If you are deciding to start a blog, one of the first decisions you need…
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Are you a freelancer who works online? If you answered yes to this question, then you should have a freelance blog.
Freelance blogging will give you visibility and opportunities like nothing else can. When you’re a freelancer who has a freelance blog, you will be a step ahead of freelancers who don’t.
If you’re interested in blogging, keep reading. I’m going to tell you how to create a freelance blog from scratch on WordPress.
How to Start Freelance Blogging on WordPress
Getting a freelance blog up and running and filled with content can be quite a bit of work, I’ll be honest with you. However, it will get your name out there, show what you have to offer, and help people take you seriously as a freelancer. So the work will be worth it. You can read about my experiences with my own WordPress blog right here.
Don’t be intimidated! You don’t need coding or programming skills at all to start freelance blogging. One reason so many freelancers are doing this nowadays is because it is so do-able. And if you do need someone to help you, there are plenty of places you can ask for help.
Blog vs. Website
First, it’s important to note that if you don’t have time to maintain a freelance blog, you can always start a freelance website instead.
A blog and a website are different, yet very similar, to one another.
A freelance blog usually contains static, unchanging pages – such as a homepage, an about page and a contact page – along with a blog section filled with often-updated blog content.
A freelance website contains just those static, unchanging pages. It has no blog section.
Websites are easier to maintain than blogs because once you create them, you’re finished.
Blogs require more work because they consist of frequent fresh content. This fresh content, however, is worth the work. It can help potential clients feel more connected to you, plus help your site rank higher in search engine results.
Now, here’s what you need to do to get your freelance blog – or your freelance website – started.
Choose a domain name
First, you need to choose your website name. This is called a domain name.
There are so many .com sites nowadays, it will probably be difficult to get your first domain name choice with a .com suffix. You’ll probably have to try several different names until you find one that hasn’t been taken.
This can be difficult, so you might become tempted to choose a different suffix such as .net. The .com suffix is still by far the most common, though, and the easiest to remember. So try to come up with a .com domain name that hasn’t been taken already.
There are lots of places you can buy a domain name. I’ve bought them directly from my hosting company SiteGround and also from NameCheap.
Choose your hosting service
You can choose to have free hosting for your freelance blog, but this comes with significant limitations. You won’t own the domain name, you won’t have many customization options, and you won’t be able to monetize your site. Self-hosting is truly the way to go.
My website World of Freelancers is hosted with SiteGround Web Hosting. Out of the three hosting companies I’ve used over the years, SiteGround is by far the best.
There are dozens of hosting companies out there. They all have their own different processes for starting a site with them. Here I’ll quickly tell you how to set up your freelance site on SiteGround.
For the long version, with more explanation, you can read 4 easy steps to start a blog on SiteGround here.
Step 1. Get started
Go to SiteGround.com. Here you’ll see four website hosting options. Choose the Managed WordPress Hosting option.
Step 2. Choose your hosting package.
Choose between their three hosting packages: StartUp, GrowBig or GoGeek.
Step 3. Choose your domain name options
Type in the domain name you already own or the domain name you want to purchase from SiteGround.
If you already bought a domain name elsewhere and you want to register it with SiteGround, choose to register it. Afterwards, you’ll be taken to the signup page. If you are buying a domain name from SiteGround, you’ll also be taken to the signup page now.
Step 4. Sign up
Fill out your info, and choose in which of their six server locations you want your site to be hosted. (You can learn more about the SiteGround server options in what I wrote about how to sign up with SiteGround.)
You’ll also get to choose which hosting plan you want. You’ll see that they all have a special price. If you want to pay the special price, you’ll need to sign up for their 12-month plan and pay in advance. This special price is only good for the first year. After that you’ll pay the regular price.
Finish filling out this page. Now you are signed up with SiteGround!
Choose a freelance blogging platform
There are several different platforms you can use to build your blog on SiteGround. WordPress.org is by far the most popular, and it’s used by most bloggers.
WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com, which is not really for professionals. Whenever you see WordPress in this article from here on, I’m talking about WordPress.org.
WordPress sites are very customizable. You can make them really appealing for any type of audience. Google and other search engines love WordPress sites. That means that because your site is a WordPress site, search engines likely will rank it higher in search results than other types of sites.
Now I’ll show you how to install WordPress on your new SiteGround account. This is quite easy.
How to Install WordPress on SiteGround
After you create your SiteGround account, you’ll immediately be able to set up WordPress. Log in, and you’ll see this blue banner. Click Set up site.
On the next page, click Start new website. Then click WordPress.
Now create your website email address and password.
You’ll be asked if you want to optionally add SG Site Scanner. You can skip adding that for now, or you can add it if you wish.
Click Finish. Now you’ll wait a minute or so while your site is being created.
If you bought your domain name elsewhere, at some point you’ll have to point that domain name to SiteGround. You can do that now, or you can go ahead and start working on your site.
Let’s go ahead and start working on your site. Click Site Tools.
Now in the left-hand column you’ll see your SiteGround dashboard. Click WordPress, then under that click Install and Manage. Then over in the middle of the page select the WordPress box.
Fill out your user name, email address and password. At the bottom, click Install.
Now you have a WordPress blog on SiteGround!
Choose and Install a Theme
All blogs have a theme. A theme is the sort of foundation that helps you design the appearance of your blog.
When you’re going to start freelance blogging, you may or may not want to spend money on a theme. A pro theme will help you make your blog look nicer, plus you can get support for it if you ever need it. A free theme is perfectly fine, though.
There are thousands of free themes and thousands of pro themes. So much choice can be completely overwhelming, I know. I chose my pro theme from ThemeForest. Focusing on finding a theme on ThemeForest helped me narrow my choices to a more manageable number.
Currently, ThemeForest has 50,606 themes available, though, so there’s still a lot more narrowing down to do. You’ll find that many of the themes are actually very similar, which doesn’t make your choice any easier. Fortunately, ThemeForest has lots of filters to help you. You can filter for price, ratings, etc. This will really help you narrow your choices down to a totally manageable number.
Choosing the right theme is important, but it’s really not the most important decision in the world. Don’t stress out over it. If you choose a free theme and end up not liking it, you can choose another one later. If you choose a pro theme, you can customize it to look pretty much any way you want. So just choose a theme.
Create and publish your content
Now you’re ready to create and publish your content!
You’ll create your freelance blogging content using either WordPress’s Pages or Posts. These two types of content are not the same.
Your static content – for example, your testimonials page, your about page and your contact page – you will create in the Pages section of your WordPress dashboard. You’ll create your blog posts in the Posts section of your dashboard.
You should create at least a few pages to let people know a little about you, what services you offer and how to contact you. If you’ve decided you want a website, those pages are all you need. If you’ve decided you want a blog, then in addition to these pages you will need some blog content.
Pages to include on your freelance blog
Your freelance blog can include any pages you wish. A lot of freelance blogs have at least two of the following pages.
Homepage – Your homepage is one of the most important parts of your site.
A home page should give people very quick insight into exactly what your freelancing services can do to help them. A home page should also be appealing visually. There is a ton of competition on the internet, so try to get your home page to grab people’s attention immediately.
About page – Your about page is not about your freelance blog. It is about you.
Let people know a little inside info about you on your about page. What is your life and work history (in a nutshell)? How did you get started freelancing? Why did you choose the freelance niche or niches you chose?
Importantly, let the person reading your about page know how you can benefit them. Include a photo of yourself too, if you feel comfortable with that. Your about page is your opportunity to let clients know the real person behind your freelance services.
Testimonials page – If you’ve got any client testimonials already, publish them here. Even if you’ve only got one client testimonial so far, that is perfectly fine. Publish it here and you’ll get more testimonials soon.
Don’t be shy about asking satisfied clients for testimonials! Ask them to spend just a few minutes letting people know about their positive experience with you. Most of your clients will probably be happy to do this.
Services page – Let potential clients know exactly what you can do for them. Outline all of the services you offer. If you’re open to performing additional tasks, state that on this page too. If you want to make your rates public, you can include them along with your services here or you can create a separate page for them.
Contact page – This page is probably the quickest page to create. You’ll create your contact page with a plugin such as Contact Form by WP Forms. Adjust the settings so it will look the way you want, activate it, then copy and paste the shortcode to your contact page.
Posts to include on your freelance blog
You’ll create your freelance blog posts using the Posts section of the WordPress dashboard. Blog posts are often also called articles.
What topics should you write about when you’re freelance blogging? That totally depends on you and your freelance niche.
You can choose to write posts about news or trends in your freelance niche. You can write about your own experiences with freelancing. You can write posts that will help people learn more about your niche. There are so many topics you can write about. You’ll find more ideas for what you can blog about here.
Now you know how to start freelance blogging with WordPress. Be sure to sign up for your SiteGround hosting account here so you can get started today!