip or two.
For the rest of you, we’ll get started. There are two ways you can go about creating a website.
If you have absolutely no experience in web design, have no interest in it or just don’t have the time to dabble in it (or all three) then you may have to bite the bullet and hire someone to create your website.
There are thousands of designers out there and even dozens that I know personally. I have to do the shameless promo, however, for my colleagues at Desert Elements Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico if you would like a quote (and good service!).
One big downside to hiring a designer is, of course, price. This could run hundreds of dollars to even thousands on up. If this breaks your budget, there is always the old-school method of bartering services.
If you happen to know web designers, casually mention that you’d be willing to trade services to have a web page built. If one happens to take you up on the deal, though, remember that you may not get all the bells and whistles with the web page and it may take some extra time to get built since little or no cash is exchanged.
The Do-It-YourselfÂ Method
For those freelancers who want to get their hands dirty and save a little dough in the process, making your own website is not an impossible task. In fact, there are many resources out there to make this as easy as possible which I’ll go over.
One important thing to consider is that a website should look professional no matter if a professional or someone who just learned HTML created it. So don’t get the idea that anything thrown together on a web page will do.
So, without further ado, we have resources to help you get started.
You will need a web server to host your website and there are a million out there to choose from. From my years of experience as a web developer, the following are my highest recommended hosting providers due to quality of service support and pricing.
- Lunarpages: Hosting plans from around 36 USD/year on up and is the best value out there. Recommended: The “Personal Website” plan at about 60 USD/year which includes domain name registration and phone support.
- Fatcow: Hosting plans from 66 USD/year which includes registering your domain name.
- Media Temple: Their Grid-Service plan at 240 USD/year is more than you’ll need for a personal website, but is a great option if you plan to host multiple websites which is included in the price.
- DON’T USE: GoDaddy. While they are very well-known and a low cost solution, setting up your server can be best described as a complete bureaucracy. That said, don’t go anywhere near them (I finally feel better getting out a public diss on them).
If you are not already familiar with Front Page or Dreamweaver then using web page software can be a daunting task. If this is the case, then CoffeeCup software is recommended to create your web pages.
CoffeeCup was designed to be easy-to-use and has extensive support and tutorials to make web page creation a breeze. Actually it was made for the “design challenged” (i.e. your parents) so if they can use it, you will with ease.
It will set you back 49 USD for the software but is well worth it if the thought of using Front Page or Dreamweaver gives you nightmares.
For the path of least resistance, there are website templates already made that only require a change of logo and text and, presto, you have a website.
There are many many websites which offer free templates and its recommended that you skip these over and pay a small fee for one. Free templates look cheap and you do not want your business to look cheap as a result. Here are a few places you can look for your own template:
- Themeforest: They have nearly a thousand web templates starting from 3 USD on up each.
- Dream Template: Also offers a wide selection and unlimited template downloads for 60 USD/year.
- Template Monster: Has the widest selection of business templates averaging around 60 USD and up each.
Awesome Resources For Freelancers Building Their Own Website
- Freelance Advisor – How to build a credible website
You don’t want to put up any old website with your portfolio and contact info. Make it sell yourself by building your credibility.
- Smashing Magazine â€“ Creating A Successful Online Profile
Goes over some common pitfalls of portfolio design and then follows up with principles of effective portfolio design.
- Smashing Magazine – 10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website
Then on top of those, adds steps to taking your portfolio website up a notch.
- Freelance Switch â€“ Build A Killer Online Portfolio In 9 Easy Steps
Some additional (and essential) tips in creating an effective portfolio website.
- Psdtuts+ â€“ 14 Quick And Slick Portfolio Templates
Scroll down to “HTML Portfolio Templates” for some slick, professional web templates.
- Bkmacdaddy – Creating Your Logo On The Cheap
In case you haven’t gotten around to your logo, Brian offers a helpful article on doing this on your own… and at low cost!
Your Homework For Today
Time to get started building your website for your freelance business. Even if you have already one, look through the resources above and see if there is a tip or two than can improve your website.
If making your own website is not an option then consider having one made for you. This means you may have to dip into the savings a little but consider it an investment. Promoting yourself now early in your career can pay off with more exposure later on.
This obviously isn’t a one-day task, but don’t put this off either. It’s one step in the 21st century after all.