How to Create a Freelancer Business Website Using WordPress & Elementor
Publishing your own website is a major step towards turning freelance activity into a profitable, self-sustaining business.
Having your own website enables you to start marketing your skills more effectively. It lets you spend less time looking for new gigs and negotiating with potential clients. With more time on your hands, you can earn more income, work more efficiently, and manage your business better.
At a bare minimum, your website should include everything a potential client would want to know before hiring you. That includes a portfolio of your work alongside your specific terms and conditions.
However, if you’re serious about growing your business long-term, you’ll want to include marketing tools and features that make your service attractive to higher-paying clients.
The best way to do that is to use a highly versatile content management system like WordPress and equip it with an intuitive website builder plugin like Elementor.
Let’s start with those two tools and work through every step you need to take to publish a professional website for your freelance business.
Download WordPress and Elementor
The first thing you’ll have to do is download WordPress. The software itself is 100% free and completely open-source. There are hosting options that can give you a fully functional website with WordPress pre-installed as well – but more on that later.
Manually installing WordPress only takes five steps:
1. Download the WordPress package
Simply download the package onto your computer and unzip the file. This will give you a folder called wordpress.
2. Upload the WordPress folder to your hosting account
Use an FTP like Filezilla, WinSCP, or Cyberduck to upload your WordPress folder to your host. You will have to enter some additional information that your hosting provider makes available to you.
3. Create a MySQL database and user
Your WordPress site stores all of its information in a MySQL database. You’ll have to create this database before you can publish your website. Fortunately, your hosted WordPress cPanel page has a MySQL Database Wizard that simplifies the process. All you have to do is follow the instructions to create your database and its first user account.
4. Edit your WP-config.php file
You can find the wp-config.php file in the folder where you installed WordPress. You may need to enable Show Hidden Files to see it. Open the file in a text editor and look for the following lines:
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( ‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’ );
/** MySQL database username */
define( ‘DB_USER’, ‘username_here’ );
/** MySQL database password */
define( ‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password_here” );
/** MySQL hostname */
define( ‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’ );
Replace “‘database_name_here” with the name of the database you created in the previous step. Do the same for your username, password, and local host. Save your changes and close the window. Now your WordPress host knows how to connect to the database you created.
5. Run WordPress installation
Open a new browser window and enter your domain name. You will be redirected to the address where you installed WordPress. This will launch the installer, which will ask you for some simple information before beginning the process. Your site will be ready within five minutes!
Now that you have WordPress running, you’ll need a site builder that can help you quickly create a full website. If you’re not keen on writing your entire website’s code from scratch, the first tool you’ll need is a builder plugin like Elementor.
Get started by registering for a free Elementor account. Answer a few questions about your experience and background before choosing a subscription plan that works for you. Feel free to try out Elementor’s features with the free Basic Plan.
Once you choose your plan, Elementor will ask you to enter your WordPress website’s URL:
From here, simply follow the installation instructions and log in to your Elementor account. Now you’re ready to activate Elementor on your WordPress site and start designing your home page!
Decide on a hosting solution
Before you can install WordPress and run Elementor, you’ll need to sign up with a hosting service provider. There are many different hosts to choose from, with everything from bargain-priced services to premium solutions available on the market.
Your choice of hosting plan will directly impact your website’s speed and performance. This is incredibly important because your clients will judge your professionalism based on how fast and smooth your website’s user experience is.
Few things are more frustrating than a sluggish, non-responsive website. Your reputation rests partly on what kind of hosting solution you choose.
Most hosting providers offer shared and dedicated hosting plans. These two options are very different from one another:
- Shared hosting puts your website on a server that it shares with other customers’ websites. You have little control over how that server allocates resources to your website and no guarantees it will perform under high traffic conditions. If you share server space with less-than-scrupulous websites, some users may automatically block your IP address out of caution.
- Dedicated hosting gives you your very own server you can configure to run however you wish. This guarantees nobody else can impact the performance of your website or its reputation. This gives you complete control over how your website runs, but it requires you to do the work of configuring it yourself.
These two plans often vary widely in price. This presents a challenge for freelancers who have to guess how much they’re willing to pay – and how much traffic they’ll receive – before even starting to design their web pages.
The good news is there’s a third option.
Cloud-managed hosting gives you scalable access to server resources according to your website’s actual needs. That takes out the guesswork of configuring your own server so you can focus on creating and publishing web content.
Elementor’s cloud hosting solution takes things one step further. You can get WordPress and Elementor pre-installed from the very start. That means you don’t have to worry about downloading any packages or editing any configuration files. You can jump straight into the process of building your brand and making your freelance business website shine.
Decide on a cool domain
Once you sign up with a web hosting service, one of the first questions they’ll ask you is about your domain name. In fact, your domain name is the first thing almost anyone is going to know about your website.
For that reason alone, choosing a great domain name is an important marketing decision. A memorable, unique domain name will help your business thrive far more than a generic one.
Your domain name is a key part of your brand. It should immediately resonate with visitors and assure them they’ve come to the right place.
Many freelancers simply use their personal name as a domain. This is a great option to establish your business as a personal brand, but it may limit your growth choices down the line. Think about it – what if you end up hiring other people to do parts of your work for you?
The best domain names communicate value in a simple, easy-to-understand way. They’re short, catchy, and easy to pronounce. Don’t be afraid to make up a new word to describe your business – it worked for Google, Facebook, and dozens of others.
You should buy your preferred domain name from a reputable domain provider company like Godaddy or Namecheap. But if you already have a domain name to use for your website then you need to connect your domain name to your web hosting by changing the nameservers.
Create your most important pages first
You can start creating any website page you wish, but most people start with the basics. Your Home, About, and Contact pages are must-have, bare-minimum assets that you can’t live without. They’re also some of the most visited pages on any website, so it’s worth spending some time getting them just right.
Elementor gives you multiple ways to create new pages. Try starting from scratch by creating a blank page on your WordPress dashboard and clicking on Edit with Elementor. From here, you can change the page layout to Elementor Canvas, giving you a completely clean slate.
Alternatively, you can install the Hello Theme, which gives you everything you need to create your own website from scratch. It has minimal styling with no extra fluff, and it loads in less than one second.
Once you have your blank page open, simply add a section and choose the one-column layout. Configure the width, gap, and height according to your needs. You now have a blank block you can fill with anything you want. Want to make a big, impressive hero banner for your home page? Try this:
- Head to the Style tab to set a background image.
- Add a Heading widget and type in some inspirational text.
- Use the Style options to format your heading.
- Add an Image widget below the heading.
- Go to the Advanced tab and click on Motion Effects. Turn on Scrolling Effects to impress visitors as they scroll down the page.
- Edit your heading text by adding Mouse Effects in the Motion Effects menu. Turn on 3D Tilt so the heading shifts back and forth when visitors hover over it with their cursor.
But what if you don’t necessarily want to reinvent the wheel when making your website? Elementor has you covered. You can access thousands of free Elementor page and block templates with Envato Elements or the Katka Template Pack.
If you’re looking for premium web page templates specific to your niche, EasyThemePacks sells page templates designed for lawyers, travel agents, and more. EasyThemePacks gives you the rights to use the included images, so all you have to do is configure the page, change the text, and hit publish!
But there’s an even faster way to get your most important pages up. Elementor’s Full Site Kits go beyond templates, providing full back-end functionality in a single package. These are full websites that need no additional configuration – a true plug-and-play experience. With a Full Site Kit, you can have your website ready to launch in mere minutes.
Start your marketing engine with a high quality blog
Once you have your website’s main pages up, it’s time to consider starting a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to attract new leads to your website and begin the process of showing them how valuable your services are.
Your blog is a marketing tool that serves several purposes:
- It establishes your expertise and authority. Look at your home page and ask yourself why a customer should trust you. Unless you’re already a well-established expert in your field, you’re going to have to demonstrate your expertise before you make any sales. Writing for the web is a unique skill that you can learn by outlining your article with headlines and then fill in each section by expanding on your area of expertise.
- Your blog is the perfect place to showcase what makes your unique insight so valuable.
- It improves search engine optimization. There are people looking for the exact service you offer. Most of them probably use search engines to find freelancers like you. Blogging is key to making your website rank in those search engines, introducing a steady stream of customers to your brand on a constant basis.
- It encourages people to return to your website. The more often someone visits your website, the more likely they are to become your loyal customer. Without a blog, there’s no reason for someone to periodically check on your site or see what’s new. High-quality blog content will keep them coming back and bring them a little bit closer to your brand each time.
These benefits apply equally to written blog posts, podcasts, and vlogs. To truly maximize your marketing exposure, dedicate some time to each of these formats and develop a content strategy that unites them under a powerful brand.
Incorporate forms for lead capture and popups for special offers
With your blog posts and videos bringing new visitors to your website every day, it’s time to start qualifying leads. You can use forms to collect contact data from website visitors most likely to become customers.
WIth that contact data in hand, you can start an email newsletter that will keep your most enthusiastic users engaged with your brand on a regular basis. You’re already writing a blog, so you have regular pieces of new content to share with your community. As your email list grows, so will the profitability of your blogging efforts.
Use Elementor’s Form Builder to capture visitors’ contact information so you can fuel your marketing efforts. With this tool, you can easily create an unlimited number of forms, with customizable fields fit to meet your needs exactly.
When you’re ready to take your engagement and conversion rates to the next level, Elementor’s Popup Builder will take you there. Use this tool to create special offers that trigger only for users who interact with your site regularly. You can trigger popups when users read a fixed number of blog posts, or after they scroll down the screen a set amount. When done right, popups can help nudge leads into becoming lifelong customers, and significantly boost your revenues in the process.
Bonus – Create a WooCommerce store and monetize your skills directly
One of the best things about Elementor is its widespread compatibility with popular WordPress technologies. WooCommerce is a great example because it’s the most popular open-source e-commerce solution on WordPress. With Elementor, you can transform your website into a full-fledged online store by integrating WooCommerce.
As a freelancer, this opens up new opportunities to monetize your work and improve your relationships with clients. Consider some of the ways a WooCommerce integration could streamline your work and bring in new revenue streams:
- Merchandise. Do your clients often purchase products to go with your skill or service? Try selling those products on your own website, turning your brand into a one-stop-shop for solving your customers’ problems.
- Productized Services. Freelancers who work by the hour often have to painstakingly negotiate the terms of every new contract they take on. Consider offering your services as a time-packaged product that customers can buy instantly. Instead of selling your work by the hour, sell a fixed number of hours for a fixed price directly on your website.
- E-learning Courses. Online courses are an excellent way to create partnerships with potential competitors and establish authority in your field. You could teach up-and-coming freelancers how to do the work you do, or even sell courses directly to customers who want to do your work for themselves.
There’s never been a better time to build your own freelancer website
Freelancing is a viable and profitable occupation for millions of people, and it has surged in popularity over the past few years. As the market expands, individual freelancers can stay ahead by formalizing their work as entrepreneurs and leveraging apps to improve their productivity. Starting your own website is the first step towards turning your freelance work into a steady, profitable business with room to grow.