You get it. You get that having a writer website is important to get more gigs. The problem is you don’t know how to do it, or where to start.
Well, that’s what I’m here for. When I built this site, I had no outside help and I had to figure out everything on my own. I’ve gone the hard, technical route — which was not fun — and eventually, I stumbled onto an easier, idiot-proof way to build a website from scratch.
Today, I’m going to show you how you can build your writer website without being a computer whiz.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Pick a name for your website
Before we go into the step-by-step guide on building a website, you need to have a website name (or domain name) already in mind.
Most freelance writers use their first and last name like Amandagreen.com, while others use a keyword to specify their niche or location like TheResumeWriter.com or HonoluluScribe.com. There are also some writers that make a brand out of their freelance writing business, so it can be RockstarContent.com or TheWittyPen.com. By the way, I totally made these websites up, I don’t know if they actually exist.
Whatever you decide to name your site, remember that it will be permanent once you register, so pick a name that you are sure you want to use for the rest of your writing career. It is possible to change it later on, but it will require more money and lots of technical modifications that you don’t want to figure out on your own.
If you’re ready with your website name, then it’s time to register it to a web host.
Step 2: Register your domain and get web hosting
Registering a domain or website and getting a web host are actually the first two steps to build your site. However, with Hostgator, you can do both these steps in just one go. Here’s how:
- Go to Hostgator* and click the Get Started Now! button.
- Choose a hosting plan. The most affordable one is the Hatchling Plan, which lets you register one website. Click Sign up now! on the plan of your choice.
- On the next page, type the name of your website under the Register a New Domain tab. If your website address should be brilliantwriter.com, just type brilliantwriter in the domain field and choose the domain suffix on the drop-down box. A domain suffix can be .com, .net or .org.
- When you scroll down to the bottom of the domain list, you’ll see something called Domain Privacy Protection. You can opt out of this option, but if you want to keep your mailing address, phone number and email address private, I strongly suggest you include this in your hosting plan.
- The next area is Choose a Hosting Plan. The first field (Package type) will already be set to the package you chose on the previous page, so you don’t need to change this. The next field (Billing Cycle) is something that’s going to be shown to you for the first time in this process.You can choose from a billing cycle as short as a month or as long as three years.The shorter the billing cycle, the higher the hosting fee. You can always come back and change your billing cycle after signing up.Finally, the last two fields are for your username and security PIN. Types these in and write down the information somewhere (or save it in a note-taking app like Evernote*).
- The next area is where you put in your billing information. You can choose to pay with a credit card or by PayPal.
- The next are optional add-ons for more features. If you don’t know what these are for, then just uncheck them and proceed with the next step. Note that these add-ons are billed annually, so even if they cost under two dollars a month, the amount will be multiplied to twelve (for 12 months in a year).Just like your hosting plan, you can choose to buy these add-ons at a later time after signing up.
- Finally, review the total amount due. Check the box to agree to the Terms of Service and click on Checkout Now!
Step 3: Installing WordPress
Once you’ve signed up for hosting, you’ll get an email with link and login details to your Hostgator account. Click on the link (this should lead you to portal.hostgator.com) and enter your username and password.
Inside the Customer Portal, find and click on the Hosting tab.
Under Most Popular Links, click on Launch QuickInstall.
This will open a new tab and will lead you to your cPanel page. Find the WordPress logo under Site Builders & CMS and click on it.
Select your domain from the drop-down list (you should only have one domain at this point) and leave the second field after / blank. Click Next.
On the next page, fill in the fields for Blog Title, Admin User, Fist and Last Name, and Admin Email. Check the box next to Terms of Service Agreement and click Install.
Hostgator will take a few seconds to generate your website’s login page. Once done, you should see a page like this:
Before clicking on Login, save or write down your Username and Password. These are what you’re going to use when logging in to your WordPress site. When you have the login information saved, click Login.
A new tab will open to your new WordPress site. Enter the Username and Password that was just provided on the previous screen.
Note: The link to your WordPress admin site and the login details will be sent to your email in case you need it again.
So there you go! You just installed WordPress to your website. Feels great, right?
When you first log in to your WordPress admin area, the FIRST thing you need to do is change your password.
Go to Users>Your Profile from the left panel.
On the next section, scroll down and click Generate password.
Type in your password. It’s recommended to create a Strong password.
Click Update Profile to confirm your password change.
There you have it. You now have a brand new WordPress website that you can design, customize and use to promote your freelance writing business.
Not sure what to do next? Get free (and premium) WordPress tutorials at WP101* to learn the basics and get your site up and running at your own pace.
Another thing you can do next is finding the right WordPress theme. There are tons of free themes you can get straight from the WordPress admin area.
However, if you want a quality, premium theme, check out Genesis by StudioPress*. If you want a theme that’s easy to customize without having to deal with technical stuff like HTML or CSS, then try Divi from Elegantthemes*.