Once upon a time, I was a brand new freelance writer. With years of ghostwriting under my belt, energized by a great freelance writing course, I was ready to put my writing out in the world under my own name. Time to launch a blog.
With a little help, it isn’t difficult for a new entrepreneur to set up a website and a blog. I will tell you how I did it!.
Pick Your New Freelance Writer Name
Let me tell you the first mistake I made when it came to launching a blog. I went out and found the least expensive place to register a name without realizing the relationship between your web host and your domain name.
Take it from me – while you’re busy dreaming up the perfect name for your website, don’t actually go to register it until you’ve settled on a web host. It took hours on the phone over two days to get my domain released from the cheap site when I picked a web host.
Branding Your Writing Business
Give some serious thought to the name you will choose for your business. Select a web site name that will represent you as a new freelance writer that will be easy for people to find, and tell folks something about your business. Your website domain name should be descriptive, distinct, and intuitive for someone looking for your writing skills.
Your website domain name should be descriptive, distinct, and intuitive for someone looking for your writing skills.
Do you normally remember the exact URL for any given site? I sure don’t.
Someday, everyone will know your name, just like hanging out at Cheers. In the meantime, your website domain name should not have a complicated spelling but it should not be too common, either.
You want folks to be able to remember your site name well enough to find you, even if they don’t remember the exact URL.
For my business, I went with Artfully Chosen Words because it is descriptive and easy to remember. My first name is too common (Debbie Does Writing? Uh, NO!!) But, my last name is a little too complicated for folks to find unless they are already familiar with it.
Choosing Domain Designations
Once you’ve selected your domain name, you still have to decide on your domain designations. The most recognizable are .com and .net, but there are lots to choose from.
I strongly recommend that you purchase more than one domain extension for your domain name, assuming it is still available. Fees for domain names run about $10-$12 a year.
My biggest concern with my domain name was someone hijacking my domain name with a different extension and diverting customers that were looking for me. Those customers could be hijacked for products and services, or exposed to content that I would find morally or ethically contrary to my business practices. In other words, I don’t want someone searching for my domain name to end up on a porn site!
To protect the exclusivity and integrity of my brand, I invested the funds to purchase my domain name with both.com and .org extensions.
With the same concerns in mind, I did go ahead and purchase domains using my first and last name. I am protecting my name for personal and business reasons. When I am the next Nora Roberts, everyone will know my name!
If someone uses your business or personal name and registers it as their domain, you are out of luck unless you want to spend big bucks to purchase it from them!
The Bottom Line – Your Freelance Business Budget
When I decided to pursue a freelance writing career, I made the choice to go at it full steam ahead. My philosophy was Go Big or Go Home. So, I was prepared to make a financial investment to set my new freelance writer website up as efficiently and professionally as possible.
I am blessed with a supportive husband and the financial resources to invest in my business up front. If you are not in a situation where you can afford to fund your business up front, that’s okay. There are plenty of successful online business successes, like freelance biz guru Gina Horkey, who started off with a teeny-tiny budget and built a thriving business.
Web Hosting – Are You Being Served?
There are many web hosting platforms available, and all the big ones have mixed reviews, some more predominantly negative than others.
I was determined my website would be a professional looking showcase for my blog, in order to highlight my writing skills. I added cool pages for readers and clients to contact me.
Careful research indicated that the best platform for a blog is WordPress. I chose the premium version of WordPress and the WordPress recommended web host, Bluhost.
Building Your Freelance Website on a Budget
Don’t Worry if you’re strapped for cash when you start out! Just make careful choices with the end in mind of upgrading and enhancing your business tools and platform as your success grows.
Do your homework, and select platforms and applications that will be easier to upgrade, rather than requiring a complete migration of information to a newer, better platform later on when you have a lot more content and client information to deal with.
In other words, keep your eye on the prize! Look into the future and see what your totally successful freelance writing business will look like, and work back from there.
If you have a smaller budget, check out free version of WordPress. The free version has limitations, but it will be easier to upgrade. Check out the link here for a comparison of the different WordPress options.
The Theme Is The Thing
WordPress sites need a theme. You c an choose from plenty of free and attractive WordPress themes suitable for sale sites and blogs. I tried that route!
I needed to be able to customize the theme to incorporate elements integral to my personal business brand. Colors, fonts, and layouts can make or break the presentation of your business.
I admit to spending too many frustrating hours trying to customize free word press themes with no satisfactory end in sight. Why was I wasting my valuable time going crazy when there was another option?
I finally bit the bullet, and invested the $79 to purchase a Bluchic WordPress theme. What a difference! Within an hour or two, I had a totally customized, beautiful and responsive website!
Widgets and Plug-ins, Oh My!
The premium version of WordPress has loads of widgets and plug-ins that even a newbie to website design can use!
There are widgets for creating contact forms, calendars, author information and all kinds of other little goodies that are easy to drag and drop into your WordPress theme.
I started with a handy plug-in called Under Construction. As the name implies, this plug-in tells visitors to your site that something good is coming soon. It allows you to work on your website design without anyone else able to see until you’re ready to unveil your fabulous new site!
Are you an new freelance writer? Are you in the process of setting up a website or blog? Do you have recommendations? Please leave your questions and comments below!