12 min read

How to set up a professional freelance copywriting website (for cheap)

A step-by-step guide to setting up a high value freelance copywriting website without breaking the bank
How to set up a professional freelance copywriting website (for cheap)

If you want to sell a service online, you first need a service that people will pay for. The only other thing you need is the ability to get that service in front of the right people.

Now, you can do this through all sorts of manual promotion actions or even paid ads.

However, the best option for any business is to produce high-quality content that attracts potential clients to your site passively.

Or in short - you gotta be findable on Google because...

  • 81% of people search Google before making a purchase
  • 57% of marketers say that content on their site attracts more leads than any other form of marketing

You’ve gotta have a professional copywriting website.

A professional copywriter's website will:

  • Get you to rank in Google and reach new people passively.
  • Show off your portfolio (the right way).
  • Establish you as an authority and create leads/clients.

Here’s what you need to do to create a website like that of your own.

Choosing a domain name and hosting for your freelancer website

The easiest way to get your website up and running is to use WordPress as your content management system (CMS).

Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and the others like them are a little easier to set up, however, they fall far short in terms of customisation and their ability to rank well in Google.

And if you want results (which I know you do because good digital copywriters focus on results), it’s about setting things up now that are gonna continue to provide for you for years to come.

I’ll get onto installing WordPress soon. First, we need to choose a domain name (what people type into their internet address bar) and get it hosted (so it’s live on the web).

For this, I recommend using HostGator.

I recommend using it because…

  • It’s cheap (with the button below you can get set up foras little as $2.75 / month)
  • They have 99.9% uptime (which means sites they host never go down and are always available)
  • They have 24/7 live chat support service
  • High-end, fast servers (to help your site rank better)
  • Assistance with site migration
  • One-click WordPress install (this’ll be important later)
  • Easy access to C-Panel (for all your site’s back-end organisation)
  • Nearly unlimited hosting
  • And of course, you can get great discounts with the right promotion

Sign up for HostGator now for as little as $2.75 / month

Step 1 to getting your own freelance website – Choose your Hostgator Hosting plan

Head on over to the HostGator home page and you’ll see the below. Click on the big orange button to ‘get started now’.

After clicking you’ll be taken to a page that looks like the below.

If you’re only registering one website then the hatchling plan should be perfectly adequate.

You’ll now be faced with a long page that requires you to fill in some information.

You’ll need to first focus on picking your domain name.

Step 2 to creating a freelancer website – Choose your domain name

This is going to be the name of your website. What all of your clients see when you hand them your business card or when searching for a writer on Google.

When you’re selecting this, you want to keep it simple and easy to verbalise.

A good option is to go for some variant of your name. Those domains have a good degree of flexibility to them and can be used to promote all kinds of websites.

If your name isn’t a viable option, then choose something that’s…

  • Easy to memorise
  • Can be quickly explained
  • Have simple (or simplified) spelling
  • Don’t use weird characters (like the hyphens in have-a-word.com…)

I always like to think of it in terms of “how easy would this be to explain on a podcast and actually get people to type it into their browser”.

If it’s too hard to understand in a 5 second explanation, you need to simplify it.

Also, I’d recommend staying away from a name that’s tied directly to the industry you want to work in.

Reason being you’re probably going to change niches as time goes by. And you want to be able to continue using the same domain name over time.

If you get a site like “AutoCopywriter.com”, but later transition out of the auto industry into health and wellness, you’re out of luck and will have to do this whole thing again.

So, in short, keep it short, to the point, simple, and focused on you and/or your service - not the niche.

In addition, you’re going to need to pick a domain extension. That’s the .com or whatever after the name.

Nowadays, it can be difficult to get the .com extension. However, there are other options. Here’s a rundown of how different extensions are perceived by readers.

When you’ve got something you think could work, check within the HostGator signup page to see if it’s free.

You’ll see an area at the top where you can type in the name and choose between the .com suffixes to find one that works. Next to them will be the price of registering that domain (usually ~$10).

Create your freelance copywriter website

Once you’ve settled on something you’re happy with, move on and fill out the rest of the information on the page.

Pause when you get to the optional extras.

Step 3 of setting up your freelancer website – Choose your optional extras

As you fill out your information you’ll see a section that looks like the below.

Set up a professional freelance writer website

You’ll note 2 of them are pre-selected.

Here’s how I believe they break down.  The short version is, you don’t need any of them.

  • SSL – This is useful.  It’s the difference between being able to accept payments and not online. However, you get a free SSL certificate with the hosting plan. I’m not sure why you’d need to upgrade.
  • Sitelock – I’ve not heard great things about this. I’ve also heard it’s primarily aimed at eCommerce stores.
  • Professional email – You get a free email address included anyway. Not sure why they’re trying to charge for this.
  • Site backup – There are other, cheaper and free tools that do a better job of this.
  • Hostgator SEO tools – It’s not worth it. You are going to be the SEO person for your site, I have no idea what this would do to benefit you.

Uncheck all of these options, fill in your details and complete the registration.

Congratulations. you’re now the proud owner of your own professional freelance copywriter website.

Installing WordPress on your new freelance website

Now we have the domain name sorted, you’re gonna need to install WordPress so you can actually publish content.

WordPress is your CMS – content management system. Without it, there’s no way for you to record and display your content.

Head to (and bookmark) your c-panel screen by typing www.[yourdomain].com/cpanel into your browser.

C-panel is basically the back end organisation of your website.

You’ll be asked to log in with the details you used when registering before being directed to a screen full of options.

You can ignore most of these options. All you need to do is scroll down the ‘Popular Links’ section to click on the ‘WordPress install’ button.


That will bring up the below page. Wait until it loads and click on ‘Install Now’.

On the next page, you’ll have to choose which site you want to install WordPress on. Choose the site you just registered and make sure https:// is also selected. .

Check most of the options here, but don’t worry. It’s unlikely you’re going to have to change from the defaults.

The only thing you might want to change are the admin email address, username, and password.

Choose an email you use, and a username and password that make sense to you and that are secure (the default ones are awful).

Follow the instructions and you’ll have your own freelance copywriter WordPress website up and running in minutes.

Once that’s all done type the below into your URL bar and you’ll be taken to the WordPress dashboard where you can get started writing, designing or whatever it is you want to do with your new site.

www.[yourdomain].com/wp-admin.

Sign up for HostGator now for as little as $2.75 / month

Selecting a professional-looking theme

After you’ve installed WordPress you will be able to get up and running immediately thanks to the free themes that come with every WordPress account.

However, we’re not building a business for it to look like everyone else's, right?

You need something that stands out and bolsters your individuality as a professional.

First impressions count for a lot. And you want to make the best professional impression possible.

In an ideal world, we’d all have a personally coded website built specifically for us. But who has the time to find a great web designer, and the money to hire them?

If you don’t, fear not. There’s a very easy way you can get a professional-looking website for a little bit more money.

I personally use the Genesis Framework and their pre-designed themes for my websites.

I use them because they’re very well coded (meaning they load fast), give me the flexibility I need, are mobile optimised (which is a HUGE deal), and I get a discount as a long-time returning customer.

You can pick up the Genesis Framework and a theme for around the $50 - $70 mark as a one time payment. I’d highly recommend them as they’re not only great, but single payments are always a good thing over subscription offers.

However, I know a lot of people like using Elementor to design their sites. It’s a slightly different approach to doing things though.

Elementor works on a freemium model. You get a limited set of features on the free plan. If you want to upgrade to get all the features, it’s a minimum of ~$50 per year.

It does have slightly more functionality in that you can create multiple pages from scratch, but then there’s the added hassle of actually building things from scratch and making sure all of your colour schemes, design choices etc are consistent across the site.

What you go with is up to you. These are, however, the only 2 I’d recommend from my personal use.

I’ll offer a quick breakdown on each and who I think they’re best for below. Then, click on the button for the one you’d prefer to jump to the guide for it.

Elementor vs StudioPress Genesis Themes for freelance copywriter websites

Below is a breakdown of the key areas of each service.

I’ve highlighted the entry that is, in my opinion, the better choice for each issue green.

Consideration

StuioPress’s Genesis Themes

Elementor

Pricing

A one off fee and then the theme is yours forever. 

Around $50. 

Freemium with yearly subscription.  

Around $50 per year minimum.

Ease of setup

Manual download and install. 

Not hard if you follow the steps.

Extremely easy to follow prompts.  

Ease of management

Everything is already professional coded and designed.  

You simply make small amendments to make it fit your brand. 

Great for people looking for something that works out of the box. 

You can build whatever you want with Elementor.  

However, can become quite complex and difficult to manage if - like me - you’re not a designer.  

You could end up spending a lot of time tweaking simple design issues that don’t help you land clients.  

Load speeds (important for rankings in Google and user experience)

Generally quite fast as they’ve all been designed by professional developers and designers. 

Could be fast, could be slow.  

Really depends on your design choices and whether you add too much “bloat” to pages you design. 


What this really comes down to is what you want to spend your time on.

If you just want something that works and has minimal personalisation options allowing you to focus on the copywriting, go with Genesis themes.

If you want something that is fully customisable and the need for a good eye for design or the time spent perfecting that design doesn’t put you off, I’d recommend Elementor.

Both are viable and really good options.

But the choice is yours.

When you’ve made your decision, click on the links below to jump to the guide that walks you through how to set up your new theme.

How to set up a Genesis theme

How to set up an Elementor theme

If you want to run with Genesis, here’s what to do.

Using a StudioPress Genesis theme setup

Head to the Genesis theme page which you can find here.

Scroll through the themes and check them out. You’re looking for one that you think you would like to have as your site, and one that would fit well for a professional freelance copywriter business.

The cool thing about StudioPress themes is you can get a detailed demo of what they look like when they’re installed.

On the pricing page you’ve just got to hit the “Live Demo” option.

When you’ve found the theme you like, follow the steps to purchase it.

When purchased, you’ll be able to log into your StudioPress dashboard.

On the main dashboard, you’ll see a page like the below listing your purchases.

Click the little blue download square to download a .Zip file of the theme and the Genesis framework.

You need both for this to work!

Then head back to your WordPress dashboard and log in.

When you’re there, click on themes in the left hand nav bar under “appearance”.

Then, at the top, click “Add New”.

Then simply upload the two .Zip files you downloaded.

Once you’ve uploaded them both, you should be able to set the theme you choose as your active theme.

Once you’ve set them live, you can click on Themes > Customise to bring up the live page and make edits in real time.  Which makes things a lot easier.

That’s how to set up the Genesis themes from StudioPress.

Check out StudioPress Genesis themes here


However, if you don’t want to use them, then I’d recommend Elementor.

Using an Elementor theme setup

First up, you’ve got to head to the Elementor site which you can do by clicking here.

On that page, you’ll see a “Get Started” button.

Click it to… well, get started.

On the next page you’re asked if you have a wordpress site, which you do. So click the right option.

You’ll then be asked to add in your website. Use the URL you recently purchased from HostGator.

Click the check for WordPress button when that's done and you should see a page like this.

That will load Elementor’s plugin on the site you entered. On that page, simply look for the “Install Now” button in the bottom right.

Then click “Activate Plugin”.

You’re then given a quick welcome video and a big ol’ button asking if you want to create your first page.

If you click the create your first page option, you’ll be taken to a page where you’re able to drag and drop various elements directly onto the page to create something that best represents your brand.

I’ve used Elementor on client sites in the past and I’ve partnered with various people who use them for their sites.

Elementor works on a Freemium model. Meaning you can get access and limited use for free. But if you want the full customisation available, it’ll run you $49 per year.

With that $49, you'll be able to…

  • Use their drag and drop builder to build the website to your specifications and desires
  • Get access to tonnes of templates to get a real professional looking site up and running in no time
  • Customise and improve your site over time as your business grows
  • Add simple popups to your design and content for better lead gen

And a tonne of other cool little additions.

While I think you’ll eventually need individual tools that specialise in each and every one of these different tasks, as a newbie who’s just starting out, Elementor is a great catch all solution for you.

If you want to give it a try, you can sign up for a free account below.

Try Elementor for free now